Here are some excerpts from a Letter to Dads: Stop Letting Moms Win At Parenting posted today by Matthew Tobey, editor of the Comedy Central Insider blog.
I thought it was worth sharing…
Dear new dads,
The arrival of your baby is an exciting time, but there’s an elephant in the room we need to talk about: you. No, I don’t mean all that sympathy-weight you gained during the pregnancy. I’m talking about the fact that, as hard as it is to admit, you’re a little useless.
He goes on to explain:
Don’t get me wrong. You have lots of work to do: changing, feeding, clothing, rocking, not-sleeping, you still have to do all of that stuff. But have I mentioned that a mother’s body makes actual food? That’s pretty hard to compete with, so it’s easy to end up feeling kind of like a vice parent, which is like being vice president without the thrill of breaking ties in the Senate.
I’m not saying parenting is a competition. I’m saying parenting should be a competition. So, here’s my advice: pick some menial parenting job and be awesome at it.
He then picks two of the most menial jobs and explains how to become a master:
Take diapering, for example. Anyone can change a diaper, but you’re going to turn diapering into an art form. Stay up nights practicing your technique until you master a complete diaper-change using only one hand, then using only your feet, then using only your mind!
Or...You could get so good at burping that people come from all over the world to learn from you, the one they call The Burp-Whisperer.
Funny–but there is a serious side to what he is saying. Many new dads are made to feel superfluous with all of the tasks that are inherent in having a newborn and succomb to feeling like second class citizens who can never get it quite right. I’m sorry to say that a lot of the time, it happens because their wives treat them as if they are incompetent.
This not only applies to newborns–that’s just where it begins, and if you’re not careful, Dad can end up feeling that way for most of the child-rearing years.
Be careful, Moms, to treat your husbands as capable, allowing them to help with everything from diaper-changing to feeding to teaching your children how to pick themselves up and try again when they don’t get something right the first time. Make sure that you let them know how essential they are for bringing up balanced, happy children. If he doesn’t do everything exactly the way you do, it’s not the end of the world, he’s the Dad, not the Mom, and he should be as involved in parenting as you are.
As someone who grew up without a Dad, I know that one-sided parenting (even with the best single parent in the world) makes it hard to face life with a proper perspective. Children need the nurturing, encouraging and consistent parenting from both parents to have a well-rounded view of the world.
Parents should be affirming to each other, appreciating the unique perspective that each brings to the task of bringing up children who will grow up to be contributing, responsible adults.