I dated my now-husband for more than a decade before we got married, so we were very well-acquainted before kids ever entered the picture. We were sort of the opposite of a shotgun wedding. But two daughters later, I can honestly say that I learn new things about him every day. Parenthood is funny that way. You start to see new sides and dimensions to someone you thought you knew inside and out. There are more than a few surprising things you can learn about your partner from your kids, and it can deepen your relationship with them that much more.
Seeing my bleary-eyed husband get up with my daughters in the wee hours of a Saturday morning and enthusiastically make them pancakes is one of my favorite things in the whole world. Not only because it means I get to go back to sleep, but it's a sight that I never could have imagined even just five years ago. Who is this strange man expertly flipping pancakes while making goofy faces to make my 20-month-old giggle? I really don't know, but I'm glad I married him.
If you too are seeing your partner through the lens of parenthood, here are five more things to look for that show there is a little more to them than meets the eye.
1. They're Silly
You will see that even the most serious partner has a silly side. That's because it's hard not to do just about anything to get your infant to giggle or your toddler to roll on the floor in fits of laughter. If that means doing weird impressions or embarrassing dance moves, so be it.
One day you just might walk in on your normally straight-laced partner doing something ridiculously absurd to entertain your kid. Sexy? Maybe not. Awesome? absolutely!
2. They're Patient
Watching your partner try to tie up your squirming daughter's hair or cut the baby's nails reveals more than just their tender side. It shows that they've got infinite reserves of patience.
Hey, if they can patiently reread the same book to your kid every night at bedtime, they just might get better at waiting for you to figure out what to watch on Netflix, too.
3. They're Total Softies
Motherhood has definitely made me way more emotional than I ever was before having kids, but what has totally surprised me is that my husband is more emotional now, too. I have definitely seen him cry during Disney movies, and he owns it.
If you see your partner tear up just reading a Hallmark card nowadays, you know that despite outer appearances, they're total softies at heart.
4. Their Ego Has Left The Building
Before having kids, my husband and I would regularly debate what to watch on TV, and I considered it a huge win if I got him to sit through an episode of the Kardashians with me.
These days, he's queuing up Beauty and the Beast all on his own, because he knows my daughter loves it.
So don't be surprised, if you, too, suddenly hear your partner singing the theme song from Moana, unabashedly, in his element.
5. They're Not Their Fathers
One of the things that I've marveled at is seeing how hands-on my husband is as a dad. He'll get down in the trenches with diaper changes and gamely volunteer to take my daughter to the dentist. I know I'm lucky, and that this isn't always the case, but it does seem like dads are more involved these days then parents from previous generations.
And, in fact, the data supports this. Dads are three times more involved with child care than the were back in 1965, according to the Pew Research Center. Progress.