Dear Mr. Dad: You often talk about how to be an involved dad, but how can I be an involved husband, especially while my wife is pregnant?
A: Here are some ideas that will boost your popularity at home and make your wife the envy of all of her friends, pregnant or otherwise:
– Offer to give her back rubs and foot massages.
– Suggest activities that might be harder to do when the baby comes, like going to movies or concerts.
– Bring home roses for no reason at all.
– Vacuum the house, even under the bed, without being asked.
– Give your wife lots of hugs. Research shows that the more she's hugged, the more she'll hug the baby after he comes.
– Buy her a moisturizing bubble bath.
– If you're traveling on business, ask a friend to take her to dinner.
– Pick up dinner and a pint of her favorite frozen yogurt on your way home from work.
– Offer to run errands. Better yet, do those before you're asked.
– Do the laundry before it piles up.
– Tell her you think she's going to be a great mother.
– If she comes home from work after you do, have a candlelit dinner on the table, complete with sparkling cider.
– Write her a love letter and mail it to her. Yes, mail.
– Go away for a romantic weekend (together, of course).
– Buy a toy or outfit for the baby, have it gift-wrapped, and let her unwrap it.
– Go on a long walk with her.
– Learn baby CPR
– If you smoke, stop.
– Tell her she's beautiful. Then tell her again a few hours later.
– Pay extra attention to making sure she has enough to eat – pack healthy snacks before the two of you go out for an evening or for a hike.
– Organize a surprise baby shower.
– Keep a list of your favorite names or buy her an interesting name book.
– Paint a picture for or write a letter to your unborn baby.
– Set up some interviews with potential child-care people.
– Tell her she looks good even if she's put on weight.
– Buy her a Mother's Day gift – yes, it's early, but so what?
– Go to all the prenatal appointments.
– Keep a journal, either written or digital of what you're thinking and feeling during the pregnancy.
– Do something with her that she knows you absolutely hate to do
– Take her to visit the nursery at your local hospital.
– Learn a few easy recipes – and make them.
– Smile and nod agreeably when she says, "You have no idea what it's like to be pregnant."
– If you have older children, take them to the park and let your wife have time alone to relax.
– Surprise her with breakfast in bed on a lazy Sunday. Or, on a workday, get up five minutes earlier and surprise her with a power shake.
– Take the day off from work and hang around the house with her.
– Give other expectant mothers seats on trains and buses.
– Make a donation to a local children's hospital or school.
– Discuss your fears with your partner. Listen to hers too, but don't make fun of them, no matter how insignificant they may seem to you.
– Paint or wallpaper the baby's room.
– Listen to her complain and don't tell her she's complaining.
– Assemble the changing table and crib.
– Install smoke detectors in your house.
– Make a new will that includes your baby.
– Clean out closets to make room for baby things.
– Call her on the phone during the day – just to tell her you love her.
– Download some of her favorite music to listen to during labor.
– Say "No" if she asks if she's acting crazy.
– Read up on how to be a great dad. My book, "The Expectant Father," is a great place to start.
(Read Armin Brott's blog at www.DadSoup.com, follow him on Twitter, @mrdad, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.)