How to field strip a baby.

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.

Cleaning patches for field stripping a baby

Cleaning patches for field stripping a baby

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:

Doug1:

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!

Dalrock's diaper bag

Dalrock's diaper bag

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!

This entry was posted in Fatherhood, Manliness, Marriage. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to How to field strip a baby.

  1. grerp says:

    FWIW, I changed nearly all the diapers. I felt lucky to be able to stay home with my son, and I felt the baby stuff was my job, mostly. I always appreciated help, although what I appreciated most was not diaper changing, but a little time off to take a walk even a bath.

    Good to see you blogging! I will stop by later; I am on vacation now and my online access is limited.

  2. Polymath says:

    Welcome to the blogosphere! As I said later in that Roissy thread,

    This is actually a special case of a more general principle of housekeeping — any regular chore a woman wants done, a man will want done eventually, but he will wait until the situation is more advanced before doing it, because he generally has better things to do with his time. Therefore, the woman thinks she is initiating 100% of the housework and it would never get done without her, and she gets resentful.

    I’m not sure what the best solution for this is. My wife was logical enough to see this when I pointed it out, and she stopped nagging me about housework — instead she developed more tolerance, so that by the time she is bothered by something I am bothered by it too. (Of course she still does the large majority of the chores, even the “handyman” ones, but there are a few I like to do, and I never get nagged anymore.) But I don’t know how you would handle a wife who insists on her view of which chores should be done; obviously resentment must be short-circuited, but how?

  3. Doug1 says:

    I followed your trackback to your blog. That’s some I rarely do, but just felt like it this time.

    Note I don’t have kids. My theoretical views would likely moderate in reality. Yeah I probably would help out a bit more than just in emergencies.

    My guiding principles though absolutely would be: 1) taking care of infants IS womens work, primarily. It is so far as I’m concerned, and feminists can suck my dick. My views on feminists and feminism would be abundantly clear and sympatico to her or we’d never have kids together. I do believe in certain sex roles. Not absolutely rigidly when there’s a good reason to vary, but feminism and complete equalism will never be that reason so far as I or any relationship I am in or stay in is concerned.

    2) however I do love my wife that I’m having kids with, and the kid too. Well more when it can walk and talk and thus become apparent to me that it’s actually a real coming along human. I believe in the general principal that the other ought to help out as much as they can when the other spouse is having to do a lot more of the overall work. By overall, I’m including both paid employment and housework.

    3) There’s a WHOLE lot of hugely supported by the media and women’s klatches and repeated by women propaganda about how full time doing housework is and especially that and caring for infants. There’s also a lot of bs in it. It’s heavily work filling the available time, and status/husband offloading help jocking, much of the time, seems to me. I’ve never had my own infants, but I was a sentient six when my youngest brother was born. Breast feeding and diaper changing does interrup 7 or 8 hours of straight through sleep, but it’s hardly 24hrs a day work. It leaves lots of time when baby’s napping for going onto the internet, reading novels (a large majority of who’s out of school readers are stay at home moms), or watching soaps or movies. But sure, there are times when she can use the help.

    So yeah I’d do it more than emergencies in reality, most likely. But here’s the thing. I’d make it clear to her that when I do it’s always a FAVOR to her. Because it’s her job, not mine. Hell I’m bringing in almost or all the money now, and good money it is. I work long and hard, and do lots of male type things around the house too. I pay for lots of things getting done as well. Plus she didn’t have to have the nuisances. Oh I have no doubt I’ll really like them once they become real little people, but I’m the kind of guy that considers infants damn nuisances to put up with, and told her that, warned her when she wanted to have kids so damn much, and was trying to talk me into it. Children, who I won’t and won’t allow her to really spoil (they’ll get things but they’ll also have to behave, and earn things) are another matter, once they develop from the larval stage that’s noisy and needy know as infants. Women are built to find a lot more satisfaction for caring for the beasts than men are. Always there are excepts.

    Now don’t get me wrong. I think it’s entirely unfortunate that women get so many social signals that being full time mom’s is demeaning, especially if she can’t offload a good lot of that to her guilty feeling feeling husband. That social attitude is feminism’s fault not mine BUT, I will work hard w/her and caustically w/her friends to combat it. I’ll praise her motherly efforts and toils greatly, and make her feel appreciated for them, and respected. Adored even. I will pitch in, as a favor to her. (I’ll want my return favors though. Not in some bookkeeping way, but rough justice. Sex and dressing up sexy for me comes to mind.)

    The reality is in my case that if I did have kids I hire help for her. I realize it’s tougher w/out that, a lot. It can become quite easy for her with it. Which suggests part time at least work for her to me.

  4. Doug1 says:

    Dalrock–

    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.

    Good luck to her on that. I can assure you that’s never going to happen. Push come to shove I’d just tell her no. Forget it. In the case of diapers that it’s her job, I work more hours than she does, and forget it. buck up. This is no emergency. Don’t be lazy.

    Now in reality she’d know that’s what I’d do if push came to shove and I didn’t feel moved to do her a favor. So she’d try to flirt me into it rather than order me. If she did get bitchy, I’d joke around with her, tease her about being bitchy, turn it into flirting with her. Accuse of really trying to have MORE sex with me or some such absurdity (most likely if she’s bitching about diaper changing).

    If she’s really frazzled, I’d probably comfort and just do it for her. But then tell her when I’m finished that I hope she realizes she now owes me, in a joking flirting way, when she’s feeling less frazzled and hopefully a bit greatfull.

    A big part of this would be my reminding her how messed up I think feminist messages, imbibed and reflected probably by many of her girl friends, are on this and a host of other subjects. ANd reminding her that she’d agreed with me, and specifically about diapers before we agreed to have a kid.

  5. Gorbachev says:

    Effective field-stripping of a baby is one way to win your lover’s heart.

    And the respect of those round you.

  6. Doug1 says:

    Gorbachev-

    Effective field-stripping of a baby is one way to win your lover’s heart.

    Yeah? Well I’ve got plenty of other ways, which I prefer.

    And the respect of those round you.

    Not the respect from those this anti-feminist wants it from.

  7. Gorbachev says:

    @Doug1
    Gorbachev-

    Effective field-stripping of a baby is one way to win your lover’s heart.

    Yeah? Well I’ve got plenty of other ways, which I prefer.

    I like them, too. But add in being able to field-strip a baby and move back to game, and women get wet. I know. I have 5 nephews and nieces, and looking after them never failed to get every female within 30 feet wet like a sponge dipped in the Atlantic.

    *ever*

    And that’s all women older than the age of 17.

    And the respect of those round you.
    Not the respect from those this anti-feminist wants it from.

    If your goal is to acquire female attention, having game AND being good with babies is like adding a turbo engine to a prop plane.

    I’m sure this wasn’t Dalrock’s point, so to get back to it –

    I have to admit that knowing how to dance is better, of course.

  8. dalrock says:

    @Doug1

    once they develop from the larval stage that’s noisy and needy know as infants. Women are built to find a lot more satisfaction for caring for the beasts than men are. Always there are excepts.

    I have to say I felt this way before having kids. Other people’s kids really get on my nerves. Actually probably the older ones annoy me more than infants. Other people’s infants don’t run around in stores/airports, and don’t wander up to my table at restaurants; their kids often do.

    I really enjoy taking care of both of my kids. I know this is cliche but I would have really missed something had I not participated in caring for my daughter (and now son) as an infant. I’ve got a million pics of her to prove it.

    In the case of diapers that it’s her job, I work more hours than she does, and forget it. buck up. This is no emergency. Don’t be lazy.

    I get this, but it just isn’t the case with my wife. She is anything but lazy. She is from an old school German/Hungarian farm culture on her mother’s side whom she takes after. Work is very important to her, and “everything must be just so”.

  9. Gorbachev says:

    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.

    This was my objective. If you’re going to chance a baby’s diaper, don’t be the servant. Show your wife how to do it properly. You can command a situation and still do the work. Think of male chefs – Woman, please, get out of the kitchen. Don’t touch that. If I want your opinion I’ll ask for it. Etc.

    You do the work, but you’re still The Guy. Absolutely possible.

    When you do this with babies, women swoon. It’s predictable. You just need to do it in public. Obviously, the actual act of changing a baby’s diaper isn’t negative for a guy.

    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.

    Doing this is also not negative. I don’t get the automatic reaction against it.

  10. dalrock says:

    @Polymath

    This is actually a special case of a more general principle of housekeeping — any regular chore a woman wants done, a man will want done eventually, but he will wait until the situation is more advanced before doing it, because he generally has better things to do with his time. Therefore, the woman thinks she is initiating 100% of the housework and it would never get done without her, and she gets resentful.

    I’m not sure what the best solution for this is.

    I think the best way to handle it is to have clear definition of who owns what. Traditional gender roles are probably a good starting point, but I don’t see a need to be rigid. If she’d rather take care of the yard rather than cook and vacuum and you like the bargain too, why not? Knowing who owns a specific role doesn’t prevent the other spouse from pitching in when needed (just like with diapers). But it allows pride in work and prevents confusion/resentment.

  11. dalrock says:

    Note: I edited the original blog to include the main point I had articulated in the comments section. I needed the discussion to finish my own thoughts. Thanks!

  12. J says:

    Hi Dalrock,

    Congratulations on the new blog and the new baby. I didn’t realize the youngest was so new.

    Help make a baby; help take care of a baby–that’s what I say. I breastfed both kids after some really difficult births, and my husband did a lot of the diaper changes at first because I was so wiped. His only complaint was that I got the fun end of the babies. Obviously, I was home more so I changed more diapers, but I never heard a word of real complaint. They’re his kids; he loves them. Where’s the shame?

    We had neutral colored diaper bags and baby slings. My husband actually preferred the sling to messing with two strollers if we were off-road. We did a lot of hiking/camping/outdoorsy stuff with the kids. Slings were safe, lightweight and easy to use. We also liked umbrella strollers for the same reasons; I think we had blue stripes on one and trains on the other.

    He really enjoyed the boys when they were babies (and now too.) Once, when a friend of his complained that he had to stay home and “babysit,” my husband asked whose kids the friend was taking care of. He replied that they were his own. My husband replied, “Babysitting is taking care of someone else kids. You’re just being a father.”

    Fathers interact differently than mothers, even with babies. Mothers shelter babies, while fathers encourage more interaction with the environment. Fathers are good for babies.

  13. Pol Mordreth says:

    I have your back, here, Dalrock. I field strip the baby when I smell it (only then unless my wife is literally elbows deep in laundry or dishes) because 1: if they sit in it it irritates, and I don’t want to listen to the crying; and 2: my wife is 7 months pregnant with #2 and is starting to have hip issues.

    I also carried #1 around in a chest carrier while openly carrying my handgun on my hip. Gotta keep the hands free for draw and reload. Depending on what state you are in that might be available without CCW.

    Regards,
    Pol

  14. dalrock says:

    Thanks Pol!

    We don’t have OC here in Texas, but I did carry openly at times when I lived in Colorado. Late one night in particular while on a pay phone in a deserted small town I was very glad I had it; some local thug saw me on the phone and changed course to start walking directly at me. Then he noticed I was armed and decided he had better things to do.

    I was going to get my CCW earlier this year, but my wife wanted to take the class at the same time so she asked me to wait until after the baby came. Now she is breast feeding and the standard all day course won’t work for her so she said to take the class without her after all.

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