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Dads don’t parent like moms!

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Dads don’t parent like moms!

This is a big thing in our house … when my first child was born, my wife had to make an effort not to “tell me what to do” when it came to diapering, feeding, holding, etc. I think there’s a natural, culturally reinforced tendency for moms to assume the primary role in parenting, babies especially. It makes sense, of course, because they’re the ones who are breastfeeding; they’re the ones on maternity leave in some cases and spending 24/7 with the baby. So they sort of “take over.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a mom correct her husband on the “right” way to do something with their baby. Over time, the problem is that the guy can pull away and give up, thinking, “I’ll never get this right anyway, so she might as well do it.” So back to my wife … she made a conscious effort to let me create my own parenting routines. I fed our son differently than her, but he still managed to get food down. I handled diapers differently; I carried him tucked under one arm like a little football ; and my bedtime ritual was a whole nuther kettle of fish compared to hers. When I did something that went against the “right” thing to do–or when I did a purely dad thing like almost sit on the baby or hang him upside down or squirt milk up his nose by accident–she’d just cringe and bear it. But here’s the thing: I’ve read since then that dads’ “rougher” parenting is really good for babies. A little rough-housing is in order; a little male energy is a positive thing. It’s a different kind of socialization, but it’s a good one, and my son and I formed a tight, enduring relationship on our own, beginning from his first hours of life. So … moms of the world … if it drives you nuts to watch your husband fumble with the new baby’s diaper or squirt breastmilk everywhere while bottle-feeding, here’s the advice of one dad: let it ride. They’ll work it out.

Comments

  1. Other than feeling like “point well taken,” I am cracking up! “Tucked under one arm like a little football” gave me a hilarious mental picture.

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  2. Read your post and thought of this article in the WSJ. Kids benefit from both styles of parenting. Keep it fun. Keep it real. A little milk up the nose never hurt anyone.

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  4. Regarding the important issues, I believe it helps to be on the same page with our wives. Helps when compromise goes both ways. As a man, my wife give me plenty of space for guy time. I’m a strong believer in moldeling masculinity to my two young boys. I fully agree how our relationships with our children looks different than our wive’s relationships.

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    1. Totally agree! It really is about communication, especially in the beginning, and I think recognizing the unique value that dads bring to the parenting equation.

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    2. I appreciate how you mentioned having a tight relationship with your children. I am hoping for the same with my two young boys. Looking forward to some real life talks when they get a little older to help them navigate life and affirm their steps along to the way. Hope also to pass along some experience and hopefully, a little wisdom.

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  5. Love that your wife let you do your own thing, In the end is both your child and I’m sure she wouldn’t let you do something if it was that bad. In my case my husband was divorced and with two children when we met so I was the newbie and he was of great help with my firstborn . Now if someone could please teach my mom to let me be then that would be great lol I just had my third son and she still corrects me about everything. It does make you feel like you can never do it right.

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  6. This is great!!! Moms totally do take over. I know that I did. I am a very controlling person as it is and when it came to my baby no one knew him better than me! And no one could take care of him better than me either. Now to put a little spin on this, my husband and I separated when my son was only a few months old. I had to let go. I had no choice. He went and spent several hours with my ex in the beginning then it progressed into one night a week and slowly up to 3 nights a week. It was hard and I still tried to control it all. But it was and is good for him. He now controls certain things. My son drinks a spoonful of Cod Liver Oil every night (when I remember) and that was a strict rule from my ex! It takes 2 people to create a baby and so many more people to raise one. Dads are great! And there is nothing better than a good one.

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  7. I plead the 5th on the “moms take over” portion of this post… 😉

    Oddly, I tend to be rougher with our son (17 months old) than my husband is. I think it’s because I’m home with him all day, and I just see how rough he is on his own, so I play rough. My husband tends to baby him more, but maybe that will change as he gets a little older. I definitely won’t be the one leg wrestling in the floor in a few years!

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