Here are some ways which might help you to encourage the man in your life to be a hands-on father when the baby arrives.
Everyone adjusts differently to parenting and in the same way, everyone has a perception of how they imagine things will be. Sometimes those images materialise and in other ways, they do not. So much of what is to come is unexpected and simply cannot be planned for. As a general rule, a lot of parents have a pretty good idea of the parent that they want to be.
One thing that I hear time and time again is the idea of the baby’s
father “being a hands-on dad” and I really do get that.
It is quite difficult to articulate this without sounding like I’m being harsh on the male species or generalising when I’m actually doing neither. Unfortunately, though it is a fact that more of the responsibility can (but of course doesn’t always) fall on the mother.
After all, she has carried the pregnancy
, given birth and is now possibly breastfeeding while she’s healing from the entire experience. Many women have an uncanny ability to want to do it all and be it all too when in reality that is just not possible.
Being a hands-on parent is a really wonderful thing. It’s about being involved in all aspects of a baby’s
care. It’s about working as a team and having less clear cut responsibilities when it comes to what you bring to the table and what is expected of you when the baby arrives.
If you want to encourage the man in your life to be a hands-on father then that does not make you a bad person. It makes you a normal one. It doesn’t mean you are thinking badly of this person and it certainly doesn’t make you weak for needing this from that person either. Here are some ways which might help you to encourage the man in your life to be a hands-on father when the baby arrives.
1. Is there an example of a couple in your life where this is not the case? You might use them as a tool to help you paint a picture of what you don’t want. For example, I personally knew a couple whose husband just “didn’t do nappies or vomit”. I made it very clear from day one that WE were having this baby together and that we would both be doing whatever was needed to love and care for our baby.
2. Encourage your partner to attend a parenting course or antenatal appointments with you. It is here that so many tips and advice will be gathered and when the baby comes life can be oblivion of activity. Learning how things work and what babies need is really important and pregnancy is a good time to ask questions and explore this.
3. If you plan to breastfeed, it is a good idea to talk about what you will need from your partner. This includes supporting you through the feeding and pulling their weight in other areas such as with changing the baby, doing more around the house or relieving you so you can go have a shower or take a nap in between feeds.
4. Talk about the things that will make this person a great father. Quite often a pregnant woman can bond and connect with the baby on a much deeper level than the father during the pregnancy. Keep the conversation alive, flowing and encouraging.
5. Consider exploring some books, websites and blogs together. Tag them in memes, interesting articles and social media posts that represent equality in the family and show what life will really be like when the baby arrives.
6. Include the father in different decision-making processes. Choosing the travel system, clothes and name. These are all really special milestone moments and they are very powerful in terms of bond and connection with the pregnancy and baby.
7. Communication is key. If you are worried that too much responsibility will fall on your shoulders talk about it now during the pregnancy. It may be an uncomfortable but very necessary conversation that has really positive results.
8. Have a little faith. This isn’t the 1920s and we’ve come a long way since women reared children and men earned the bread. Do things your way!
Tracey is a happy mammy to four-year-old Billy. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can find her at www.loveofliving.ie.