In honor of Father’s Day, today’s post is a look at the way that you, dads, can determine if you’ve “arrived” as a father.
As you’ve probably noticed, I focus most of my attention on this blog talking about motherhood. To be fair, the blog is called “A Mothership Down”, so I’m pretty much on topic. The blog could just as easily have been called “A Fathership Down,” except that that title makes no sense. Anyway, dads are still important.
Moms- if leading up to Father’s Day you find yourself reviewing your significant other, trying to decide if he has or has not “arrived,”and therefore if he’s worthy of celebration on Sunday, I’m here to help. Below is a handy list of attributes and skills that “with-it” dads possess. If your partner is lacking in even one area he is botching the most important role of his life, and you may want to file for an emergency divorce or at the very least seek out a more suitable father-figure for your child while he gets his act together.
If your significant other meets the benchmarks set forth, then I would recommend giving him a Father’s Day card and perhaps a small handcrafted gift “from the baby,” as you want to secure his ongoing participation in your family unit. Based on his demonstrated performance other women will want to procreate with this man, and so the handcrafted gift better be really good, even if you and your infant are not particularly crafty by nature.
7 Sign’s You’ve “Arrived” as a Dad
Photo credit: Christina McPherson Photography
1. You maintain soft, clean hands. Velvet hands. Hands that can caress your baby without scratching up that soft baby skin with your callouses. Hands free of dirt and grime that might contaminate your precious, delicate baby. Hands that say “I’ve never done a day of hard work in my life.”
Moms – you can provide your partner with lotions to give him an edge here, but there’s only so much Jergen’s can do. This is something you could have assessed prior to having a baby with your partner, and for both of your sakes I certainly hope you took the time to do so, with so much on the line. Dads, I understand that this benchmark may be harder to achieve if you have a job requiring actual hard work. If you fall into that category you can still be a good dad, but only if you wear Bobo Gloves at all times.
2. You use those velvet hands to change diapers, regularly. This began in the hospital, when your partner was too busy dealing with her own adult diapers to consider changing the baby. Dads, you may take pride in the speed in which you can accomplish this task, and as we all know, speed is the key element to success here, rather than, say, secure fit. Sure, you may leave dirty diapers strewn behind you like a trail of fecal bread crumbs, but this is only because you’re so busy exclaiming how cute your baby is that you forget you own a Diaper Genie.
Note: The long-term version of this is a dad who, when his daughter turns 13, will gladly pick up her tampons and pads if her mom is out of of town.
3. You do not, by default, blindly insist that the reason your baby is crying is because he’s hungry. You know on a deep level that continuing to insist on this is frustrating to your wife/girlfriend/baby momma, particularly if she’s breastfeeding and your insistence means that she is the only person on earth that could comfort the baby, certainly not you. Instead, you skillfully consider other factors in your assessment of why the baby is crying, such as the fact that he just ate 5 minutes ago, that he clearly has a full diaper, or that he wants a toy he cannot reach.
4. When your baby makes a colossal mess of bodily fluids, a dad who has truly arrived cleans it up on his own. If the baby, for example, vomits in the car, you will calmly deal with the disgusting situation without panicking and without calling for backup. Better yet, a great dad will allow and even encourage his baby to puke on him, if doing so would make the baby more comfortable. This kind of dad is rare and pretty gross, but also really amazing.
5. You do not hesitate to carry your partner’s girly diaper bag. Ditto for wearing the baby in a clearly feminine baby carrier. It’s one thing to strap the baby on in a Bjorn, or, say, a navy blue Ergo. It’s another to strap the baby on in a Beco Butterfly with floral stitching. If you have the confidence to pull this off, you’ve truly arrived. Bonus points if you’re able to use any of the woven wraps made out of the hair of fairies.
6. You know how to dress the baby in outfits that her mother will not immediately take off, deeming them inappropriate/unfashionable/unsafe.
You accomplish this through trial and error, gauging her reactions to your early attempts at dressing the baby and adjusting accordingly. You begin to read eyes and know immediately that a raised brow means that you have paired a summer onesie with a winter hat, and that you should fix this immediately.
7. You can be left alone with the baby for hours on end without calling even once to ask for help. This is because you know things, like how to thaw breast milk and what to do if your baby accidentally eats geraniums. You don’t consider yourself the “babysitter” on account of the fact that you are allegedly the “parent,” and also because you don’t get paid $12 an hour (Hmm, I just realized I have no idea how much babysitters get paid. What’s the going rate these days?). Your partner doesn’t even need to have her cell phone on her, such is your confidence. She should still have her cell phone on her, obviously, because what else is she supposed to look at in the bathroom?
In all honesty, my husband Brian “arrived” far sooner than I did (actually, I haven’t arrived yet based on my own criteria). He was the first one of us to figure out breastfeeding (seriously, the man is a natural lactation consultant).
He was able to swaddle and use the 5 S’s from Happiest Baby on the Block when I could only use like 3 of them. He took Nolan’s rectal temperature before I had even examined his nether regions closely enough to be totally sure where to put the thermometer. He’s a great dad, and he will be for sure getting some sort of crappy homemade gift on Sunday, we love him that much!
A special Father’s Day edition of the blog will be running on Sunday! See below for how to be featured.
What do you think makes a great dad? Any funny/sweet/short anecdotes about your own dad? Your child’s dad? Send me your comments! Sunday will feature a special edition of the blog with reader’s answers to this question. I’d love to hear from parents of older kids too. If you have a photo you’d love to see featured of a dad who deserves to be honored, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll include as many as I can. Please get your answers or photos in today if possible, tomorrow I’d like to be lazy.