Field stripping a baby is really no big deal. It doesn’t require any special tools (no disrespect to the great John Browning), and the cleaning patches are pre soaked with the required solvent. But always assume the baby is loaded and keep it pointed in a safe direction.
I posted this over on Citizen Renegade in response to an assertion made by Doug1 that men should rarely change diapers, leaving the basic care of very young children to women:
I didn’t say never. I specifically said that emergency or unexpected situations could arise; then I would and it’s fine. But I do think changing diapers, and generally caring for infants, is women’s work, yes. (That can also be hired women in part.) I also think that dealing with teenagers of either sex tends to be more a dad’s work, if he’s a good father. It’s mom’s too, but mother’s without present dad’s in the home and much better the biodad, tend to have a hard time with teenagers, or most of them.
The context being that women and men not only have natural roles when it comes to housekeeping, child rearing, etc, but that deviating from this tends to make both women and men less happy, and specifically is an attraction killer for women when men fail to act in a manly way. I think I agree with Doug1 in general (game does seem to have a great deal of validity) but I have much less hesitation than him to step in and change my kid’s diapers. Part of it is an aversion to lazyness. If something needs to be done now, my preference isn’t to go looking for a woman to do it. This is especially true if my wife is taking a nap (nursing moms have difficult sleep schedules). Also, our newborn son needs regular trips to the doctor and children’s hospital (nothing serious long term with treatment now), and I’ve been the one taking him. Some of the things docs have to do to kids are downright difficult for moms to watch.
Fortunately my wife and I finally solved our disagreement on which diaper bag to get for our son. Like so many couples, we disagreed on which camo pattern the diaper bag should be. She is more of a traditionalist and wanted woodland, while I prefer a more modern waterfowl hunting pattern. Although it technically is a bag for duck and goose hunting, it works great and keeps everything organized!
Overall, I think women in general have been fed a very strange view about parenting. So many are terrified of being pigeon holed into what they see as the inferior role of the mother, but they can’t fulfill the role of father.
Polymath added the following insight:
Diapers are no big deal, and doing it with the right frequency will get you a very grateful wife. The right frequency is much less than 50%, too much and it becomes expected — basically you do it whenever there is any particular inconvenience for your wife to, which might be about 10% of the time. That way there is never any fighting over who should change the diaper.
However,and this is key, you have to NOTICE that the diaper needs changing and do it. If she has to ask you, then even if she only asks at first when it is very inconvenient for her to do, you will eventually have to start saying no or she’ll keep asking you more and more frequently. But if you notice and change the baby at a time when she is unable to for some reason, you get lots of LTR points, and she will never ask you to change the baby when she can do it.
As usual Polymath makes an excellent point, although I might dicker a bit on the 10%. Maybe 15-20%? I don’t see a hard and fast rule. My wife is staying at home to take care of the kids for now, but nursing a newborn is round the clock work. I’m happy to help out where I can. At any rate, we are on the same page. Without consciously thinking about it this is how I have been handling the situation. Pushing back on requests, but noticing full diapers periodically and just taking care of them. Much more important than how the work ends up being divided up is not getting into a situation where your wife is ordering you around. This would be true even if LTR game principles of attraction weren’t at stake.
Fortunately my wife has never been the type to try to create a list of things I need to do as seems common in so many marriages. I let her get her stuff done, and she does the same for me.
The point is what you do as a husband is probably much less important than how you do it, especially the frame you keep. The more I think of it, the more I’m averse to the idea of “women’s work”. Work is work, and all honest work is noble; no job is beneath me. Just change the work to reflect who you are instead of letting the work redefine you. I think that is the potential problem with men doing any number of women’s roles; turning yourself into a nanny your wife orders around is a problem. Working without changing your frame from that of a man isn’t. Want me to take over decorating the place? No problem, but I’m going to do it man style.
As a specific example, I took our (then) four year old daughter to the doctor last year to get some vaccinations. Is this women’s work, or a chance to be a dad? It all depends on the approach. Comforting her after getting shots at the doctors became a chance to put the truck into four wheel drive off road and have some quality dad/daughter time; she forgot all about her shots and couldn’t stop bragging to the neighbor kids about our brief adventure on the way home. And my wife got that gleam in her eye.
Likewise with the diaper bag. I may be old school/chivalrous, but I can’t bring myself to let my wife carry the heavy stuff when we go somewhere. I wouldn’t have her tote the suitcase out of the car, so why a diaper bag? But I’m not hauling around some frilly bag looking like a ball-less wonder. As I’ve said elsewhere, I feel the same about the stroller. This is precious cargo needing protection, and I’m the strongest. It’s hard to get a truly manly stroller, but the jogging ones come as close as possible. Later this summer I will get my CCW so I can push the baby properly armed.
What do you think? Ever field stripped a baby? How important is it to maintain traditional gender roles in a marriage?
Oh, and happy Fathers Day!