While we were hanging out with another couple friend one afternoon, Papa Marbles and his buddy walked ahead with Emma in the stroller while his wife and I hung back to catch up on you know… “girl stuff.” While talking, she stopped and looked at Papa Marbles and remarked, “You know, there’s nothing hotter than a man with a stroller.” Then I had the clouds-breaking moment and saw Papa Marbles in a new light. Yes, she was right; now that my husband is a father, I find myself having these halo moments and falling in love with him even more. Cue sappy muzak.
After Emma was born, it took us a few weeks to adjust to having a new person as part of our little family, but Papa Marbles jumped right in. I watched a new side of my husband emerge– the tender, doting, and caring father. I love overhearing his conversations with Emma, rife with giggles and silly sounds. I notice that he’s very gentle with Emma, carefully helping her out of her carseat or putting her in the stroller, making sure she’s comfortable. I watch with awe as he rocks her to sleep and she falls into dreamland pressed against his chest. For late night feedings, we take turns… he will heat up the bottle and I will feed her or vice versa. When we can, we share in changing poopy diapers because it’s easier with two.
I grew up in a very traditional household where my mom was a SAHM and my father worked and was the breadwinner. My father worked so much he was hardly around at dinnertime, let alone to attend music recitals or parent-teacher conferences… that was all mom. Sometimes, it was like my mom raised me and my brothers as a single mom because she did everything from shuttle us to school to pack us hot lunches every day, all by herself. My mom always tells me that in her generation, that was how it was done. These days, your partner is expected to help. Both Mr. Marbles and I work, and we can’t do everything without a split in house chores and babycare duties. We never had a discussion about our assignments, but it was understood when I got pregnant that we would share the load, as we do everything else.
Reading this New York Times article about men’s testosterone lowering after they become fathers though got me thinking even more. I find it interesting that it’s generally more accepted for men to actively participate in childcare. I love seeing daddies at our local farmers’ market with their baby carriers strapped on. Though still, at our last Mommy & Me music class, Papa Marbles was the only father in attendance. Emma was actually the only child present who had two parents in tow. Low testosterone or not, I am proud that Papa Marbles participates wholeheartedly in parenting and it has certainly strengthened our marriage and added to our relationship.
Is it a 50/50 split with your partner in your household?