BY Shamseddin Giwa
Before you even label men in this manner, wait and hear from us first. It’s not like we always want to dodge baby duty but come on ladies, we are not exactly ‘armed’ for baby feeding, and to make it worse it’s like the little naughites do selective loving. How dare they? Reducing us to second class citizens in our own homes and barely managing us when push comes to shove and we are all they are left with as babysitters. Do they not know where their future school fees and pocket monies will come from?
Okay, jokes aside.
Fathers (those of us who have not run away) really struggle with toddlers. The first week a child is born, we are all overrun with excitement and we crave those few daily minutes with them while they sleep. Fast forward a few weeks and the little angels have perfected the art of crying……IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. Unfortunately, such is the nature of sleep that once interrupted…..end of story. All of a sudden you are wondering how to escape into your man cave, fully loaded with a fluffy bed, internet, drinks, stolen cake chunks, internet and peace. We lie that it’s the library or study or office but we know, it’s the ultimate escape.
Really, we know it’s annoying but did you really expect more from us? We are going to help out when we can, problem is that this might be once every three days.
“Dear can you please help me hold the baby while I……” suddenly every second becomes an hour and the head starts to plan an escape route.
You cannot blame us, we thought responsibility meant getting the money needed to run the home, nobody said anything about changing diaper and carrying and rocking and soothing. If you are unlucky to be on duty on a day that the baby carrier has just been washed, these women even start to suggest with style that you back the baby using a wrapper! Colonel in the army, branch manager at work, reduced to this (now you are wishing you didn’t volunteer for the retreat to be at your home).
Jokes apart (seriously this time), men need to be taught what is required of them before pregnancy of wives, perhaps during their premarital counseling for those lucky enough to get it.
It is your responsibility to be there before, during and after. Download fun apps, be present for medical appointments and scans (where feasible), arm yourself with relevant and verified information (wives don’t know it all and need to ask sometimes), it won’t hurt to eat out sometimes or take over cooking (now you are wishing you listened to momma). During labour and delivery, you almost do not have excuses (almost) because you had it coming for nine months or thereabout (except where calculations go wrong).
Importantly, after the baby arrives, your continued presence and support is key. Do as much as you can, you won’t know how good men can be at changing babies if you don’t try. If it’s a trend you are also looking to start, how will you be able to teach your boys something you did not try?
Keep it together and hang in there, remember to take pictures and record videos too, those are images you will cherish forever. Money adds to you being responsible but time and effort count for much more. It won’t be long before the child will be running around and you’d wonder how fast those days flew away but for now, go and change the baby. Fresh diaper, wipes, Sudocreme, go.