New mums often need advice. And who better to give it than a dad-of-one who has never been through the first trimester, let alone labour? Hmm. I see why you might be cynical about my credentials. But as a former agony uncle and certified man expert I do have my uses. Like? Like giving new mums advice about what how their partner is acting or what they are thinking.
This is why, in addition to handing out my usual tips and advice for new dads on this site, I’ve also been providing advice for new mums on the fantastic Mush app?*.
I’ve been doing it for a few months now, and do you know what? Helping new mums with their queries has been extremely uplifting and insightful. Thus, I thought it would be worthwhile publishing the answers on here too. Enjoy.
Should I be worried about the fact my partner isn’t really interested in singing, playing or reading to our baby?
It’s definitely a bit of a concern, but the scale of this worry really depends on your partner’s personality.
If he’s an introvert, then it’s not that big an issue, as it’s highly plausible that he just doesn’t feel comfortable with the idea of belting out a nursery rhyme, making animal noises or rolling about the floor pretending to be a pirate – especially when the audience’s reaction is likely to peak at mild amusement and bottom out at complete and utter contempt.
To overcome this, use facts. Which means? It means cite a newspaper article that reveals how imaginative play helps a baby’s development or quote a study that highlights how kids with involved fathers tend to do better at school. You’ll find these articles, or something similar online, and they will hit your fella right where you want to hit a man who you want to propel into action… his competitive streak. This in-built desire to beat all-comers and make your kid the smartest, cleverest, most amazing human on the planet will trump his dislike for the spotlight and ensure that Project Make My Kid Amazing by Playing With Them begins tomorrow.
On the other hand, if he’s usually lively and outgoing, then this could potentially signpost a bigger problem. Ask him what’s going on and then listen carefully to his answer.
If it’s about him being tired and the baby not really doing anything, then the best cure is a monumental dressing down that leaves him under no illusions about his responsibilities as a father and partner. And if it’s about him not feeling like himself or enjoying being a dad, then do some more digging. Postnatal depression is pretty common in new fathers, so he may need professional help.
P.S. ABOUT MUSH
*If you know about Mush, you’ll be aware of the great stuff it does for new mums. If you don’t, here are the basics. Mush is the #1 social app for mums. It helps mums arrange meet ups with people who live nearby and have kids of a similar age (2 million mum friendships and counting). And it provides mums with a platform where they can get advice from parenting experts, like sleep consultants, weaning experts and me going back to my agony uncle roots to offer new mums advice.