Parenthood is one of those experiences that rarely ends up the way you expected. And if you have a parenting partner, you have two sets of expectations to contend with. While it's somewhat common to assume having a baby will automatically bring you closer to your partner, that's not always the case. So, in my opinion, it's natural to have doubts about your parenting partner and wonder if he is going to be a great dad.
In this country, and many around the world, it seems like girls are in training to become moms from the time they are able to hold, feed, and change a doll. It's common for teenage girls babysit for their first part time job, and in many ways women are expected to know how to be good moms. But despite all of that prepping and cultural mind-molding and societal expectations and hands-on education, I was still clueless when I finally held my baby in my arms. Motherhood might be "natural," but it is not innate. It is learned.
Still, when my daughter was born I was shocked to learn that my now ex-husband had never held, changed, or fed a baby before. And, unfortunately, his enthusiasm didn't make up for his lack of experience. He constantly tried to get out of doing basic co-parenting tasks by claiming he didn't know what he was doing. Then, whenever he did the bare minimum, people praised him like he was the best dad on the planet. I did the bulk of the parenting day in and day out, with no acknowledgment, while he was thrown proverbial parades if he so much as changed a single diaper. I had no idea parenting with this man would be such an unequal, exhausting, frustrating experience.
Thankfully, now I'm married to a great dad. I actually had the advantage of knowing he was great before we had kids together, too, because he was already a dad when we met. What's more is that he's pretty much always been willing to actually co-parent with me, and not use his inexperience as an excuse. It's so different, you guys, and so much easier. It's clear he was destined to be a dad, and I saw so many signs that he'd kick ass as a parent early on, like the following: