Every night for the last 2 weeks I have been rudely awoken from my sleep to the sound of my baby crying. It first started when he was sick with a virus, and now we are sleep training him. Waking up often during the night is something all parents can sympathize with. But how many dads see this as an opportunity to serve?
Sadly, I have been known to fake sleep through my son’s ear piercing screams at night. Do I seriously think my wife is falling for that? At full bore, that little guy has the decibel level of a mandrake. But there I lie, peacefully asleep.
My wife is a saint and usually gets up to change/soothe/feed him while I act asleep. Recently, I have been feeling guilty for my selfishness and committed myself to help out. I am not as useful to the baby (I can’t produce milk) as my wife, but I can still help. Some ways I have to help that don’t require you to breastfeed:
• Change more diapers
• Do laundry
• Keep baby for a girls night out
• Play with baby
• Get your wife things while she is breastfeeding (food, water, burp cloth)
• Pick up chores that your wife usually does
It is easier for me to step in and “Dad” in fair weather. I will tickle him, watch him bat at a toy for the first time and grab him for Facetime with my family all day, but that is not what counts. Being a selfless parent requires action when it is less than glamorous. Holding him when he is fussy, changing the diaper he just blew out, and putting him back on his playmat the 28th time, are important times to step up. To serve my wife and son well means sacrifice.
Tip: When I am feeling overwhelmed and annoyed at my son, I think about my parents taking care of me 28 years ago. Dream about your child graduating high school, or playing little league. Or returning to your basement after college… wait, not that one. Daydream about what you are looking forward to as your child becomes a man or woman for motivation during the rough patches in the middle of the night.
More than a Mom’s job
I have found myself hiding in the fact that parenting is for Moms. “Women just love holding babies”, “Taking care of him is her full-time job”, “She is better with him” are all cop-outs that I use, Whether I say them out loud or not. But at the end of the day I am my wife’s partner and helped make half this baby. Not only does waking up at 3AM serve her, but it helps to raise the child God has blessed me with and entrusted to my care.
Originally published on Biblical Masculinity
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