Even couples who've never fought before will likely experience their first all-out blow out in the first few months of parenting. My favorite truism is a fan favorite of most new parents, I'm sure, but saying "parenting is hard" doesn't even begin to describe how hard it truly is when your baby is crying. Sometimes acknowledging what makes parent life difficult can help you get through it, so go ahead: focus on the infuriating things your partner will do when your baby cries. I say you can't get through something until you face that something head on, right?
First of all, let me make clear that I think the "dads can't handle parenting" trope is complete and total bullsh*t. In a dad and a mom home, dads should be just as responsible for kids as moms are. That said, I think we, as a society, do a huge disservice to our men when we socialize them as if they can't handle themselves. Think about the common stories we teach, including "boys will be boys," and "cover the girls up because men can't control themselves," and "dads babysit, they don't parent." Yes, believe it or not, those lessons are still being perpetuated by a patriarchal society that truly believes parenting is a women-only game.
With messages like this it's no wonder that when some grown-ass men become fathers they have zero faith in their ability to be one. They have no confidence in their ability to kiss scraped knees, cuddle the monsters away, or sing lullabies. Am I the only one who is depressed and infuriated by this? Let this list of what he'll do when the baby is crying serve as an example of what not to do for future generations of fathers.
When Your Partner Hands The Baby To You
Ever been here? Your partner is holding the baby, who starts to cry, and he immediately hands the baby to you? No? Me, neither. (Sarcasm.)
When Your Partner Rolls Over
Picture this: it's the middle of the night, the baby starts crying, and you absolutely know you both can hear that crying baby loud and clear. Your partner, however, simply rolls over and covers his or her head with a pillow, automatically making you the default "get up and tend to the baby" parent.
When Your Partner Nudges You Awake
Same bedroom, different night. You awake with a jolt wondering which kid has woken up from a bad dream. Only this finger seems awfully large to be a child's. Suddenly you realize the baby is crying and that finger is your partner's, poking you awake while they ask, "Can you hear that?"
Um, yeah. I can hear that. Guess I'm getting the baby?
When Your Partner Goes Back To Sleep
Then, in an instant as if they have super secret sleeping powers, your partner is back to snoring.
When Your Partner Says "The Baby's Crying"
You're both in another room when the baby starts crying. Your partner, ever the king of stating the obvious, barely looks up from his or her phone and says, "The baby's crying."
Thank you, but I have ears. Instead of passive aggressively pointing out a noise we can both hear, why not just get up and tend to the baby yourself? Just an idea.
When Your Partner Gets Angry
My partner told me he read a study that claimed men's ears are severely hurt by babies' cries. I think he hides it better now, or maybe he's going deaf, but when our first baby cried he'd get angry. Then, of course, his anger would get me angry at him and we'd start spiraling down a never-ending, vicious cycle of silent, seething anger.
Trust me, future fathers, if your baby's crying makes you angry pretend it doesn't. Then work that sh*t out in therapy.
When Your Partner Keeps Talking To You
Baby is screaming, inconsolable, as you try to change their diaper. Ear piercing shrieks so loud you can't hear your brain work. Your partner, who was telling you a very interesting story about the theory of relativity or whatever keeps telling the story. He or she doesn't miss a beat. In fact, as you wrangle screaming baby into the butt cream application you wonder, "Am I imagining the screaming of the baby? How can my partner not hear this? Do they honestly think I can hear them over this screeching?"
When Your Partner Leaves The Room
I don't know who your partner is, dear reader, but I think it' safe to assume they're lucky the baby is in dire need of you at the very moment your partner decides it's OK for them to leave the room.
Personally, this non-violent mama feels an undeniable need to start throwing books at my partner's retreating back. But, again, that's just me.
When Your Partner Yells At The Other Kids To Be Quiet
Yes, really! And, you guessed it, baby screams even louder in response.
When Your Partner Tries To Reason With The Baby
"Baby, that really hurts my ears. You've got to stop that." Yeah, that's not really going to work with a 6-month-old child who doesn't understand words.
Just as my partner has continued to get better at parenting over the years (he actually parents alone much of the time as a stay-at-home dad) I've also become less infuriated at the way he does certain things. At some point I had to realize that he would have his own relationship with our kids, and I would have mine. I can't control what their crying does to him, but I can control how I will raise my sons to believe they can be anything they want to be when they grow up. Including caring, compassionate fathers who hold their babies when they cry.