My wife and I have survived our first year as new parents and things are going great. The baby is healthy, she’s eating well, she sleeps through the night (and has been for a very long time now), she’s pretty much a perfect baby to this point which makes it a lot easier when my wife has to go out of town. This isn’t the first time my wife has gone out of town and left me and the baby home alone, but it is the first time since she’s become mobile, so that in itself presents a whole different set of challenges… but that’s not really what this post is about.
I’ve read a lot of articles, and seen/experienced things in person, that make me believe that people think that when a baby/child is left home alone with Dad that the world is going to explode. I’ve even heard people refer to it as “babysitting” when Mom goes out for the night, or in this case has to travel… Since when is it babysitting when it’s your own child? That’s not babysitting… that’s parenting. Just because the baby is alone with Dad doesn’t mean that he/she is going to be eating ice cream for every meal, or sitting around in backwards clothing or dirty diapers all day. Why do people have this notion that Dad’s are not parents and are instead just there to help out Mom?
And I know what you’re thinking, and I titled this post on purpose… yes, I brought my daughter to a “guys night” poker game on Saturday night while my wife was out of town in Punta Cana for a bachelorette party. And guess what, she was totally fine (and it didn’t bother any of my friends).
My wife has been out of town 6 out of the last 8 days on a business trip and a girls trip, leaving me to hang out with our daughter and entertain her across two weekends. Yes she’s alive, yes she had 3 meals a day, yes she got her normal bath, yes she ate ice cream (but only once yesterday because it was nice out), no she has not sat around in pajamas every day, yes her diapers have been changed on a regular basis, yes she has gone to bed at her normal 7PM bedtime each night, and yes I kept the house semi-clean and washed all of the bottles/cups.
As for the poker game on Saturday night, she basically just slept the whole time. Her and I spent the whole day wandering around the neighborhood since it was finally nice out. We walked down to the Northwestern baseball game, we walked down towards the lake, we walked to the Central street shops down the street; when she wasn’t napping we were hanging out outside. I fed her dinner and then we went over to a friends house. It’s not anything new, she’s been to plenty of our friends houses and slept in her pack-n-play in an upstairs bedroom while Mom and Dad continue to hang out with their friends. This time, we just happened to be playing poker downstairs.
My wife and I still want to hang out with our friends and having a toddler that goes to sleep at 7PM isn’t going to stop us from doing that. Yes, I could have gotten a babysitter, but when she’s just going to go to sleep, what’s the point? And it’s not like we do this every weekend, but when things come up that we want to do, we make sure we can still do those things. If it’s absolutely something a baby can’t do, or somewhere she can’t go, we find a babysitter or we just don’t go. But when it’s something like going to friends house for a few hours, we make it work.[ Note to any poker players out there, it’s impossible to play poker with a Pinochle deck of cards… I didn’t even know Pinochle had a special deck and a sure as hell don’t know why I had a Pinochle deck at my house. But it definitely took us way longer than it should have to realize that we were playing with a deck of mainly face cards (and only 48 cards total). ]
But back to my point here. Dad’s are not just babysitters, we are 1/2 of a parenting team, and I am perfectly capable of keeping everything in order for a week while my wife is out of town. In fact, if you ask my wife, I’m probably more anal about keeping our daughter on her schedule than she is, but unfortunately most people just assume Dad is the “fun one” that gives the kid anything they want just to keep them happy, instead of being a parent.
And yes, I know there are some Dad’s out there that leave most of the actual parenting up to Mom and don’t pull their weight, but don’t lump me into that category. I have one purpose in life at this point and it’s to be the best father to my daughter that I can. Being the best husband to my wife is a close second, but in all honesty, both of our main priorities in this world are making sure our daughter is safe and healthy.
So while it doesn’t offend me that much to hear people say things like “uh oh, baby is home with Dad huh?” (or something along those lines), it’s definitely a blanket statement that isn’t always true.0