I don’t know when I became one of those selfish, self-centred mothers who put themselves above everybody else. I was so focused on my mom-related problems that I forgot that I’m not the only one in this crazy journey of parenting. There’s a person whose role is as important as mine – a father of a child. So what about him?
Everyone around is talking about the issues of motherhood, so no wonder most of us become so egocentric. Everywhere you look you can find different support groups and services for new and expectant mothers, second-time mothers, back-at-work-mothers, stay-at-home-mothers, pregnant mothers, single mothers, gay mothers, etc. But what about fathers? Maybe some pregnancy guide books include two pages long ‘daddy’s role’ section, but even this small tribute to fathers is actually about how they should support moms-to-be in every possible way. Funny, huh? There’s also ‘Being a Great Dad FOR DUMMIES‘, but I’m sure you’ll understand if we’ll skip that.
But if we talk seriously, two-thirds of fathers feel ‘left out’ of family life and one in four experience parental postnatal depression (PPND), a dad’s version of postpartum depression. So I started to think about our daddy. What is in his mind? How does he feel? Maybe he’s also tired and he needs a support? However, women and men are made different. Like most of men, he isn’t adept at expressing his feelings, even if he feels things deeply.
‘Men may be more likely to think talking about problems will make the problems feel bigger and engaging in different activities will take their minds off of the problem.’
I didn’t try to crack the code of his feelings. I think, he got enough of mine. Yet, to be sure that he’s not part of previously mentioned statistics, I created my own daddy’s support group. Without him noticing, I was doing everything for him to feel involved, loved and appreciated. I’m certain that it worked out well, so if you also feel guilty about being selfish and letting you husband behind, here are some tips:
Let him be involved.
‘A third of dads felt left out the minute their partner fell pregnant, because it was difficult for them to feel involved. And 40 per cent of dads felt they had nothing to do after the baby was born, as mum dominated the feeding and sleeping patterns.’
If you’re pregnant, take him to your doctor’s visits, read together pregnancy guide books, show him every baby item you want to purchase and ask his opinion about it. If you’re new parents, discuss together baby’s meal times, health care, bedtime or the daily routine. Try to involve him in everything! That all will make him feel involved and more valued.
If he’s on duty, let him do it.
Don’t look over his shoulder or accuse him of doing everything wrong. That will only make him retreat. I helped him spend quality time with our baby and let him learn how to manage things. I also tried not to make him feel judged and inadequate, even when I wanted to smash his face for what he was doing.
Of course, as a mom, you don’t wait for a gratitude after every diaper you change. With men, it’s a little bit different. They thrive on appreciation and it encourages them to feel more empowered.
Spare time matters.
Almost a third of coupled-up adults said spending time with their friends made them happier. One in 10 said they’d like to spend more time with their friends, and one in 10 also said they feel tense and frustrated when they don’t spend enough time alone.
And, as I mentioned before, sometimes men cope with their feelings by keeping busy with activities that keep their mind off things. So let him hang out with his friends, play a round of golf, go to the gym, or simply lay down on a couch.
What about romance?
Entering parenthood can change every component of your life, especially relationships. After having a baby, you have to work really hard not to lose your physical and emotional connection. Start with little things, like kissing and touching. All the rest will come shortly after, this I can promise you.
Show your love.
One day after I told him that I love him, he looked at me and said: ‘You know, sometimes it’s very important to hear that!’ This was a wake-up call for me to start to do everything I mentioned above. I simply forgot to show him how much I’m proud of him as a father and as well as a husband. Learn from my mistakes! Put away your phone or computer and go to show some love to your sweetheart. Things will change…