Our evening ritual includes me taking a bath with DS with DH in the role of assistant bather and then taker out of the baby and dresser of the baby.
These are such tender and precious moments for me. I love that we are together as a family and I love that I am not alone with DS, which after a day together can sometimes be rather intimidating for me. I need someone to shoulder the baby care tasks together with me – and DH knows how to do that.
I mentioned to DH how much I appreciate him accommodating us (his family) into his schedule to always be at home for the evening bath and bed time. I told him how much this meant to me. And I was surprised at his response. He confided that it is not always easy. He does it because he wants to and he is happy to be helping me – but it’s not easy when he is getting comments and insinuations from friends and family questioning his level of involvement with his family. It would seem that DH has taken on a role that not many other fathers feel comfortable taking or are able to take.
I had not known that DH had any ambivalent feelings about being at home every night and about sometimes (well, often) not getting to Judo as DS is not sleeping well and I get desperate at the thought of being left alone at home for another 2 1/2 hours with a crying unsettled infant.
I honestly do not know how I would manage without DH. He knows what DS needs and is always there to support both DS and myself. DS’s face lights up when his father comes through the door and calls his name. DH is such an essential and important part of both of our daily lives. And it seems to come so naturally to DH….. and yet there is the underside, the shadow, as DH tries to make sense of what he feels is the right thing for him and his family and what society tells him he ‘should’ be doing. I do not know this side of DH that well. To me he has always been so capable and confident as he redefines what it is to be a man, a husband and a father….. I guess I am reminding myself to be gentle with him. Not expect too much and not become complacent as I become accustomed to a fully supportive DH.
In the bath, I told DH that these are moments that I will always cherish – as I remember us becoming parents together and loving our child and learning so much about life and each other. If he is still happy to bath us each evening, I am a most willing recipient of that help and the intimacy. And I will do my best not to take him for granted.