When my wife and I became parents, it never occurred to me that I could avoid diaper duty for the next several years because “it’s just not for me.” The thought that helping to keep our children clean and dry would make me “like the wife” never entered my budding fatherly mind, either.
Clearly I didn’t have Donald Trump as a role model because that’s exactly what he thought as the head of the Trump family.
BuzzFeed brought Trump’s parenting philosophy to light this week in a piece that revisited his comments during a 2005 radio interview. Asked whether he changed diapers, Trump had this to say:
No, I don’t do that. There’s a lot of women out there that demand that the husband act like the wife, and you know there’s a lot of husbands that listen to that. So you know, they go for it.
If I had a different type of wife, I probably wouldn’t have a baby, ya know, ’cause that’s not my thing. I’m really like a great father, but certain things you do and certain things you don’t. It’s just not for me.
Trump expounded on his child-rearing views in another interview that year. “I won’t do anything to take care of them,” he said. “I’ll supply funds and she’ll take care of the kids. It’s not like I’m gonna be walking the kids down Central Park.”
I’m sure those words grated on the nerves of mothers everywhere – and rightly so. But as a father, I felt sorry for Trump.
As I read his words from a decade ago, my mind flashed back a few years beyond that to our first child’s diaper days. My wife and I had to endure the anguish of infertility, so by the time we adopted our son, we competed for every precious moment with him. That included time at the changing table.
Every diaper change was an adventure but not for the wet or dirty reasons you might think. Changing Bear, a cuddly companion with squeezable stuffing and bright colors, set the mood and guaranteed us plenty of smiles and giggles.
I also thought back to our three trips to Guatemala to bring our children home. I did something very unlike Trump while we were there. I carried our children around Antigua and Guatemala City in a colorful Mayan baby sling.
I felt the stares of people on the streets and in the stores – and the pains in my shoulder and back – but I didn’t care. All that mattered was the comfort of our babies snuggling against my chest.
Other parenting experiences rushed to mind – the constant replays of “Blues Clues” and “The Lion King,” the readings of The Little Red Hen in wacky voices, the rounds of “Chutes and Ladders,” the games of hide-and-seek, and soccer-filled evenings and Saturdays.
I cherish those memories because as our children grew older and the professional demands on my time became greater, I had less time with them. I miss the days of being a doting Daddy, and I look forward to one day spoiling our grandchildren.
By contrast, Trump is still hands-off today, as a grandfather. His daughter Ivanka, who recently gave birth to her third child, said in a 2013 interview that he wouldn’t know what to do with a crying child.
Like he said, it’s just not for him. But he is the worse for it.