There is a baby boom going on in my cohort. FINALLY!!!!!! I am so excited for my friends and friends of friends who are starting or have just started their families. I get texts, emails and phone calls from them asking me what my best advice is, which stroller I like best, how to lose the baby weight and almost all of them state what a wonderful father my husband is. He is. My husband is an outstanding father. What my friends and friends of friends do not know is that, behind every good father, an aching mother once stood.
“She’s crying! Here, make her stop.” As my husband tried to hand over our newborn daughter to me, something clicked. I knew that if I took my daughter away from him that I would always be the one who had to console our screaming child and in that tiny moment, as incredibly difficult as it was, I looked at him and said, “I have my way of making her stop, you have to find YOUR way to make her stop” and walked out of the room. It was hard and knowing that my little creature was in the next room screaming at the top of her lungs made my soul ache but I also knew that my husband was not going to harm her and that he loved that little monkey baby just as much as I did. He would do anything to console her and that he did. He found his own way to soothe our daughter and knew that he could be a dad.
I’ve been part of many mom groups and I’ve seen many women over extend themselves because in their minds, no one else can do it right. They are the only ones that know how to feed, bathe, clothe, soothe, swaddle and do anything for their baby. They will not leave their husbands home alone with their child because, “He’s going to go crazy! He’s not going to know what to do! He is not going to stop calling me!” What these women do not realize is that by assuming ALL responsibilities with their child that they have stripped their partner’s of their confidence. YOU have brainwashed him into believing that he does not know how to care for your child. Imagine someone always telling you that everything you do is wrong, you would start feeling insecure and then what? You feel less than and incompetent.
I’ve seen marriages crumble because of this attitude. I’ve seen men completely detach themselves from their families. It starts with not wanting to be home. Then, hanging out with the guys every weekend, then once a week plus the weekend and when the frustrated woman asks, “What about your children? You are never here for your children” time and time again, the man says, “What about the children? You say I don’t do anything right anyway.” I have witnessed this dialogue too many times to count.
Many will argue with me and say that I’m wrong and that those men are just jerks and I’m just lucky because my husband is a great father but my rebuttal to that would be that I allowed him to be a great father. I took myself out of the equation. I never asked him if I could leave our newborn daughter with him so that I could go outside and get a pedicure. If I knew he was going to be home, I told him, “I’m going to get a pedicure.” That was his daughter as much as she was mine and I didn’t hear him ever asking me if he could leave the baby with me while he went to work. In my eyes, it’s kind of the same thing. It was expected from us both to nurture and care for our newborn. When my daughter needed a bath, I told him to youtube the same video I had watched when I needed instruction on how to bathe her and he did and she survived. He didn’t drown her, she might have cried a little because the water was too cold and I popped my head in to tell him to make the water warmer but I never told him, “You are not doing it right.” He was doing it right, he was doing it his way and while my method to soothe my daughter did not involve holding her in my arms and walking back and forth while singing, “I believe in a thing called love” by The Darkness. His method did and it worked.
On that day that he tried to hand our crying daughter over to me, I realized that this baby wasn’t his, she wasn’t mine, she was ours and the sooner I let him find the method to his own madness, the sooner he felt confident in his parenting and is currently the most stupendous father ever. All because I let him be a dad.