This past weekend I left little Graham and his daddy behind as I joined my best girlfriends for an out-of-state bridal shower. I was so excited to have a little getaway with my friends—to eat out sans highchair, have some girl talk, share some mimosas and sleep in. I worked hard beforehand, pumping and freezing milk whenever possible to make sure little man had all he needed while I was away.
Along with my excitement, I was dreading missing my baby, but I knew my boys would do just fine together and that I would enjoy spending some quality time with my friends. I was just a little worried about Graham missing me and our little morning ritual. Whenever he wakes up in the morning, I bring him to bed with me, breastfeed him, and we cuddle. It’s an easy, sweet start to the day. I was worried he’d be a little grumpy for daddy, but apparently he did just great, taking his bottles and cuddling with no complaints.
Matthew is a very capable and loving dad, an expert on diapers, feeding, baths and full of fun ideas for playtime. Before I left for my trip, I had more than one person ask me who would be watching my baby while was away—ummmm, his dad? His other parent? I doubt that they would have asked Matthew the same question if he had said he was going out of town. It’s funny how dads are often not given credit for being a real half of the parenting unit.
I remember one of my old bosses used to brag about how he had never changed a single baby diaper. (He has three grown children.) I found that annoying, even repulsive. How sad. It seems that it was more acceptable in older generations for fathers to behave in that way—to leave the work of parenting to the mothers. I’m glad that this male chauvinist attitude is declining. But still, how many times have I heard the phrase “Is his daddy babysitting today?” A seemingly innocuous question, it perpetuates the idea that fathers don’t bear the same parenting responsibility that mothers do. No, he’s not “babysitting.” He’s being a dad. People don’t call it babysitting when I’m with with my baby.
Graham so obviously loves his dad; they spend a lot of quality time together. I’m grateful for everything that Matthew does, and I know it’s so important for Graham to grow up seeing has dad do his part. I want Graham to know how to take care of himself someday and to know that it’s not a woman’s job to do so. For example, someday not too far away, I want him to know how to clean his bathroom and how to cook some decent meals (you’re welcome future daughter-in-law). And I hope he changes lots of his own babies’ diapers one day. I hope to see parenting culture continue to change for the better—and we’re doing our best to raise a man who is up for the challenge.