My husband sent me this collection of excerpts from interviews with Donald Trump: Donald Trump Thinks Men who Change Diapers Are Acting ‘Like the Wife’. Trump displays a few fairly mild examples of his trademarked unabashed sexism and general jerkitude, saying that he doesn’t change diapers and would never be seen pushing a carriage. When he discovered Marla Maples was pregnant with his child, his chivalrous response was, “‘Excuse me, what happened?”
Nothing shocking here. It’s not as if we all imagined him spending hours fondly dawdling by the crib talking baby talk before leaping up to help one of his wives with the household chores. Nobody who likes Trump is going to be astonished to hear that he’s proud to be a caricature of a hands-off, inattentive, sperm donor of a dad who look at his own baby daughter and saw a potential set of gorgeous legs and perky breasts.
Trump is gross, blah blah blah. The thing that struck me was how sorry I felt for him. Five children, and in all those years, he apparently never let himself enjoy them. He’s happy to use them as props, but they don’t seem to have made him happy.
The other day, I posted a picture of my husband at what must be our . . . mathmathmath . . . yes, about the hundredth kid’s birthday party we’ve had at our house.
The baby is obviously enthralled, but notice my husband’s face. This is a man who is having a good time, and not because he’s really into Dollar Store fashions. Having kids is fun. Having kids makes you happy. Having kids gives you something simple and straightforward to be joyful about.
Of course, there’s also some of this kind of thing, when your four-year-old wants to tell you all about . . . whatever it is that she is going on and on and on and on and on about . . .
And there are other, less photogenic moments, too — long days, long nights, frustration, disappointment, sorrow, doubt, and fear. These are things that come to every father, too.
Some men are naturally good dads, and take to it instantly. Some men intend only to fulfill their duty, and are delighted to learn that they actually like their kids. Some men love playing with their kids, but are slower to realize that they need to take part in the less pleasant bits of childrearing, too. There are all kinds of good dads who work out all kinds of arrangements with their families. It’s all right to take some time to grow into the role of father. It’s a big one.
But ladies, if you are thinking of marrying a man and starting a family with him, please, please, first take a hard look at how he interacts with children. Talk over your expectations ahead of time. Does he understand that his kids are going to need him — not just his money, but him, himself? Is he even open to the idea?
It’s not just about the kids, and their needs, and their happiness. It’s also about him. If you love a man, you’ll want him to enjoy the gift of a joyful, involved relationship with his children. There’s nothing masculine or conservative about refusing to accept the fullness of the great gift of fatherhood. Have the conversation!