Dads are from ______. Moms are from _____.
I hate admitting that men and women are fundamentally different. It makes me feel like a chauvinist and a bit of a hack as a writer. Problem is, when it comes to the parenting instincts – especially over the first few months of being parents – there are more differences than a chauvinist hack of a writer can shake a stick at. Regardless, pass me a stick, please. I’m gonna give listing these differences a try.
1. The ability to wake up when a baby cries. Unless I missed Ninja Training Day during our prenatal classes, the ability to leap out of bed at the slightest sound of trouble is an instinct that moms inherently possess and dads can only dream of having. In fact, dreaming of this ability might be exactly what dads are doing while mom is jumping out of bed in the middle of the night.
2. Our opinions on how much TV a baby should watch. Since Rosalie gets completely entranced by the TV whenever it’s on, Becky doesn’t think Rosalie should watch TV at all. Inversely, I don’t think Rosalie should watch any episode of Sportscenter more than once.
3. The way we explain our baby’s eating/sleeping needs. When we do the “Becky hands me Rosalie when I get home from work and she is heading to work” exchange, Becky will tell me something like, “She had four ounces of formula and some sweet potatoes at 3:30 after she woke up from a 40-minute nap at 3.” Her directions are all about what has happened, where the instructions that I give in a similar situation are about what needs to happen next. If something’s already happened, unless it involves a winning lottery ticket or the arrival of the zombie apocalypse, it’s more useless to me than any button on a microwave that doesn’t say “Add 30 seconds.”
4. The frequency with which one checks the baby video monitor. When Rosalie is in her crib, Becky checks the video monitor at least twice as often as I do. However, since I check it an average of 3,492 times a day, I’m pretty sure we both fall into the obsessive category on his one. Huge difference in genders, same result.
5. How much we miss our baby when we are out of the house. This one actually just makes me feel like a bad parent. I miss Rosalie when I’m at work – I think about her three or four times throughout every day – but compared to a new mom? Amateur hour.
6. The amount of baby clothes we buy. As far as I’m concerned, baby clothes just magically appear in Rosalie’s room. Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny might not be real, but the New Baby Clothes Fairy? Totally real.
7. What excites us about a new baby. Becky loves just watching Rosalie. She could watch Rosalie lay in her crib or sit on the floor for hours – she’s totally mesmerized by every nuance of our baby’s being. For me though, I find myself excited about the things that are going to happen. I’m excited for Rosalie’s future. I’m excited for when she learns to crawl. I’m excited to see what she looks like as she gets older, I’m excited to see if she likes sports, I’m excited to do stuff with her. Becky is just excited to be a parent, and to watch her child grow up, as slowly or as quickly as it happens. Of all the differences in Becky and my parenting instincts, this is the one I’m the most envious of. I don’t want to spend my daughter’s life excited about what she’s going to do next, I want to spend it watching her be herself. So, I’m really working on this one. Here’s hoping that the next time someone asks me for a list of fundamental difference in the parenting instincts of men and women, I only have a list of six of them to shake a chauvinist’s stick at.
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