Dear Mr. Dad,
My baby is just 4 months old. I know that my wife expect me to be more actively involved in parenting stuff like playing, talking with my son, feeding, changing him and all that. However, I treasure my lifestyle and I don't exactly have a desire to be as involved as my wife. Well, she's pretty upset with me. What should I do? How do I get the desire to be an active parent?
You raise and interesting question. Sure, you treasure your lifestyle, but the fact is that things have changed and probably won't ever be quite the same. Not everyone has the desire -- or is cut out -- to be a really involved parent. And, of course, not all couples are going to be equally involved. There are a few important reasons that you should consider taking on a more active role:
So how to start? Step one is jump in. Just give it a try. It's a little hard in the early months, when the baby doesn't do much besides sleep and fill diapers. But there are plenty of things to do. Start by just having fun -- tickling, rolling around, going for walks.
Babies just want to be with you -- they don't really care where you're going or what you're saying. Read your son the newspaper, put him on your chest and have him nap while you do something else (but that shouldn't be your only interaction).
I've got tons of age-appropriate activities and suggestions in my book, The New Father: A Dad's Guide to the First Year.
-- "Mr. Dad"
A nationally recognized parenting expert, Armin Brott is the author of The Expectant Father: Facts, Tips and Advice for Dads-To-Be, The New Father: A Dad's Guide to the First Year, The New Father: A Dad's Guide to the Toddler Years, Throwaway Dads: The Myths and Barriers That Keep Men from Being the Fathers They Want to Be, and The Single Father: A Dad's Guide to Parenting Without a Partner (New Father Series). He has written on parenting and fatherhood for the New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, Newsweek and dozens of other periodicals. He also hosts "Positive Parenting," a nationally distributed, weekly talk show, and lives with his family in Oakland, California.