I love two men. Both are wonderful, unique yet similar in so many respects, and I love them enormously – each in their own way. I can’t pick a favourite.
Truth be told, while I love them both equally and wholeheartedly, it’s the little man in my life who has had my undivided attention lately. So much so, I woke up today feeling sorry for my darling husband (the main man in my life, just in case you were wondering).
From weekend sleep-ins to bouquets of springtime lilies “just because”, he does his bit to show me he cares. So, I decided to reciprocate and do something wonderful for him today.
By way of context, I’ve been a Mum for 10 months now. Which is funny because it feels like a mere 10 minutes ago I was holding our newborn bundle in my arms, completely unaware of the scale in which this little man was about to change our lives.
While I can count on one hand the number of life changing moments I’ve experienced in the 10 years before parenthood, an infinite number have occurred since then. The best way to describe my mummy self is like a sugar addict discovering chocolate for the first time. While honey laced tea and fragrant pears may have satisfied my sweet tooth in the past, there’s no going back now I know there’s something richer out there.
But while I’ve been gorging myself on the chocolate that is our son, my husband has been getting by on staples: a quick story during breakfast, bath time at the end of the day and a goodnight kiss before handing him to me for his nightly breastfeed.
Enter the “something wonderful” idea.
In the evenings, I usually get five minutes peace while father bonds with son. As soon as he’s home from work, the little man is handed to him in whatever state of delicious mess he’s in. Shortly thereafter hubby tickles, baths and prepares our little son for bed, in what I’m sure is a bedtime routine that goes all too quickly for a Dad who loves his child to bits and pieces.
Today I decided to make his time a little more special by sneaking a brand new toy turtle into the bathroom for them to ‘unwrap’ together. It was a gift that had been sitting on the shelf in the nursery waiting for the right time to make an appearance. Today was that day, and on the side of the bath the turtle waited until his chubby little friend went into the bathroom with his Dad.
I could hear the two of them when they walked in. Our baby’s delighted squeal at seeing it and then the loud splash that followed as it was pulled into the water, followed by my husband’s happy questions – “what should we call him?” and “shall we make the turtle swim?”
Bath time was a little longer tonight, our baby a little wrinklier before bed, an everyday moment was made a little more memorable and my husband’s smile a little bigger knowing he had been promoted from the bottom of the pecking order.
Let me finish by saying that despite my pre-parent declaration that “I’ll never neglect my relationship with my husband when I’m a mum”, I totally get how the balance can get out of whack. I mean, it’s exhausting being an aeroplane-feeder, singer songwriter, event planner, taxi driver, personal shopper, late night nappy changer and chef. However, you and I both know there are many, many, many benefits for making the effort and ensuring you’re both in the picture. Here are a few more ideas on how you can make Daddy’s moments count:
- Give them something new – Mum’s get so many “firsts” throughout the day, so why not let Daddy unwrap a new toy or visit a new place with baby so they can share a “first” moment too.
- Reserve a game or nursery rhyme just for the two of them.
- Agree on something that Daddy and baby do each day, such as bath time or breakfast feeding, to give them both something to look forward to.
- Let’s face it, some things Daddy’s just do better, so let him play roughhouse (safely and within reason) with baby or play a game on the iPad.
- And my favourite… leave them to it! Your partner and baby will appreciate the space to have fun without you keeping watch, and you can steal some time to unwind yourself.