You read an old book and it’s pretty common: Dads didn’t used to be present for the birth of their children. Sometimes they weren’t even in town—they’d heard about it in a letter or a call, and not meet their own kids for days or weeks or months until after they were born. It’s stunning to hear about the practices of the aristocracy, who would essentially hand their kids over to nursemaids after birth and not interact with them again until they were little three or four year old humans… and then a couple years later prepare to send them away to boarding school.
Even your own parents’ generation—think of the expectations on your father versus the expectations on us today. Things are way different now. A lot more is demanded of fathers and also of mothers. It’s hard, but also… what a gift!
Think of all that your ancestors missed out on. Was it a burden to see your son or daughter born? No! It was one of the most profound experiences of your life. The psychologist John Bowlby—pioneer of attachment theory—talking about the British practice of boarding schools would joke that he wouldn’t send a seven year old dog away to boarding school. Can you imagine doing that to your kids? Can you imagine handing over their care to someone else in another part of your house and just going about your life?
No. Because that sounds horrible. Not just for them, but for you! These expectations placed upon us, it is not a punishment. It’s an incredible gift. We get to experience all this. We get to be there. We get to see them—every day. We get to love them—every day. We get to be a part of our children’s lives.
Not have to. Get to. It’s a gift.