As of this writing, I have two children and a third baking in the proverbial oven. My children are the most beautiful, brilliant, exciting and excitable people on the planet. I love to hug and kiss them, and they seem to love it as well. My son? Making him laugh is often a reason I’m excited to get home. And hearing my daughter’s hopes and dreams for the future—she wants to be everything from a songwriter to a scientist to a spy—at age 6 (about to be 7) lets me know that “P, you did good.”
Kids. They rock. Get you one. Everybody’s doing it.
In case you aren’t aware, I’m a man. As a man, that means that my job is to provide for and maintain the security of my children and family. If I don’t want to get caught up in the nuances of how to do it all, I don’t have to. Nobody is judging me for those things. Sure, if I up and bounce, rock, then skate and roll on my family, the Supreme Court of You Ain’t S–t will rain down on my soul, but that’s pretty much where it ends. Being a dad means that doing the bare minimum actually gets you praise. Just being there means that you got to the top of the mountain. It is sad but true.
For the record, I do not do the bare minimum. K? K.
But let me tell you something that I’ve seen with my own eyes about the other side. Full disclosure: I didn’t realize how many women did not like other women purely because of the choices they made that do not impact their lives in any fashion. This phenomenon manifested itself in terms of baby rearing.
Some women can be brutal. I was not prepared.
I did not realize that womanhood was a constant internal war. I knew (and know) that men are constantly and unfairly attacking women’s concept of what it means to be a woman. Many of us are stuck in the Stone Age, and even the enlightened among us have blind spots. But there are also significant numbers of women who determine how good or bad a mother you are based on choices made that aren’t even indicative of whether or not you’re a good mother. Love, affection, safety, consistency, presence and caring are what determines that. According to the world’s most accurate human barometer—the Internet—that gets lost in the matrix sometimes.
For instance? For instance.
As a padre, I have done research on many things baby-related, but I cannot tell a lie (about this): I know that my biggest job is to keep the baby alive. Feed, change, bathe and make sure he or she doesn’t roll off the bed, out of the car, off the couch, etc. It’s pretty basic. Parenting is a team sport, and for the team to win, I must do my job. Women tend to dig much deeper into not only keeping el bebé alive but also how exactly that life should look, even as young as a day old. That’s where the wars seem to start.
Are you #TeamNaturalBirth or #TeamEpidural? I didn’t realize how strongly women felt on either side of this argument until I hit the Internets. And it seems like the Natural team’s raison d’etre is to shame the Epidurals about the fact that they didn’t go natural, from jump, negatively affecting the life of the child being born. Team Natural insists that the only way to have a child is as God intended. The Epiduralists are like, “#bishwhet, it hurt! My experience is just as valid as yours because I birthed a child!” I’m not a woman; I have no clue who is right (if anybody) or wrong. Me? I’m just glad my baby came out healthy and Mommy is OK.