One of the huge things that pissed me off about being at my brother's wedding was the almost blatant disregard for the fact that I've got a wife and a three month old child.
When we were going to the rehearsal dinner, he had a fecal emergency which put us back 15 minutes. When we got to the restaurant, it was as if the world had ended that I wasn't there on time. Seriously, people were melting like Raiders of the Lost Ark. (side note - remember this movie for this Saturday). I was also five minutes late for pictures with the groom because I was taking care of the kid while my wife was pumping, and it's damn near impossible to manage to pump and look after a screaming kid at the same time. I came downstairs and my dad scolds me like I'm three years old for being five minutes late. It was like this basically all weekend.
This got me thinking about a few conversations I've had at work with guys who say things like, "the first three months or so aren't that bad, because your wife is breast feeding and you don't have to get up to help."
When my son descends into hunger-insanity in the middle of the night, I will always get up with my wife. The routine goes like this: she will generally warm up milk while I try to calm the kid down until the milk's ready. Then I will feed him while my wife pumps. Then I'll change him and re-swaddle him and put him down and make sure he falls asleep. By the time he's asleep, my wife is usually done pumping, and we both go back to sleep at the same time. If I didn't help, she would be up twice as long, feeding the kid and then pumping.
I realize we have a bit of a crazy situation, because my son never figured out breastfeeding, and thus we feed him breast milk from the bottle. Yes, this is just as terrible as it sounds - but less terrible than an infant with his scream set on "permanent".
But in the first six weeks, when we were giving breastfeeding our most valiant effort, even though my wife was trying to feed, I would still get up, help change, swaddle and get the kid back to sleep-land. It wasn't even really a question. Sure I complained, and still do, but if you've made it through three months of having a kid without complaining, you deserve a medal, or at least a high five and some Cheetos.
But the thing about is, that even though I complained, it wasn't because I had to do it. I complained because, well, after a couple really, really long nights, it just straight up sucks. But I still did it because I have a wife who carried and then birthed my child, and a helpless child who needed me to be there for him. It wouldn't really be fair to say to them, "hey, look - I'm kinda tired. You mind if I go back to bed and you two figure it out?" Not only would it be unfair, but I'd also be shirking the responsibilities I signed up for when my wife and I decided to have a child together.
So that's why I was pissed. Look, I'm not trying to paint myself as some saint, but I'm just trying to honestly figure out why it is that a dedication to your family first and foremost is not only looked down on by other men, but it is also seen as a kind of weakness - that this is something the wife can take care of, while the man should be asleep. What is this, 1950 and/or the Middle East?
This rant could go on for two or three more hours, but I think it's probably best to split it up into three different posts. I wanted to get into the Man Cave phenomenon, as well as the gender role polarization, but I figure it's gonna take forever to get all of it into one post. Thus, the title of this post contains an insinuation of further parts.
So a serious, honest question: Am I wrong to feel this way? I'd truly love to hear other points of view, because I'm not exposed to them. And I'm legitimately interested in how other families manage their gender roles.