When friends and family learn that I left the house for more than an hour or two, they usually ask how my husband did with Parker. People are so concerned for the welfare of my family in such an uncertain and scary time with no mother to supervise! So far, every time I have returned, Parker has been fine and still in one piece with all of his appendages, and the house has neither blown up nor caught on fire. A win, win.
I assume that many newbies feel bad when leaving the baby for that first time, even if it is just to take a trip to Target because you realized that you ran out of milk and toilet paper four days earlier. A few weeks after Parker was born I attended an overnight bachelorette party for my cousin. I tried hard not to feel bad, because I knew that my husband could handle it. But then everyone wanted to make sure he’d be okay for his first solo overnight. That made me second guess whether or not it was really in my family’s best interests that I leave to drink champagne on a limo bus and go for a sunset cruise. In the end, I went, and it was super fun I might add.
The thing is, my husband and I had the exact same amount of experience in taking care of babies when we got into this whole, “let’s have a baby” thing. That is, no experience whatsoever. I didn’t know anything more about babies, I just read more about them than he did. As in, he didn’t read any books and I read one. I even lack that gene that most women have. You know they one that makes them want to hold every newborn baby they see? Also, I’m a teacher, but I teach high school English, which is a far cry from those who are blessed with the nurturing ability to teach kindergarten. Yet no one ever thought twice about leaving that baby under my supervision all day long! I’m even alone two evenings a week when my husband plays lacrosse.
Like all new parents, we had a 48 hour crash course in the hospital that covered the basics of keeping a newborn baby alive. I was one-up on my husband only because my brother is ten years younger than I am, so I’ve changed a few diapers in my day. So do people just think that because I am female, I already know what I’m doing, and because he’s male, he doesn’t? Are his ears more sensitive to a baby’s screams than mine are? Can he not handle cleaning spit-up in the way that I can? Should I only be leaving during a time when there is no chance of a dirty diaper? Can he simultaneously hold the baby, warm a bottle and let the dogs outside?
To be very clear, my husband is an awesome father and he is surprisingly more cautious than I am in a lot of ways. I will most likely be the one who eventually breaks down and gives Parker the pacifier straight off the kitchen floor. I am not irresponsible or lazy, and I love my son more than anything on the planet, but I just seem to worry a little less than my husband does. Maybe we were raised differently. Maybe it’s just some innate emotional response that we can’t control. But whatever it is, I think we do balance each other out, and we make a pretty good team.
So don’t worry folks, Parker is in good hands, and two of them don’t even belong to this girl!