Pregnancy- Right from the time when the news of the pregnancy is shared with the world, all pampering happens to the Mom-to-be. They get the license to eat whatever they want, even take more than their fair share off the husband’s plate. He doesn’t have the freedom to eat anything the mere sight of which may be a potential cause of nausea to the wife. Suddenly everyone seems to side with the wife. The biggest ditcher is the mother. Overnight the DIL becomes the best, most loved and most cared for. All healthy, nutritious, tasty food is made for her and the poor, ignored son is made to do all the hard work including the simple tasks of switching on the fan & the tough sacrifice of handing over the TV remote to the wife.
They bear the brunt of the sudden bursts of emotion & are made to respond to all the whims of the pregnant wife. And do they get to buy paternity clothes? While women can use the occassion to shop every trimester for new maternity wear, then post partum wear and then new clothes again once they are back in shape.
Post delivery- The situation is the same- if at all worse as the baby also joins the league.
A whole bunch of relatives will appear on the scene to help the new mother & none come to help the new father. Nobody prepares the new father – they have to learn the game themselves. If the Mom is a working mom, she additionally gets to take the maternity leave from the so supportive workplace. And some grant paternity leave to make sure that he gets to support the just-delivered wife in hospital, take care of the new baby, change diapers and hold the baby when the mom wishes to relax.
Re-prioritization- the loving wife becomes the loving mother and the order of priority is baby, baby, baby, self (so that she can take care of the baby), house (since everything has to be clean so that baby does not get affected), relatives (who are helping with the baby), maid (to help with the baby) and not to forget- husband.
Working Hours- And does the working father get a break at all? Maybe the Mom gets to sleep when the baby sleeps. When Dad gets back home, he is handed over the baby, in the name of bonding even before he manages to remove his shoes. And of course- the Mom is tired after taking care of the baby whole day while Dad is whiling away time at office. And weekends are never the same again. Since Mom takes care the entire week, Dad has to fill in during the weekends. So all hopes of even a small afternoon nap flies out of the window as Dad dare not express the wish of a nap to Mom who does not get any break during week days. Of course all repair work, home maintenance work and shopping has to happen during the weekend so that Dad can do/ supervise. Mom is willing to do it if Dad promises to take care of the baby without even once calling Mom for help!
And the Nights- since the doc has advised- no diapers at night, keep the baby comfortable, Dad is supposed to do the change of nappies and then hand over the baby to the waiting mom for feeding. If still the baby doesn’t sleep, Dad will hold the baby and walk around till (s)he sleeps. After all Mom has been doing exactly this the whole day and also elders say that the mother will find it difficult to put the baby to sleep. The baby will be able to recognize the mother and then expect that feeding routine will take place and therefore will not sleep. So the indulgent Dad has to do the drill. Same for bottle feeding- Dr Spock says mom should leave the room when baby is fussing when bottle fed.
While Mom can sleep till late in the morning if the baby allows so, Dad has to get up & go for work – on time. Even miss breakfast if the entire household is busy with the baby.
Touring- Wonder if it happens to the mom, but kids refuse to recognize the dad when he comes back after a longish tour.
When my husband came back home form a 3-week tour the little monsters decided that they did not know him at all, until he sat down to do his daily puja & rang the bell. When Tejas was 6 weeks old, Hubby suddenly materialsed after a 2-week tour and planted a kiss on his cheeks- the little fellow spent about 20 minutes crying in fear.
Separation Pangs- of course Dad also misses the baby- whether in office or while touring. Some times they also miss out in being the first one to witness the milestone happening.
Performance Anxiety- diapering, holding the baby, making the baby sleep, baby should not cry in his lap etc etc. Basically be good at everything the mom does and be evaluated for the performance by everyone.
Bad Cop- Dad gets to be the monster- wait till Daddy comes; I will tell him all that you did today.
There, Dads of the world, I have taken up your cause. You may contribute and add to the list while we Moms may look for more occasions of making you bond with the children.
Edited to add
This post is linked to CHBM in response to the Carnival