How do partners prepare for parenthood? I mean, DO THEY AT ALL?
Several people have given Mr. Bunny books for expectant fathers. He has not read them. (I have: an all new take on the patronizing bullshit found in the books for ladies, now with added bonus misogyny sprinkled on top!)
Last week when we were talking about how much time he should take off post-Bun Bun, he made some remark about men of his acquaintance being desperate to get back to work because they’re so damn bored. Wow, NOT what seems to be typical for women.
And my complaining about Mr. Bunny checking e-mail during infant care class, and seeming generally under-invested, appeared to resonate with some of you.
Leading me to wonder: WHAT IS UP WITH MEN?
Okay, I know men are actually individuals, with their individual ways of preparing for things and dealing with things. I happen to be married to what is sometimes called an arousal procrastinator: in order to get his ass in gear, he needs the impetus of a looming deadline. So while he stresses about things for months in advance, he doesn’t actually do them until he gets to a certain point in his timeline. (Which drives me crazeeeee, as I am more or less a non-procrastinator, and can’t fathom why someone would want to go through all that unnecessary stress.) I am also married to someone who is not into information seeking. For me, the only way to soothe anxiety is to do research and make spreadsheets. For him, assuming things will work out okay is enough (because, as I’ve noted before, he’s also optimistic). So his approach to preparing for parenthood has been to pretty much leave it all to me (with some charming exceptions that I’ll write about later). I’ve got the checklist, I’ve scheduled the classes, I’ve done the research, I’ve gotten all the little things around the house that needed to be fixed fixed, I’m the obsessing, listing, ordering, nesting one. He’s the March Madness enjoying one. (Non-Americans: it’s a basketball thing.)
This approach is totally consistent with his personality, and totally consistent with his behavior during our IF treatments. Leading me to think it’s just him. And that when you’ve got a personality like mine and you marry someone with a personality like his, you’re getting wonderful things (like some mellow to balance your crazy), but you’re also signing up to feel a little alone and unsupported at times.
And of course I keep reminding myself that if I’d left it all to him and none of these things had gotten done, there’s an excellent chance we’d be totally fine. That all you really need for a baby is a car seat (and hell, we could walk home!) and some rags.
Still, perhaps because I’ve read too many obnoxious, stereoytyping books, I’m also wondering if it’s not just him. If maybe it’s a MAN thing. Or perhaps even a PARTNER thing? Have any of you got partner who was a real partner during treatments, never making you feel the burden was all yours for an instant?* Have any of you got a partner who behaved this way during the run up to parenthood, however achieved? Is there any correlation between pre-parenthood behavior and parenting skillz? Do I need to just take a fucking chill pill on this whole subject?
*Warning: I might have to come beat you up if you say yes and get all smug about how awesome he or she was…