Dad of the Week: Married With (Newborn) Children Heather Hopson June 25, 2012 Uncategorized 1 Comment Diary of a First Time Mom continues to celebrate Father’s Day throughout the month of June. You may have noticed that a group of dedicated dads recently took over Mom Minutes. We interviewed fathers who were single, divorced or staying at home. Last but not least, we caught up with a married father of three. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get as much attention at times, but he definitely deserves recognition. He heads up the household, brings home the bacon and at times even cooks it! Well, maybe not the last part in this particular case. Haywood Batchelor–whose name is the only thing single about him–doesn’t mind falling into traditional gender roles. He also doesn’t mind redefining his idea of fun. Yo Gabba Gabba is now recorded over NBA games and his date nights with his wife are few and far between. As a working father of a toddler and newborn twins, Haywood is learning that quality is much better than quantity. He strikes a good balance between his demanding job at HBO, his children and his wife, who he now appreciates more than ever before. Haywood–which I must note rhymes with manhood–doesn’t think he’s someone special, because he married the mother of his children. He doesn’t want to be applauded for taking care of his kids and setting high standards, because that’s what he’s supposed to do. Diary of a First Time Mom is excited to share his story, because it’s a good reminder that most men want to settle down and start a family. What is the hardest part about being a father? What is the best? Hmmm…the hardest part about being a father is making sure you are striking a good balance between the needs of your kids, your wife and yourself. It’s easy to get lost in your work, or your commute or your kids’ activities and forget all the other things you need to do to keep you house in order. As the father, you are the last line of moral defense in your household. You set and maintain the rules, if you say no cursing, then damn it no cursing by anyone. So just make sure you hold true to your values while keeping a good balance with everyone’s’ needs. I think life is about challenges. And there is no greater challenge than raising your kids to be productive members of society. I think the ups and downs are fun. What was married life like before you had children? Totally forgot. But, time spent alone to do the things you want to do become much more enjoyable once you have kids because that time is few and far between. How did starting a family change things? Is there anything you miss about the before baby days? OMG…it changes everything….how you spend money, what you think is fun, what you watch on TV (shout out to Yo Gabba Gabba.) I guess I miss being able to pick up and go whenever I want. How can you ensure that the decision to have children doesn’t lead to a decision to divorce? Unfortunately, some couples are happily married until they have children and the dynamic changes. Cliché alert….Communication son, I mean, a lot of couples get married before they know what each other wants. Ask the tough questions; involve older married couples who can really tell you what life is like when you have kids. Get a third-party to listen to you what you are planning to do and tell you if it’s BS. For instance, if she wants kids and as the man, you don’t, then you need to make sure she knows and is willing to give up that expectation. Often, women take on a large majority of the childcare responsibilities. How do you help balance that out? Men aren’t built to be a 50/50 partner when it comes to child care. We are the hunters/gatherers. Women are the caretakers. When those roles get blurred, couples often become unhappy. Men should definitely help around the house (e.g. vacuum, lift heavy things, wash some clothes, fix stuff) but other than that, not sure what else I have to offer in that area. Did you and your wife plan to have a certain number of children by a certain age? I didn’t really make any plans about kids, I just trusted her to come up with a number that worked for both of us….which as it turns out is 3! Did you feel pressured to become parents? For instance, soon after getting engaged, people start to inquire about when you plan to have children. How should couples respond to that type of pressure? Not sure, kids are a lot of work and I feel older married couples pressure younger married couples so they can get the initial hard work out-of-the way when they are young. The older you get, the less you want to change diapers and wake up at 3 a.m. to feed a baby. But either way, couples should be consistent when giving their response. Be on the same page about your decision. Often, you hear about Black men abandoning their children, not paying child support or fathering kids with multiple mothers. But there are positive stories out there. Why do you think they are not being told or perhaps not being publicized by mainstream media? Jeez…how much time do I have…I’m going to answer this question in bullet point action items: •The media has a responsibility to drive ratings. Nothing drives ratings among black women like criticizing the actions of black men. This topic sparks online conversations, books, movies, etc. Entire careers are based on the misdeeds of black men. The media makes sure they keep this story alive and well, because it’s a cash cow for many in the industry. •A positive story about a black man being father is not NEWS. Just like a positive story about a white man being a father….that’s not news either. We’re the status quo. What conversations should a couple have before having children? And should these conversations occur BEFORE they get married? Do you want kids? How many? Where do you want to live…most women want to live near their mother. What types of religious beliefs are we going to instill in them? Nanny vs. daycare vs. someone staying at home to watch the child etc….. What are the benefits of raising children under one roof as a married couple? All the benefits. Raising a kid is not meant to be done by one person. Sure it can be done, but I can drive 60 miles to work in reverse while I’m blind folded at 100 mpg, but that doesn’t mean I should do it. Currently, Haywood Batchelor is a Project Manager at HBO in New York City. He lives with his wife and three children through the tunnels in New Jersey. One Response NRS October 2, 2012 I Absolutely LOVED this post. Haywood’s positive male perspective brightened my day. Thank you Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.