Because my husband and I dated for more than eight years before marrying, I had A LOT of time to think about what he would be like as a father. Before he became a dad, my husband seemed uncertain about fatherhood and would semi-seriously say things like, “Diapers are disgusting. We should just hose the kids off in the backyard.” In all the years that we were dating, I never once saw him hold an infant, change a diaper or feed a child. He would grudgingly play with my niece and nephews, but only after they could walk without stumbling. Needless to say, my husband was reluctant to start a family during the early days of our marriage.
Thus, it came as a shock to me when my husband rejoiced when we discovered three months into our marriage that I was pregnant. The day after our discovery, he eagerly ran out and bought several parenting books including “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Fatherhood” by Kevin Osborn. Hey, it was a start! He was a very attentive partner during my pregnancy; he soothed my fears, counterbalanced my paranoia, fetched the foods I was craving, and was my advocate with the medical staff in the hospital when it came time to deliver. I knew wholeheartedly that he would be a terrific dad as soon as I heard the post-partum nurse say, “That man is absolutely in love with your baby.” I looked over to see my husband lovingly cradling our newborn son in his arms, head bent low to better study our baby’s tiny features. Yeah, he was hooked.
Life was instantly challenging with our newborn, Adrian. The greatest hurdle was breastfeeding. After three days of sore breasts and a crying, hungry baby, my husband had the brilliant idea of buying a breast-pump. Within an hour, he had purchased one from Babies”R”Us using gift certificates we had stockpiled. We then alternated feeding; he would bottle-feed the baby and I would practice breastfeeding. It took so much stress off of me and provided some very valuable father-son bonding time. An even greater advantage to this arrangement? My husband and I would take turns feeding Adrian in the middle of the night which allowed me to get some extra ZZZs!
I became a stay-at-home mom shortly after Adrian was born. It was also at this time that my husband decided to quit his job and go back to school. Although we lived on an extremely tight budget while my husband completed his graduate studies, it was a very happy two years. My husband only had to attend class a few hours a day so he spent a significant amount of time at home with Adrian and me. We had dinner together every night, took family walks and played endless games of peek-a-boo. Now, my husband works between 10 and 12 hours a day but he still finds creative ways to be present in our boys’ lives. Every night, my husband is in charge of the bedtime routine: bath-time, teeth-brushing, book-reading and tucking-in. He also drives Adrian (5) to preschool once a week and engages Daniel (3) in art projects frequently. My sons often tell me how much they enjoy their time with Dad and I relish the break time it provides me.