Sharing Childearing

I’ve got a pretty flexible schedule at work and I’d really like to share the childcare equally with my wife. She seems so good at it, though, that I’m not sure I can ever catch up. Is there anything I can do to learn this parenting thing and feel like a competent dad?

Many of us-men as well as women-simply assume that women know more about kids than men. On average, women do spend more time taking care of children than men do, and their skills may be a little sharper than ours. But parenting skills are not innate-they’re learned on the job, through experience and training. If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, you’ll be able to have an active, involved relationships with your children.
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Dealing with Daddy Stress

My son was born four months ago, and things are starting to settle down. We’re really enjoying our new roles as mom and dad. But every time I sit down to do some extra work on the computer, I feel guilty about leaving my wife to take care of our child since she’s with him all day and I know she would appreciate a break. I try to help, but I also need to get ahead with work. What should I do?

The first thing you need to do is not let your guilt get out of hand. A little bit of guilt is okay, but some fathers (and mothers)–in an effort to make themselves feel better about not being able to spend enough time with their children–end up withdrawing from their kids emotionally. Leaving your wife to take care of the baby is a habit you don’t want to get into (and if you notice yourself doing this, there’s still time to stop). The earlier you and your baby start getting to know one another, the closer and better your relationship will be.
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Overcoming Jealousy

I used to be the center of my wife’s universe. We had a great relationship, we did things as a couple, and we communicated all the time. Now that we’ve had a baby, I’m jealous of all the time mom and baby spend together and I feel left out. Not only am I jealous as a husband, but I’m also jealous as a father. Is this normal and how can I overcome my feelings?

First of all, it’s completely normal to be jealous of your wife’s relationship with your new baby–especially if she’s breastfeeding. But who’s really making you jealous? Your wife because of her close relationship with the baby and all that extra time they spend with each other? Or is it really the baby for coming between you and your wife, for taking up more than his "fair share" of her attention, and for having full access to her breasts when they may be too tender for you to touch? Probably both.
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Caring for a wife with breast cancer takes a heavy toll on men’s health

Men who care for a wife with breast cancer have weaker immune systems, and more physical symptoms, such as headaches and abdominal pain, than did men whose wives had remained disease-free. And the higher the stress levels, the worse the effect on men, according to a new study done at Ohio State University.

Just to be clear: this is not to suggest that men shouldn’t care for their wives. The point is that it’s important to recognize that caregivers spend so much time focusing on the people they’re caring for that they don’t pay any attention to themselves. And the results—whether the caregiver is a man or a woman—can be devastating.
Read the rest of my post at Talking About Men’s Health.

Do women want their men miserable?

Hmm. But that ‘s what a just-released study published in the Journal of Family Psychology found. Men, it seems, want their wife or girlfriend to be happy. Women, on the other hand, want their husband or boyfriend to “feel their pain.”

Here’s what the study’s lead author, Shiri Cohen, PhD, of Harvard Medical School, said: “It could be that for women, seeing that their male partner is upset reflects some degree of the man’s investment and emotional engagement in the relationship, even during difficult times.”

You can read the whole article here:

http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2012/03/women-happier.aspx

You’re More Normal Than You Think, Part II

Dear Mr. Dad: After trying for several years to conceive the “regular” way, my wife and I decided to adopt. She’s super excited and has already started outfitting the nursery and buying baby clothes. I’d like to share her joy, but, honestly, I’m feeling a little depressed. Is there something wrong with me?

A: Nope, nothing wrong with you. Think about it this way. The time between your decision to adopt and the actual arrival of your child could be considered a “psychological pregnancy.” Of course, unlike a biological pregnancy, you won’t usually know exactly how long it’s going to take from beginning to end. But what’s interesting is that most expectant adoptive parents go through an emotional progression similar to that of expectant biological parents, says adoption educator Carol Hallenbeck. The first step is what Hallenbeck calls “adoption validation,” which basically means coming to terms with the idea that you’re going to become a parent through adoption instead of through “regular” means.
This might seem straightforward, but it’s usually not. Researcher Rachel Levy-Shiff found that for many parents, adoption is a second choice, a decision—like yours—that is reached only after years of unsuccessfully trying to conceive on their own and years of disappointments and intrusive, expensive medical procedures. Infertility can make you question your self-image, undermine your sense of masculinity (how can I be a man if I can’t get my partner pregnant?), force you to confront your shattered dreams, and can take a terrible toll on your relationship. That’s enough to depress anyone. If you’re having trouble accepting the fact that you won’t be having biologically related children, talk to some other people about what you’re feeling. Your partner certainly has a right to know. Even though she’s very excited, she’s probably feeling a lot of similar things.

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