Dreaming for a new home

Source: kate_sept2004 / Getty

Your summer savage days of yesteryear are a blur when a little one is born.

Adulting is on and popping. Your first realization, parenting is a 24/7 job. Your second, it doesn’t matter whether you’re married, together or in a situationship, moms and dads really have to be on the same page to make the whole childrearing thing work. Research backs up your theory.

In a recent study, social scientists found that moms are the “gatekeepers” when it comes to kids. The research, which appears in the Journal of Child and Family Studies, focused on partnered households and on relationships during the first nine months after the birth of a child. They found that when mothers and fathers didn’t collaborate well during the first few months of a child’s rearing, the dad and child relationship suffered—and this is with fathers who were in the household.

It isn’t uncommon for moms to be overprotective of their babies. Hormones and instinct contribute to an extra possessive temperament jokingly called “mama bear mode.” This may lead to mothers doing more nurturing and being critical of other caretakers. While both parents have to mindful of the importance of working collaboratively, men and women have different duties. Mothers have to keep the gate open and allow dads to help. Fathers have to be present and consistent.

Even more, both parties have to be mindful of common gender stereotypes that put more distance between parents, and negatively impact active co-parenting.

Babies Are Not A Women’s Work Mindset

Some people, both men and women, still believe that women should solely be responsible for all the duties surrounding newborns and infants. While this may work for a few weeks, exhaustion will lead to frustration from mom when and if dad does try to help. Also, without practice fathers will be inept each time they attempt a task. Gone are the days when dads work and moms stay home. Both parties should work collaboratively from the jump to build trust and a routine.

Men Can Do Well With Babies

It can feed a mom’s ego to think only she can handle her babies, and it also gives a dad a hall pass. But we know this isn’t true. Both genders have the patience and gentleness needed to nurture babies. Personality will dictate who loves what task more.

Don’t Wait For Things To Get Better Later

Lack of sleep and persistent crying makes it easy to pass a screaming infant to a mom. But dads who don’t learn how to soothe their little ones miss out on valuable bonding time. More important, they will have a hard time comforting the child as he or she grows older, because they’ll learn to always look to mom. Don’t wait on later. Hold your baby. Practice soothing now to build the relationship you want for tomorrow.