“Am I kissing him too much?”
When my first son was born, I was overwhelmed with joy and love. I just wanted to gobble him up with affection. But I had never been down this path of life before and I didn’t know what was “proper”. I think every dad shares that vulnerability.
A new article on the AP wire, The new dads: Diaper duty’s just the start, carries a quote that really caught my attention: “Before, when everyone made motherhood seem like such a big deal, men weren’t chipping in as much.” (I urge you to read the article.)“proper”. I think every dad shares that vulnerability.
Before my Mom audience* lynches this guy (‘cuz mother IS a big deal!), can I take a run at explaining what this dad wanted to say? Motherhood is a big deal. So big, it is very easy for dads to feel like we’re on the outside looking in… like we don’t “get it”. I think what this dad intended to say was that he’d happily engage in caring for the baby if his wife would empower him to participate.
Men, most men anyway, are not natural caregivers. We’re just not wired that way. Nonetheless, the arrival of a new life in one’s home, in one’s arms, sparks a desire in most men to participate even in the earliest efforts to care for this life. We need permission and encouragement from the mothers of our child to dive into parenthood. My wife gave me that and it opened the door for the great realization that It’s Good To Be The Dad!
I recently helped out on a project with the National Center for Fathering. We converted a great book on the first stage of fatherhood from print format to ebook. “Forming a Lifelong Bond: For Dads of Infants” is an encouraging and insightful project that will inspire every new dad. Working on the book, I waffled between “Glad I did that right” to “Ouch, wish I had known that.”
So, dads (even expecting ones, you know who you are), would you do a couple things today? Read the AP article and realize that you’re part of a remarkable generations of dads. Own it. AND, please download the ebook and make some time to read it in the next couple weeks. There’s a lot of wisdom waiting for you there.
Oh, was I kissing my newborn baby too much? No. Turns out you can’t kiss ‘em too much. Smooch away dad, smooch away!!!!
Clark H Smith
* And for my “Mom audience” (you know who you are), would you make note of this blog post and these two resources. Would you share these thoughts with a young man who is now or is about to be a new dad? Motherhood… Parenthood is a big deal and we dads want to help. Would you think of ways you can encourage and empower us as we stumble into this incredible role of father? Thank you!