The baby wailed from his crib. I had just flopped into bed, exhausted in anticipation of yet another sleepless night. Our firstborn met all of the criteria for textbook colic and I was worse for the wear. I yawned and turned to go retrieve my baby…again.
“Let me do it.” My husband insisted.
I opened my mouth to protest…my mind racing…you won’t do it right. You don’t know how to calm him down. He will just scream. He wants me. I can just nurse him and he will quiet down right away.
My husband seemed to read my mind, “He will cry but it’s okay. I’m his dad. He needs to learn to calm down with me, too.”
I knew in my mind that my husband was right…my son needed to learn to soothe with dad. But I knew I’d do it better. My micromanaging tendencies were firing on all cylinders as I watched my husband leave. I laid in bed listening to my son cry as my husband bounced and shushed. Eventually I heard the car start…apparently, he had resorted to the driving around tactic.
If you’re a mom staying home with your littles, you likely have a system for your home. You have a “way” things are done, right down to nap routine, discipline methods, and the quickest way to deescalate fuss. And, if dad works outside of the home, he may not be privy to the rhythms and nuances of day-to-day life. This can create a near-train wreck on weekends when dad attempts to be more hands-on. On multiple occasions, I’ve found myself instructing my husband on the step-by-step process of putting my youngest child to bed only to find that, even with neglecting to follow my detailed instructions, she still fell asleep.
It's a struggle for me to delegate parenting duties. My tendency is keep life as usual, relegating him to spectating. But, the thing is, most dads really do want to be involved… and both dad and your kids have to figure out their unique relationship. Sure, let him know your methods or advise him if he asks, but chances are he is capable. He can likely discern how to change a blowout… or else he can quickly learn how to bathe her afterwards. It’s all trial and error. You didn’t learn everything about your children overnight. You had the opportunity to learn as your kiddos grew and dad needs that, too. From a mom with several single mom friends, accept the fortune of having a husband who wants to participate… and maybe cut him a little slack on occasion.
Kara Garis is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, semi-crunchy mama to two active boys and a baby girl. She lives with her husband in Oklahoma and loves running, cooking, traveling, reading and teaching herself how to braid. She blogs at karagaris.com.