In Defense of Ear Plugs

I have a baby, who cries at night. She cries because she needs to be fed. In our house, the baby eats nothing but breast milk, so I can’t actually feed her without dipping into the precious supply of refrigerated (or frozen) breast milk we have on hand so that my wife can occasionally be away from the kid for a few hours.

All the books say that the dad should probably get up when the baby cries, and bring the baby to the mom. This is apparently for Fairness. It’s not fair that the mom has to get up and the dad gets to sleep. So to be fair, they should both wake up equally, so that they can be more equally sleep-deprived.


Grumpy, exhausted people are worse at taking care of a baby than happy, alert people. If only one parent must be exhausted, it only makes sense that the other should try not to be.

So not only do I not go get the baby, but I occasionally put in ear plugs so that I don’t even have to HEAR her crying. Yes, that’s right, I said it. I’ll sleep and dream while my wife hauls herself out of bed yet again to sit there while the baby guzzles the good stuff. Everyone’s happy in the house except Mom.

And in the morning, when Mom goes to yoga, or wherever she wants, then I can take care of the baby without wishing I was dead. Or I can go to the office and actually do a decent job. Or if I’m not at work, I can even keep the baby occupied and happy while Mom has a nap.

This is the only sensible way for us.

4 Responses to In Defense of Ear Plugs

  1. BruceS July 28, 2007 at 5:46 pm #

    You, sir, are *not* politically correct. “Sensible” indeed!
    IIRC, we followed a similar approach (20+ yrs. ago), and we all survived.

  2. Kevin July 30, 2007 at 9:31 am #

    Well, just another fella chirping in with agreement here. I read sometimes, and even hear some people tell me, about these artificial divisions of labor that are intended to punish the person to whom the labor does not naturally fall. Idiocy, indeed.

    Just to go WAY off the politically correct farm here, I believe couples function better when they can complement each other, not mimick each other. Tw men of identical capabilities and temperaments will not be as strong a couple as a man and a woman of complementary capabilities and temperaments, as they won’t naturally compensate for the weaknesses of the other.

    Now, I need to get back on the farm a little and say, “not that there’s anything wrong with that!” I have no problem with gay couples, workaholic couples, whatever couples, giving things a go, and I wish them much luck. But I think they need to realize before they embark on their journey that things are going to be harder for them. And complementary couples need to embrace the benefits of their relationship and let them work, instead of trying to implement Harrison Bergeron in the bedroom.

  3. cathy July 30, 2007 at 3:05 pm #

    It seems you feel guilty but you really shouldn’t, for the very reasons you cited at the end. There is absolutely no good reason for both of you to be tired. Better you take turns being tired. It’s all wonderful to be tired as a couple when the baby is just weeks old, but regular life sets in soon enough. I can’t even begin to explain to a friend of mine, with a masters in early childhood education who married a pediatrician, why it doesn’t make sense for the mommy to pump and let the daddy feed the baby at night. Experts don’t know common sense. Yes it CAN be done, but why force equality when it just makes it harder on everyone?

  4. weeklyrob July 31, 2007 at 9:50 pm #

    Pauline and I wondered how you’d land on this, Cathy. Pauline was sure you’d land where you did. I figured that, but wasn’t as sure.

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