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Some Dads Will Surprise You!

I'm a simple man. I'm pretty much a wash and wear, rough and tumble, get the job done kind of guy. I don't like my hand held, and I certainly do not appreciate being talked down to. I just want to be pointed in the right direction with some basic information and a phone number I can call if anything goes wrong. I know that makes me sound like a baby sitter, but I'm not. A baby sitter listens when a mother gives her a long list of useless instructions that no one in their right mind would ever take the time to read. A father, a self-reliant one any way, just smiles, closes the door and throws that stupid ass list in the fireplace. After all, fatherhood isn't about following the lead of your wife, it's about following the lead of your baby. But that doesn't mean your wife won't keep trying to get you to fall in line... much to her own detriment.

I say, don't blame your wife, blame the parenting magazines. I mean what the hell is up with all these on-line articles teaching moms how to train their husbands after the birth of a child- or, what they refer to as "getting dad involved after the birth of a baby." Are you kidding me? These things don't teach about parenting equality- they teach about parenting supremacy. They don't teach moms how how to train their husbands how to be better dads; they teach them how to train new dad's to take direction. And, if teaching moms how to coddle their children in these magazines wasn't bad enough, now they're teaching them how to coddle their husbands too!

Take this article from Squidoo for example, entitled " Great Ways to Get Dad Involved with a New Baby." This doesn't read like a manual on how to ease dads into parenthood, it reads like an manifesto on how to turn your husband in to a secondary caregiver. Let me paraphrase it for you: 1) It's overly forgiving (i.e. "give dad time to settle in to his new role"), 2) it suggests some great craft ideas (i.e."get dad to paint the nursery or build a rocking chair"), 3) it mentions some helpful gifts you can get him ("every dad needs a manly diaper bag"), and 4) if you really read between the lines it says the words that most women already believe to be true: "don't expect too much from him at first... or at all."

Gee, after reading this you'd think being a first time father was easy. I mean who doesn't want a job where no one expects much from you, they give you a lot of time to get your act together and someone gives you joe jobs to do just so you stay out of their hair?  I'll tell you who-  the guy who's married to a woman who thinks he's an idiot, that's who! Nobody likes to be marginalized,  especially new dads. 

Being a dad without responsibility is like being a dog without a purpose. Sure, a Dalmatian's pretty, but do you know the last time a Dalmatian actually did what it was bred to do? It certainly wasn't bred to chase after red fire engines. These articles suppose that just because dads don't have 10 lbs. of wiggling flesh and bone yanked from between their legs and rested on their chests in goo covered glory that they aren't ready to be parents. Well, we are, but not on mom's terms, and definitely not while accessorizing a diaper bag of any kind.

It seems to me like new moms are trained (I wonder by who) to think that their husbands are complete morons, and that if they leave the house all hell will break loose. Well, that's moronic. Sure, not all dads are made the same, but if you can't trust a guy with your most prized possession, what the hell did you have a kid with him for???

If you ask me, the best way to break in a new dad is simple: LEAVE. Don't write a 20 page letter explaining what he needs to do- just leave. Leave a box of diapers, some formula, some wipes and some articles of clothing and a brief book on baby care in a pile on the floor, and LEAVE. Don't ease him in to it. Don't tell him everything he needs to know. Just leave. Leave some phone numbers for him to call on the fridge in case of an emergency, and LEAVE. LEAVE!!!! Your husband and your baby will be fine, and even if something happens, you can't be there 24 hours a day, 7 days a week... so leave and find out once and for all if dad has what it takes to be great.

Ladies, leave now or forever hold your peace because as long as you believe that your husbands can't do something, they won't do it, ever, especially if the only reason you believe they can't is because you read it somewhere in a magazine. Where I come from, we don't coddle children, let alone grown men- we put them to work. You think us more experienced dads are looking at all the new dads going "You'll do fine sweetie, Just take your time, and ease in to it"? I don't think so. We're grabbing them by the collar saying either get out now, or get to work and don't embarrass the rest of us.

So LEAVE and give a guy the opportunity to prove what he's made of. And if he fails, THEN treat him like a child; then feel free to start spoon feeding him these magazine articles like he's an absolute tool.  But at least give him the opportunity to fail (or thrive as the case may be). You owe him that. (Well, an apology would be nice too, but we know when not to press our luck).

You never know. He might surprise you?


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