Mommy Masters welcomes dad Keith Lex,who shares his perspective on fatherhood and why his way works for him. His wife may not agree but at the end of the day, it all gets done!
“Around 2am, my wife and I were bottle feeding our six month old twins. She was leaning over the bassinet feeding our daughter and I was crouched on the other side of the double bassinet, feeding our son.
Mom decided that this was the appropriate time to inform me that I was holding the bottle wrong. Not the angle at which I was holding the bottle, which I had done incorrectly in the past, but the grip I was using, and the placement of my fingers on the bottle. I like to grip the bottle by the collar, close to the nipple, so I have more control of the bottle, whereas she likes to hold it from the back of the bottle.
I defended my bottle-gripping and began to argue my case the best I could without waking the babies, but then realized that I didn’t want to open this can of worms, because there were still a few hours of sleep that I could get. I swallowed my pride, slid my hand down the bottle to mimic Mom’s grip, and silently fed Baby Boy.
You see, in our house, there are a few ways of doing things when it comes to taking care of our twins.
- Mom’s Way: the way she does things
- Dad’s Way: the way I do things
- The Right Way: the correct way of doing things (often synonymous with Mom’s Way)
- The Wrong Way: the incorrect way of doing things (often synonymous with Dad’s Way)
It looks simple on the surface, but at times, it can become very complicated. Believe it or not, there are times when something can be done Mom’s Way, Dad’s Way, and the Correct Way, all at the same time. Amazing!
Two days after my mishandling of the bottle, Mom told me that I was folding the babies’ blankets incorrectly. It triggered something inside me and I blared, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat!” Now I’ve done it.
“What are you talking about? I’m just telling you that you need to fold them differently so they’ll line up with the other folded blankets in the basket.”
I explained the “skinning a cat” idiom that I had just used and told her that she wasn’t being fair. I’m still learning how to do “dad things” because I’ve only been a dad for six months, so she can’t expect me to do everything right.
The scale has always been tilted in Mom’s favor because she was a nanny for twelve years. She has had more experience with babies and children than most new moms, and of course, she has way more experience than me. 95% percent of the time, I’m thankful for this because I’d be lost without her. But the other 5% of the time, it really bugs me. She literally knows almost everything and I always have to follow her lead.
It just means that we do things a little differently at times, and I’m sure this is the case with most moms and dads. I pull the right Velcro tab of the diaper first, but she pulls the left first (yes, this has been noticed and brought up in a conversation before). But guess what? The diaper is still put on correctly and it serves its purpose just as well!
I like to stomp, clap, and throw fake punches into the babies’ bellies. It’s my go-to method for getting a laugh out of them. Mom likes to pump their arms and legs to make them laugh. Hey, if you’re making the babies laugh, you’re doing it the right way.
I’m glad we do things differently.
Our kids will be lucky enough to experience two different parenting styles and they’ll love us differently, just like we love each of them in different ways. We’re two different players, but we’re on the same team, and we’re definitely winning.
Honestly, Dad’s Way is usually identical to Mom’s Way, because I’m continuously learning from her. And I’m glad I’ve had the chance to learn from her. But if there’s no real difference in the outcome of our actions, then that means we’re both right.
If that’s even possible.”