Until the about 50 years ago, raising children was primarily considered “Women’s Work”. Recently, however, fathers have become more and more involved in the daily care-giving of their children. Fathers at P.T.A. meetings, Soccer Dads with diaper bags, and House Husbands are becoming frequent sights, if not the norm. Included in this trend are coed baby showers, also known as Jack and Jill baby showers.
There are many advantages to including men. First, the father to be gets to be involved earlier. Pregnancy is such a powerful time for mothers, and often fathers are left out until the baby is born. Bringing Dad in to help plan the baby shower can make him feel more connected to the whole process.
Second, Dad gets to help with the gift registry. Since he will be using many of the items the new family receives, it is only fair that he have a hand in picking the gifts. Mom may be surprised at just what Dad chooses for his baby. Odds are, he has more thoughts about impending fatherhood than he has been sharing. Helping to create the registry will give Dad an easier way to communicate and will strengthen the bond between the parents.
Third, men add a new dynamic to traditional games. For Feed the Baby, have the women bottle-feed their partners and see how well each couple works together. Challenge the men to diapering contests. They may just surprise everyone! Have each of the guests write down a few words of advice for the new parents. Wise words from a father who has already faced the challenges will come in handy in the future. Turn the shower into a poker tournament, with a package of diapers as the buy in. Hold a Birthday Pool, with the closest guess to arrival date or time winning a prize. Adding men to the games will bring a new perspective and a lot of humor to the festivities.
Fourth, making the shower coed also makes it more flexible. Turn on a little music and move a table or two, and an afternoon tea turns into an evening party. For sports fanatics, turning on the game will help insure the baby’s team loyalty. Ask the new father to man the barbeque, and the party can last all day.
Finally, involving men in the baby shower welcomes the child into the entire community. The primary purpose of baby showers is to help the parents bring a new life into the world with love and support. By including fathers, grandfathers, uncles and brothers as well as mothers and sisters and friends, the baby is celebrated by a more complete extended family and with even greater love.