“Bein’ a dad can make you feel sad
Like you’re the insignificant other
Yeah right from the start
They break your heart
In the end every kid wants his mother”
– from “Being A Dad” by Loudon Wainwright
Here’s a sad truth Dads may not want to admit…Moms have a connection with their babies that we never will. Dads so often are on the outside looking in; disconnected from the whole experience of being a parent. We spend the first nine months of our children’s existance watching our wives literally grow this child inside of them. What an amazing experience that must be! All Dads can do, however, is rub our wife’s belly or run out to buy a jar of pickles.
Then…after nine long months…Dads finally get to be with their little one. Unfortunately, for most Dads they have to go back to work far too soon and never get a chance to bond with their children like their wives do. Before long these Dads slump home at the end of a long work day to find their baby in their wife’s arms, and it is clear – a Dad will never rival the connection a mother has with her child.
Even in my situation – as a stay at home Dad – I see the magical bond that Maddie and Heather have and wonder if Maddie and I will ever relate the same way. Perhaps some kind of connection is forged those first nine months between a mother and child that we Dads will always be chasing; always trying to make up for.
I bring all this up because this weekend Heather went out of town to a bachelorette party and left me to care for Maddie. While I, of course, take care of Madde by myself during the day, taking care of her at night alone was another story. I was a little nervous about this even if I didn’t let on to Heather that I was.
The night started simply enough…I fed Maddie, administered her breathing treatments, taped on her nasal canula, then put her down and turned on her oxygen. A few hours later she started crying and I got up and fed her. So far nothing all that different except for the fact Heather wasn’t here.
A couple hours after that Maddie once again started crying (when again do babies start sleeping through the night?) so I fed her some more. At this point it was almost six in the morning, so, instead of putting her back in her crib I took her into our bedroom. It was weird to be alone with Maddie – well, Rigby was there too – but without Heather it felt very strange. That is until Maddie rolled over and cuddled up against me. She looked up at me, gave me a little smile, then closed her eyes and went to sleep. It was a great moment between just the two of us. As she started to snore ever so slightly I thought that, while I may never know what is like to grow a baby inside of me or to connect with a child the way a mother does, there most definetely is an awesome bond between a father and his child. And you know what? I will take whatever kind of relationship I can get just as long as I get to see this little face:
A Free Man says:
1. Great song.
2. Great post.
3. Sleeping through the night, our boy started at about 9 months, FINALLY. But he’s recently started waking up again. Bastard.
Wait, did I say that last part out loud?
4. Dads and little girls have a different kind of bond, which is the reason I was cheering for a girl. I’m still coming to terms with having a boy. After 9 months of convincing myself Z was a girl, it’s taking me a while to get over.
A Free Mans last blog post..Australian Birds
Surfer Jay says:
You have touched upon a very important and sensitive issue. As kids, most of us would run to our moms for hugs and comforts and to reveal stories of our day, and to ask for food, and on and on. Our fathers we loved, but our mothers we confided in. Now we are doing things differently. Now some of us men are staying home with the little tikes. How is this going to affect the relationship hierarchy which we have come to know so well? As you state, women have a special bond with their kids that we men may never know. But isn’t part of that bond created as the women are by their side every minute of the day as the men are off at work? Now, as we SAHD’s are taking over that traditional role, won’t the kids come running to us for comfort when they get hurt? Aren’t kids most comfortable with the person they are around the most?
I previously discussed this topic with my Lilly. It made her sad to come to realize that our boy may very well come to me for answers and for comforting. She realizes how I staying at home to raise him will affect the relationships that we grew up being use to. Her tears were a testament to this alternative to traditional parenting that we have chosen. We are going against how we were raised, and the ramifications of this we are slowly realizing.
But the bond of a mother and her child will always surely be unique. And they deserve the time to be able to maintain that bond even in spite of the time apart, especially because of the time apart.
Thank you for bringing up this topic as I have now been able to further ponder this important issue. And sorry for hogging all the comment space.
Oh, and my three month old boy sleeps 5 to 7 hours now. Every night. Praise Jah!
Surfer Jays last blog post..The Boys First What?
Ms. Moon says:
I am so glad that people are listening to Loudon Wainwright. He’s amazing. And he’s written some great songs about parents and kids.
My brother works in childcare and he has been the most-present parent to his two children. A boy and a girl. And they do come to him for comfort. And almost everything else. And it sort of breaks their mother’s heart who has to travel on business a lot.
It does work both ways.
As a former (ok present) daddy’s girl. The bond you will have with your little girl will be so special. There will come a time that your little girl and her mommy will clash (I think it’s demanded by the force that moms and daughters have a period of drama in their life) and your relationship will be important… it will be the “buffer” that both your wife and daughter will need when they can’t understand each other. There was a time that my mom didn’t like me or my sassy ass so much. I was a bratty, snobby 13 year old and I was convinced she was trying to ruin my life. My, dad, god bless him, made the whole situation tolerable for everyone involved. So, don’t fear, the bond might seem different but it’s every bit as important as the one she has with her momma.
My husband says the connection between Oscar and I is supernatural. But, he and Oscar have grown closer, particularly in the past month. Now that he’s becoming more of a person and playing more interactively, he and my husband are becoming best friends, and it’s lovely.
jennis last blog post..Ten Years
If you could bottle those eyelashes, you’d be a bajillionaire.
Middle-Aged-Womans last blog post..I Been Culture-fied
I noticed that with our first baby, my husband didn’t really have a connection with him until he was past the six-month mark. You know, when he started exhibiting traits of a real live human vs. the eating, pooping, crying little blobs they are as newborns.
But oh, I remember the first time we brought our son into our bed in the wee hours, and he rolled over in the morning and saw where he was and got the HUGEST grin on his face….I wish I could re-live that moment a thousand times.
You’re a great dad! And little girls do form amazing connections with their fathers. Sure my mom was who I wanted to hug me when I fell, but could mom do Super Daredevil Stunts of Death in the backyard during our summertime “circus act practice”? Nope. Only Dad could.
HeatherPrides last blog post..WORKIN’ LIKE A DOG MOM
That girl is beautiful. That is all.
Great post. Very touching. I think that moms and dads form different types of bonds with their children and each one is just as important. Keep up the great parenting.
Lisas last blog post..Adoption Options
Don’t worry, the initial bond is very strong with moms, but you’ll get yours too. It will always be different, but it’s still incredible.
Jims last blog post..Run for the Fallen
My husband feels the same way. Since his job (surgeon) is especially demanding he is gone much of the day and has to leave town a lot so he just doesn’t have a lot of time to bond. It wasn’t until she was about ten months old that he felt a true connection with her. She was sick with a 104 fever and I just couldn’t console her. I don’t know why but for some reason she only wanted her Daddy. Although it was a tough week for everyone because she was sick, I was also kind of glad that they were able to bond during that time.
A lot of kids go through stages of favoring the mom or dad. I think I spent a lot of my childhood as a “daddy’s girl” because I felt I had more in common with him.
Rachels last blog post..La Cucaracha
I think the mother-child bond is just one of those things in life that you can’t really put your finger on–it just IS. Father-child relationships may not be quite the same, but are equally important, and I think that you (and other stay-home dads) will have a relationship with your children that other dads won’t. I think you’re giving Maddie the greatest gift you could give her, really (and you probably feel the same about her.)
Christys last blog post..I Owe You Guys Big Time
I’d like to think we each have our own place with our kid and that they are equal roles. I know I’m the cuddly comforting one and dad is the rough housing one playful one. We can each certainly fulfill the other role, but we’re comfortable with where we’re at. And secretly I think my role is better. But secretly I’m scared that the older my boy gets, the less he’ll need the comforting.
PS – 4 1/2 years old and we just had a 2 month stretch of 4-6 nights a week of waking up to “Mommy, I need you!” at 3-4 a.m. Seriously?!??
Brandys last blog post..Grand Total, Please
That’s so beautiful! She’s gorgeous with her smiling eyes!!
gins last blog post..Watch it, Coachman!
You will find that the daddy-daughter bond is incredibly strong. Just take it for what it is. It will change over time, but you’ll see that it’s different, yet just a special, as the mommy-child bond.
I love her eyes!
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Andrea's Sweet Life says:
I have a special bond with my girls, yes, but their dad has a special bond with them too. He makes their eyes light up. They giggle before he even comes in the door – all they have to hear is his truck pull up outside. He’s the bestower of delicious snacks, the park guy, the one who lets them try new things I’m too afraid of. He is the one who dances with them (REALLY dances) and snuggles with them on the couch. He is the one who teaches them to hold a fishing pole, climb backwards up a slide, wrestle. A dad’s bond with his kids, daughters in particular, is an amazing thing!
Sleep Deprivation Ninja says:
My wife was just complaining to me that our baby girl smiles and laughs more easily around me. Even though I don’t get to spend enough time with Code Name Alice, we have an awesome bond. In our house, Mom = Comfort + Sleep, Dad = Play + Laughter
Being a dad rocks \m/
Sleep Deprivation Ninjas last blog post..Gever Tulley: 5 dangerous things you should let your kids do
I’m pretty sure you and Maddie are going to (actually, ALREADY) have an awesome bond. And while, yes, there’s a certain mother/child connection, there’s also something to be said for a father/daughter bond. Don’t sweat it. When she’s a teenager she’ll think Heather’s evil and you can be her saving grace. But don’t tell Heather I said that, k?!
aw. that’s so sweet that you had that moment. really.
but seriously…don’t knock the daddy/daughter bond. Isabella is ALL about daddy these days.
alis last blog post..self mock. again. #932
Don’t discount what you’ve got. I am sure that as Maddie gets older, you’ll realize that you guys have got what not a lot of other father/daughters have. I’m not particularly close to my dad bc he was always travelling, but my kids, they’ve got a really strong bond w/ their dad. To the point that only one gets excited when I come home from work after they’ve been w/ him.
I saw a little girl at the OB/GYN today who looked JUST like Maddie, except 2 and a half. Like, exactly. And her mom kind of looked like Heather. It was unnerving. The kid was super cute though, as I imagine your biddle girl will continue to be.
Marias last blog post..love is farting in front of each other
You know, dads and daughters have a very different bond. It’s not the same as mom and daughter…nor does it mean either one is better/stronger/longerl-lasting, just different. You are already starting to see that bond grow!
Man, it pisses me off when Tyler starts crying and Sarah acts like we’re on a gameshow or something. Before I even have a chance to even process that he’s crying, Sarah’s hitting her buzzer and screaming out “That’s his tired cry! What do I win, Johnny??”
Yeah… they definitely get a special bond.
Joes last blog post..Alphabet Soup
I have to say that my kids prefer their stay-at-home dad to me! *sniff*