Friday, June 23, 2006
Better Dadding: Buy a Crockpot
I'm starting a new weekly series that I'm going to call, "Better Dadding," in which I'm going to share some of my own wisdom about tricks and tactics for how you can be a better dad. I was originally going to call the series, "Hair-Better-Than-Mediocre Dadding," but it didn't seem to have quite the same punch. If I can, I'll make this a weekly Friday thing.
My first topic? The magical benefits of the humble crockpot, sometimes known as a "slow cooker."
Here's what makes a crockpot so great: you fill it with stuff and hours later that stuff has become something tasty. And, if it somehow isn't tasty (rarely the case), it's at least cooked enough that the food inside of it won't give you botulism. I know! We do live in an age of wonder!
But, how does that make you a better dad? I'm glad you asked.
No matter how involved you are as a father, your child's mother is always more involved. It was a hard lesson for me to learn. As much as I wanted to split parenting with Denver Mom, right down the middle, there were just some things I couldn't do.
For example, take breast feeding. Setting aside the obvious reasons why I couldn't take over that task, our plans for me getting up in the middle of the night to feed Chunk with a bottle didn't really work out. Sure, I was getting up at 2:00 a.m. to feed our son, but Denver Mom was still getting up at the same time to pump, since she was getting uncomfortable. So, why should we both get out of bed when she could just feed our son and be done with it? It didn't make sense, so she quickly became the "nighttime feeding" go-to person, while I became the "Man, I slept GREAT!" go-to person.
See what happened there? We talked about a problem and together we came up with a solution. And, at the same time, we created an imbalance. So, to take up some of the slack, I started being the one to get Chunk up in the mornings, letting Denver Mom sleep in. I started doing a lot of little things to make things easier for Denver Mom, because she was doing so much to care for our son. The best thing I could do as a dad was to make things easier for her as a mom.
So, how exactly does the crockpot fit into all of this? It's easy to use and there are very few things quite as convenient that don't involve tipping the delivery guy. You get supper ready in the morning and then in the afternoon, when you don't feel like cooking and the baby is crying, dinner is still ready to go. The only preparation needed at that point is getting down plates to serve it on.
You can modify this tip, of course. Right now we're using the grill in place of the crockpot, because summer isn't really the best season for stews, but the concepts are basically the same. Sometimes being a good dad isn't about being the star player on the team. Sometimes it’s about just making the assist, so mom can "take it downtown and score."
Umm, okay, that sounds a little weird. Now you know why I don't use many sports metaphors.