We haven’t been primary childcare givers for more than just gender and birthing ability. We do things, look at things differently. Groups supporting men being primary caregivers exist to ease the mind of women/mothers and to hide how men actually relate to one another.
Take changing diapers for instance. Women calmly strip the child down, wipe and change in nearly any location. Men, hover around and make suggestions that sound like changing the oil in the family car.
You’ll hear comments like, “Best wipe that down a little more, before putting on the new gasket. Looks like she’s a little low on fluid.”
We’ll offer to help by pinning down an arm or a leg while the father looks for his wipes, his diaper or the damn diaper bag in general. We’ll drink and chew—but not spit in front of the kids. The drink is coffee or soda of course, but the idea is the same.
We will hold a rag over a penis if we’re afraid of additional oil leaks, but that’s generally self-defense for the whole tribe.
I was always fond of finishing a diaper change, smoothing out the diaper, turning the kid over or standing them up and tapping the rear end as they waddled off. Sort of like, well I won’t have to do that again for another 3000 to 5000 miles.
A sick child brings a chorus of “Oh Man, Wow, Ouch,” from guys and then we try and outdo our friends. “I remember when my son/daughter got so sick, they vomited across the room and hit the bullseye on the dartboard. That’s nothing. My kid puked so much the city put out a flood alert.” Men talk like that you know?
When we’re alone in a group, we actually shake hands rather than hug. If we do hug, we pat three times on each other’s back from approximately 1.5 feet away. Men with short arms are problematic.