6.13.2012

ON LETTING DADS BE DADS

This post is sponsored by Disney Baby. I'll be joining the Disney Baby blogging team next month, and look forward to sharing these kinds of stories (projects/ideas/etc) with you over there! Stay tuned for more details!



this is brandon holbrook. i like him.

one of the things i like best about brandon is his hair. and something i've noticed about that hair in the years we've been married is that the more perplexed he feels, the higher up it gets. nervous hands in the hair, you get the idea. would you look at that hair up there? that hair says it all.

when huck was born my mother flew out to help. she arrived a few hours after our cab deposited us at home on a weirdly humid october night. she made the drug store runs, took out the garbage, rubbed my back when i was crying for who knows why (hormones!), ran millions of loads of laundry down to the basement (and made quite a profit one time off the broken change machine, remember that, mom?), she talked me down when i was sure huck's circumcision would never heal properly, and she stayed up late with me on the couch talking about all manner of deep and not so deep things while i frustratedly tried to get huck to latch.

brandon was in the middle of his ll.m program at nyu and dude was slammed. papers, upcoming finals, and  scheduling make up classes for all the days he was missing. he was home with us, he was there and present, but he was overwhelmed. he sort of let my mom take over, which she appreciated of course, having flown from so far away to see her first grandbaby, but it made me feel a little disappointed. 

i was already so head over heels tanked for huck that i knew there was no going back, and i wanted that so badly for brandon. also, i didn't expect to feel so googly over brandon, either. the minute huck took his first breath i fell madly in love with my husband all over again. the man could do no wrong. i was seeing him through fresh baby goggles and he was just the finest specimen. and i wanted to see my fresh baby in his manly arms. i wanted to jump his bones too but also i was really, really sore. and then my milk came in and, uh, i got distracted from that line of thinking for a goooood while. once the newness wore off and the exhaustion set in, i started to feel a little resentful that my brandon wasn't as natural with my huck as my mom was. a girl needs some help, you know what i mean? and stupidly, i expected brandon to help exactly the way my mom had helped and exactly the way i do things. it wasn't going the way i planned.

and then one day, on a saturday morning when huck was about three months old, i caught brandon in a silly little moment with huck having some kind of one-sided conversation, and i realized i needed to stop trying to make my idea of bonding happen for them, because they'd already bonded. in their own weird, father/son, boys are strange, man kind of way. it was sort of the most adorable thing i'd ever seen. 

lesson learned: let's let dads be dads.
because here's the thing about dads:
dads are not moms.


when dad gets baby dressed, baby looks a bit like a disheveled mess. but who cares?


when dad makes breakfast it usually involves chocolate milk. but who cares?


when dad takes baby to the playground, 
baby gets to have adventures mom would NEVER approve of. but who cares? 
(okay, sometimes i care about that one.)

brandon and huck have a standing saturday morning date. they go on a walk to get egg and cheese on a bagel, they check out the playground, they sit at the lincoln center fountains and people-watch. meanwhile, i am at home gloriously passed out on the bed, drooling on my pillow. it's bliss. some saturdays brandon texts me a picture. more often than not i look at it and go, you let him leave the house like that?!?


well, but that's all right.
we'll just let dads keep on being dads. 
because ask any kid and he'll tell you:
dads are the best.

43 comments :

  1. Aww this post was so beautiful. And so true! I think I felt the same about my husband at first, too. I wanted him to bond with my son and didn't realize until later that their bonding is just different :) and that's just fine!

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  2. I really like this post. I'm thinking about how I was trying to get my husband to do things the way I did. Do things the "right" way. I'd get so frustrated and stressed.

    Then all of the sudden I saw what a great relationship my son has with his Dad. I wanted that too. I needed to stop stressing so much and take a cue. Just enjoy our baby!

    Dad lets Sebastian have cookies. Dad takes Sebastian to the park and lets him play with the big kids. Dad lets Sebastian watch TV. Sebastian's Dad is pretty great. I like him too.

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  3. Sooo true. In fact, I just wrote about my pops today! At 26, I still think he's da best!

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  4. This is such a beautiful post. Some dad's don't need forcing they just are. My mum was a single mother and she remarried 3years ago to a lovely man. She tried to force us to spend time together and wanted him to adopt my brother and I. I'm 25 and my brother and is 23. We both said no and my mum was upset but our relationship developed over time and my brother and I now come to my stepdad for advice like a dad and he treats us with respect and jokes around with us like we are his kids.

    I have to say that I really love reading your blog and I get excited whenever a new post comes up in my google reader!

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  5. i adore this. you have such a lovely way with words!

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  6. Very true! Just because they don't do it your way, doesn't mean they're doing it wrong. Since I'm a perfectionist, this was a hard lesson for me to learn.

    Sure love and miss you guys! I was thinking back on those fun Moscow days the other day and remembering how fun those northern Idaho summers were.

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  7. Loved this, especially that last photo!

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  8. beautiful and so sweet and I need to let my husband be dad in his own way more. Thanks. But doesn't/didn't it scare you when your husband was like wrestling around on the floor with huck or flipping him through the air? Makes my heart skip a beat every time!

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  9. when our little baby was born I fell in love with my husband all over too!!! and I really wanted to jump his bones...but I had a C-section so that was out of the question.

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  10. I love this because it was the opposite of my experience. I stressed out about every little thing whereas my husband was instantly, effortlessly amazing with our son. He knew what to do, nothing fazed him, he wasn't grumpy, stressed or overly concerned our child would die in the night. He was an amazing father from the beginning and I was a wreck. I kind of resented him for a while...maybe I was jealous more than resentful. Jealous of his confidence and how much he enjoyed our child. It took a while for me to relax.

    But yes...when dads take their kids to the park they put them in AWFUL clothes (I never let him dress our son for church) and do VERY dangerous things!

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  11. ha, that last outfit is killer. huck and brandon should start a style-column duo on babble or something. huck looks all ready for college...baseball cap and pajamas.

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  12. Awww. I love this post. Especially that last, totally adorable photo.

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  13. I don't have kids yet, so this was a good post for me. Sometimes I try to force my husband into who I want him to be, but it's better for both of us when I let him be himself. I think a big part of me growing up is just learning to chill.out. Oh and your son is really really cute but I think you miiight already know that.

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  14. Oh my gosh. Those Saturday morning pictures are the best. My husband and daughter always go for Starbucks runs in the morning and the way he dresses her/doesn't dress her is my favorite. Such a cute post :)

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  15. love. but i'm a little jealous of your saturday morning tradition. my guy stays home when he gets up with my little guy and by 6:30, the little guy has figured out a way to open the bedroom door and wake mom up. *yawn* but i love that he wants to be with me so i'll take it ;)

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  16. Gosh... These last few post have been so great, Natalie! I find myself spontaneously smiling and Huck.. Oh Huck! He's such a little charmer

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  17. My hubs has that hair too!
    Also- very, very sweet mama nat!
    -deirdre

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  18. Cute cute cute post! Love this...great for future reference when I have my own kiddos.

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  19. You have, quite possibly, the cutest child ever!

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  20. What a perfect expression of love. Dads do things differently, but it's still the right way. It's just the manversion of things. I used to think "gosh, he's doing the dishes wrong!" I had to stop myself and say, "at least he's doing the dishes which means I'm NOT doing the dishes."

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  21. Bahahahahahah! The last photo!
    So so good. I love the way you write, makes me giggle and laugh so much. You guys are the best! And henry is a very handsome young man too!

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  22. oh gosh i loved this post! 1 - huck is so tiny in that first photo! 2 - i totally believe in baby goggles. too bad i don't think they last past the soreness. 3 - i've always wondered about baby to daddy bonding because they don't *quite* have that 9 month bond and getting to know one another. hair all mussed up makes sense, as does bonding at 3 months. 4 - i love that last picture of huck. 5 - brandon seems like a wonderful dad, but you already knew that. hope you guys are having a great vacation!

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  23. aw, i'm really liking these disney posts. i didn't "know" you back when huck was first born, so i'm reading it all for the first time.

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  24. I fell in love with my hubby all over again too. That was the best part of the immediate aftermath of childbirth. :) Also with you on letting Dad's dress their babies every once in a while. My hubby is color blind so it is usual pretty horrendous!

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  25. Aw this is so sweet and probably something I need to have read for future advice!

    http://gandacummings.blogspot.com

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  26. oh my melt my heart, nat! this is so perfect and adorable. i know i'll do some ruffly frustrated thing with my man when we have a baby because i have all these things in my mind how they are supposed to be and he has no clue about any of it, but when i just let him do this thing, it is always better that way, right????? thank you for sharing this.

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  27. This morning, while my baby was napping, I read this. I cried all over my pancakes, because this is my life. You brought to light the fact that my husband will never be a Mom but, he will be a pretty awesome Dad.

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  28. So cute Natalie. It's good to know too. I can imagine myself feeling the same way as you did at first. I'll store this info away for when that time comes.

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  29. I loved this post so much.

    And I will try and remember it when our baby is bonr.

    And my husband with our baby--I don't think he will look more attractive.

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  30. oh this made me tear up. no babies yet, but my fiance is going to be a wonderful dad. dads really are the best.

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  31. this is so sweet and so cute! I teared up. And suddenly (!!) I want to have babies. Chubby little babies and a handsome husband. All in due time...

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  32. oh, i love this post! you've made me realize that maybe i do need to step back and let my husband do things his own way with our daughter. i might be a tad controlling :). and i can't even count the number of times i've freaked out over the choice of outfits he puts on my little girl lol. i need to learn to just let him be a dad...

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  33. what a sweet post!!! you got me a bit teary at the end, and who knows why? i'm not even a mama yet! but i can imagine i'll feel the same way once the time comes for my very own husband to be a dad. and i'm storing this away in my memory for that. so thank you :)
    also, what perfect timing, what with father's day coming up. you're so right. dads are the best!

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  35. From the disheveled mess to the chocolate milk, this is the story of our life too! Thanks for the reminder not to worry/nag so much ;)

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  36. Love this post so, so much. Dads aren't moms and that is a GOOD thing. Kids need both!

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  37. When my daughter was born I didn't have anyone but my husband to help out. He took a month off work and did everything for us. I had to have a c-section so I couldn't have survived without him.

    Now that he's back at work it's harder for him to help especially since my daughter is breastfed and he doesn't get up at night anymore since he's working. I found that the best way to involve him is to express milk so he can give her a bottle and I can sleep/see friends/ run errands. Breastfeeding can skew the workload so that it's mostly on the mother.

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  38. Cool post. I just forwarded this to a few friends with new babies. :)

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  39. This post is so sweet. I am so excited to see my husband step into the role of daddy soon, and even though I know I'll also say, "you let him out of the house in that??" I know there will still be no better feeling. Beautiful post :)

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