It takes two to have a baby; that fact has always been true. What hasn’t always been true is the equal participation of both parties in the feeding, clothing, teaching, and cleaning of that baby. Dad’s in generations gone by could be found either at the office or in their arm chair. For many fathers, it was not considered masculine to be seen washing dishes or having a teddy bear tea party with their little girls.
You, however, a millennial dad, have begun to break this mold and have become a much bigger part of the daily running of your home. Believe me, your wife is extremely grateful for this desire to chip in more, but there are a couple of things that she wants you to know.
Just because the cat is away…
Early on in your parenting journey, you and your partner will likely sit down and decide on what your family rules will be. How much TV is too much? When is bedtime? What are your thoughts on teaching your kids to clean up after themselves? Establishing these parameters early can help you to shape your children and the adults they grow to be.
Anyone who has ever tried to put a preschooler to bed knows that it can be ROUGH! With all of the up and down, up and down, up and down, it’s just so easy to give in and let them stay up. This is especially true if your wife is taking a well deserved break and leaving you to steer the bedtime ship.
Keep in mind that you and your wife may have very different ideas on how to handle this particular situation.
What you’re thinking: What’s the harm in letting them stay up, just this once?
What your wife is thinking: He’s trying to be the fun parent and leaving me to be the bad guy.
While it probably won’t hurt that they aren’t in bed, it can cause problems in other areas of their routine. Consistency is a key part in helping kids to establish good habits. More importantly, consistency helps to show your children that you and your partner are united in your choices.
Don’t wait for an invitation
Women are natural organizers and are able to juggle an array of tasks. She’s a wiz when it comes to planning the perfect dinner and is just so good at arranging the kids activities. This may come across as a bit intimidating as you try and do your bit. While you may be thinking one way about the situation, she has a somewhat different opinion.
What you’re thinking: It’s much easier to just get out of her way and let her do her thing
What your wife is thinking: It’s laundry, not a dinner party!
Your wife does NOT want to feel like she is carrying the full load of the family tasks all of the time. This emotional load is extremely burdensome and can add additional stress, making her feel like she can’t drop one of the many plates she is spinning.
There is nothing you can do that is sexier in your wife’s eyes than a task that she didn’t have to ask you to do. The partnership of running a house goes beyond purely the financial obligations, and includes equal division of all tasks. Talk with your wife and establish that balance among the jobs. Once you’ve established that equilibrium, go ahead and do a couple of her jobs anyway. You’ll both be very happy you did.
The value of date night
It’s so easy to get caught in a rut when it comes to your relationship with your partner, especially when there are little people constantly vying for your attention. You want to put so much into your kids and making sure that they have everything that they could possibly want or need, which can mean not putting as much into your marriage. Your wife is really good at putting up a front that she’s ok with the way things are, but she’s probably thinking something entirely different.
What you’re thinking: She’s probably too tired to go out anyway.
What your wife is thinking: It’s like that first date all over again, just ask me out, already!
You’re an amazing dad for always putting your children first. Don’t forget that your wife also needs to be put to the front sometimes! She doesn’t expect grand gestures, the little acts can often mean much, much more. After the baby has gone to bed, dim the lights and curl up with Netflix or pull out the Scrabble board. If you want go the extra mile, call in a baby-sitter or Grandma and head out to explore your city together.
She is more than just mom and you are more than just dad. Just because you have added to your brood, doesn’t mean that your relationship needs to go on the back burner. Your kids and your home will be all the stronger for putting the two of you first.
Silence is golden
It’s natural for babies and young children to be hyper attached to their mother’s. All kids go through a phase, some longer and some shorter, when all they want is mom. While this period is difficult for you as the other parent, making you feel like you’re second best, it’s all the more difficult and exhausting for your partner. It’s important to consider what you wife thinks about this situation.
What you’re thinking: She’s got this, they want her more than me anyway.
What your wife is thinking: I just want to pee by myself!
Your baby really does love you, promise. However, it may involve taking him away from mom to remind him of this. Though he may cry for a few minutes when you pick him up and walk out of the room where mom is, he will calm down and be excited to spend time with you. Dad’s are so fun, what’s not to love? You get some quality time with your child, while your wife gets to enjoy some space. Not only that, but your wife will praise you for jumping to her rescue and giving her the chance to have a little bit of alone time. Sounds like a win, win for you.
Step away from the smartphone
Thank goodness for technology. We praise it for a million little things, nothing more so than our smartphones. It’s one of those items that we just can’t leave behind. While you may see it as a necessary tool, your wife has another view on it.
What you’re thinking: I’m just going to look up one more thing, okay, maybe two…
What your wife is thinking: How long does it take him to be in the bathroom? Oh wait, he took his phone with him.
Technology, particularly smartphone technology, has so many useful applications. It’s usefulness in the area of child safety is something that is not lost on the creators of Ride Nanny. The ability to use your phone to help keep your children safe is a game changer. On the flipside, your phone can also be a barrier to interacting with your spouse.
Your wife is a person who you fell in love with for many, many reasons. She is not just a mother, but also your friend. She wants you to talk to her as an adult and not hide behind your phone. This face to face interaction is important to maintain with your wife as well as your kids. All it takes is powering off in those essential moments.
Don’t be afraid to ask
Becoming a dad in this day and age means overcoming quite a few challenges. It means overcoming stereotypes and trying to be involved despite cultural barriers. It also means working with your partner on a whole other level. She wants to help you succeed at this dad business, but might be afraid to tell you what that involves.
The number one thing your wife wants you to know is that you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help. Even the most loving, conscientious parent needs an extra hand, which is where Ride Nanny comes in. Co-parenting means juggling schedules and routines, which when paired with overtired parents can lead to forgetting even those most important things. Ride Nanny is there to remind you that you’re not alone and avoid potential disaster.
When you and your partner came together, you became the dream team, the dynamic duo. Understanding how you can better support your spouse means that you both can direct your attention on your baby and give her everything she needs.