My husband, Shawn, usually writes this column, but today I’m taking over. Let me tell you a few things about Mr. Pop Culture: He cannot tolerate a dirty baby, which means he does bathtime. He cannot tolerate bugs, which makes him an excellent household exterminator. He reads to our two sons in a funny voice (I am not funny).
But these wonderful qualities didn’t pop up overnight. My sister-in-law, Melissa, and I have a theory that a man truly becomes a father when number two is born. Why? Because when there are two, Dad has to really get his hands dirty. It’s no longer a one-person job. When Melissa and I speak to a guy expecting his second child, we give each other knowing nods that silently say, “Yup. He’s about to arrive.” With two boys, ages 9 and 6, Shawn is officially in that club. But let’s not forget what really contributed to Shawn’s sky-high Fatherhood Intelligence Quotient (FIQ): He works at a parenting magazine, a gig that brings plenty of benefits:
1. I am the most popular woman at any baby shower. Shawn keeps me abreast of the best new baby gear, though this skill can suck sometimes, like when I realized we’d aged out of the coolest stroller ever invented. (I still dream about you, Orbit Baby G2.)
2. When one of our kids gets sick, no one at work blinks an eye at his staying home. When your husband works at Parenting, it’s not like anyone is going to give him grief for being a good dad, right? His job constantly reminds us that everything can wait—except the needs of our kids.
3. I don’t do social media. Shocker, I know, but Shawn regularly engages with my friends via Facebook, so when one of them pops up in an article, I can keep up with what’s going on in her life. (How did I not know she was on antidepressants?)
4. He can talk breastfeeding with the best of them. He’s practically a card-carrying member of the La Leche League.
On the flip side of all these positives, Shawn does lecture. When a topic related to childbirth comes up, it’s like he’s possessed by the spirit of a chatty ob-gyn. In the end, I listen, smile, and nod, impressed by his wisdom.
Every mother needs a Parenting editor. Thankfully, I got one.