LEAVE NO MAN BEHIND

LEAVE NO MAN BEHIND

Hello and welcome to a strange new world. You have traveled far through the desert, only to be met time and again by one empty oasis after another. You are lost and alone, wandering, wondering if someone, anyone, knows how you feel. And just when you think you can't go on, and no one could possibly understand your struggle, a hand reaches out to you, lifts you to your feet, and carries you to the promised land. He feeds you knowledge, shelters you from the self-righteous (and the ridiculous), and provides you with the tools you need to survive in this brave new world. You are a stranger in a strange land, but you are not alone. Let him be your guide. Follow closely as you travel together on this adventure of a lifetime. For now, you are a foreigner to "Fatherhood" but soon YOU will be the master of this realm.

"No Man is Expendable!"

This is Fodder 4 Fathers...

Settling in to Fatherhood The Only Way I Know How


Why is it whenever a baby comes out of one orifice a million people’s heads go in to another? Does no one get it by now- moms don’t have the market cornered on caring for newborns anymore, and it’s time the rest of society clued in to that fact. Dads are doing it for themselves, and the only thing holding us back isn’t ourselves, it’s the antiquated beliefs of those who would have you believe moms are the perfect parents that perpetuate a myth.  It’s time to get your heads out of the sand (or your asses) people. It’s a brand new world, and dads, contrary to what you think, aren’t here for your amusement. 


Take this gem forwarded to me from a fan. It’s from a handbook handed out to moms in a Texas hospital and it speaks volumes about the world some people are still living in. Sure, there are new dads out there that are about as useful as Bull in a China Shop, but I don’t speak for them. I speak for the millions of dads who when handed their child for the first time run with the ball (baby) with the best of us; the dads who don’t miss a beat when it comes to getting right in there to be the first to change a diaper, or feed a bottle, or get out a burp.  I speak for dads you couldn’t pay enough to stay out of a delivery room; dads who are in it to win it and want to be the best f-ing parent you’ve ever seen. 

Yes, history would tell you that moms are the more nurturing parent; the more adept at caring for a newborn baby. But history would also tell you that moms have no place in the military, the boardroom or the White House. We all know that’s bullshit, so why are we okay to say that dads need extra “handling” when it comes to caring for their own offspring. Have we not moved past this kind of old world thinking? How many little boys have to ask for an easy bake oven or a Barbie before you realize that men can be born to be nurturing too (even if we also like to blow up sh@#)? Hey, we stopped beating left-handedness out of kids years ago. Isn’t it time we stop beating IN gender stereotypes as well?

I’m a man. I like male things, but when it comes to raising my little girl, no one, and I mean no one does it better. I’m Florence Frickin’ Nightingale (or is it Henderson?). My wife isn’t some all-knowing, child-bearing god. She’s my equal partner in the most important job either one of us will ever have. And guess what… that’s the way it should be! Anything she can do I can do equally (except give birth or breastfeed a child) and we pride ourselves on that. She’s never had to leave me a long list of things to do with the baby when she left the house and I’ve never had to totally disregard it. It’s the way parenting was meant to be. 

But (and this is for all the moms out there who think the above excerpt from a handbook provided by a Texas hospital is funny) you keep allowing certain segments of society to belittle a dad’s role in parenting and we’ll see how far you get out of the hospital before you realize just how screwed you really are. You want to feel alone, really alone, then realize your attitude towards men/dads has just sentenced you to a lifetime of caring for your children with little to no help from the one other person who could in fact make your life sooooo much easier. 

Ladies, wouldn’t it be nice to have your husband take over all child care duties at a moment’s notice… without you having to ask? Wouldn’t it be nice to just leave your house without having to worry that you’ve had to leave your child in the hands of someone who has no clue what they’re doing (because you’ve never given him the chance to prove himself)?  Wouldn’t it be nice to know that the person you deemed worthy to marry and impregnate you is also worthy of caring for your offspring? I’m sure it would be, and the only thing stopping this from being your reality is YOU (well 90 % of the time; we still accept that about 10 percent of dads are dolts- it’s a fact). 

So let’s get off the high horse shall we. Just because dad didn’t sit on the nest for 9 months and push out an egg the size of a party Sandwich from Subway doesn’t mean he can’t nurture it once it’s been de-goo-ified (my word) by a nurse, or a midwife, or a cab driver.  We’re not running from our responsibilities. If anything, this kind of old world thinking is pushing us away, but we’re trying our best to ignore it, and you, so we can do what we were meant to do- be great dads to our kids, whether you f-ing like it or not. 

How’s that for settling in to my responsibilities as a f-ing father!?

End rant.

4 comments:

  1. F4F - I could not agree with you more!!! so may I ask you for some advice - we have a 14week old, my 4th preg/child - my partners 2nd (though his ex left when the baby was 6mth and he has only been able to see the child 3 times within the last 7 yrs)
    I know how my partner hurts for missing out on all the time with his other son so i am completely open to him doing as much as possible with our son - I went to have a mummy manicure when bub was 6 weeks - leaving him in dads capable hands for 3 hrs - when i get home, dad has become so frustrated he has been yelling at the baby (neighbors told me) then he even smashed the baby's bottle on the floor because bub was crying. I asked him if he was ok and I would take bub so he could have a break - I have tried to talk to him about this incident and he becomes defensive and dismissive. I am uneasy leaving bub for any period of time with him now. How do I approach a frustrated Dad without offending/belittling him?? Thanks for any advice.

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  2. First off, some people are naturals when it comes to babies (both moms and dads). Others are not. Myself, I never held a baby before my daughter was born, but something about caring for her just seemed totally natural to me. But she was easy. Not all babies are. Regarding this incident... I too would be a little weary to leave him alone with the baby, but that shouldn't stop you from taking a few afternoons of being totally hands off and letting him be in charge so you can monitor how he conducts himself (just say you're there, but you're not there). Try it a few times and if he seems to be getting the hang of it without getting frustrated (the more he does it the more confidence he will get) start leaving him for an hour, then two hours, but no more than 3 until he requests it. Hey, I even had one afternoon where my wife left me with a hungry 2 month old but no formula. I too was ready to lose it. Maybe it was an isolated event? But you got to get him back at it and fast. I had the one bad day, but not another one since. See what he's up for, but don't force it. He has to want to do it and be able to admit he may need to learn a few coping strategies for when the baby cries if he's going to be successful at it. Hope that helps. Every kid is different and so is every parent. It's all trial and error. You just have to set him up for success. Baby steps, right?- Adam

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  3. My kids are 6, 5 and 4 and my husband was a stay a home dad for 5 years. He was WAY better at it than I am. He went back to work and I stay home now. He had the hard part, 3 kids in diapers, 3 who needed help with EVERYTHING. Keep up the good work.

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  4. Great post. Preach On!

    If I can address your first commentor's concerns:
    Consider this incident to be the equivalent to falling off of a horse, or being bitten by a friend's dog (which happened to me), and know that subsequent opportunities to do some sole caring for the baby should be supported, just like Jimmy mentioned. Be sure to include encouragement. If he is unwilling to speak to you about it, then there may be some shame or personal disappointment involved in how he handled the situation. If he has some dad friends, encourage them to be a support to him and get him talking about the things that are going on with him and your baby and his ex. I believe that he has a good dad inside him, he just needs to learn how to tap into it.
    The Dad-Blogger universe it at your disposal! Use us!
    ;-)
    -JB

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