Ever since I got pregnant, it’s almost like my mom has used it as an excuse to have a reason to complain about how “useless” my dad was. “Your baba is good at making money and providing supplies and things needed for the house, but he didn’t do ANYTHING to help me when you and Ed were born!” she recounted numerous times. “I had to do EVERYTHING myself!” Well, I know that’s not 100 percent true because she had the help of my aunt and my grandma, but I do know for a fact that my dad is clueless about child rearing. I still recall the time when my friend came over with her 6-month old baby and plopped her into my dad’s arms. She did it so fast that he pretty much had no choice but to hold her, otherwise the baby would fall. He looked so unbelievably awkward and out of place holding a baby that I had to hold in my laughs to prevent him from getting mad at me. As soon as he could, he gave the baby back to my friend as though she was a an oversized hot potato.
That was a different generation, though. Most dads of my generation, at least the friends and partners of friends I have, see child-rearing as a joint effort from both partners. Both partners take care of diapers, baths, feeding (assuming bottle), and they make it work together as though they are a team. I’d always been a bit apprehensive of falling into gender roles with having a child, as that’s the easy thing to do. I’d also seen endless articles and social media posts that more or less have the theme of “How Not to Hate Your Husband/male partner After Having a Baby.” But in the few days since coming home from the hospital, it’s clear that Chris and I are managing this as a joint effort, as he’s been doing pretty much everything other than breast-feeding: he logs all the baby’s feeds, poops, and pees; he heats up and rehydrates all my heat packs for my breasts and uterus; he takes care of the baby’s bottles; he’s been doing all the grocery shopping; he takes care of all the logistics and the snacks for our night nurse. Everyone says that once you have a newborn, it’s pretty much impossible to take a regular-length shower or even brush your teeth. Well, we’ve both managed to do this and coordinate who is doing what when, and it’s been working out well so far.
“Once you have a baby, you’re more like a team playing a sport than husband and wife!” my doorman told me. “All you do is coordinate and tag team, and that’s your new life!” All I have to say is that this definitely feels true, and I am just grateful to have a partner like Chris who has been really supportive, approaching parenthood together and aiding in my postpartum recovery.. even though he does say (joke) that he has to recover from birth, as well, since he has his own “postpartum recovery.” He even went out to get me prune juice and checks in on whether I am drinking it, since the nurses at Lenox Hill suggested I take that instead of over the counter meds for pooping postpartum. He’s also been the brain in our relationship since giving birth since I clearly have a severe case of “mommy brain,” and he says that I “can’t remember shit.”
Well, mommy brain IS real. I can personally attest to this.