In the weeks after my first daughter was born my 18 year old never-before-had-a-child sister gave me a profound piece of advice that none of the parenting books mentioned. She said,
“Michelle, you know if she is crying, and he is holding her, you have to let him take care of it right? You can’t step in you know. You have to let him figure it out.”
This sounded insane to me. Let my daughter cry? It made me squirm inside. Wasn’t I, as Mom, supposed to step in when someone else was holding her and she started to cry? I pondered it over, but this tiny voice in my head, or maybe my heart, told me that my sister was right. And she was.
I began letting Bodie try to care for her when she was upset. It was new and difficult, and I found myself uneasily pacing around, slipping in a “maybe she is sleepy” here and there, trying not to encroach on his daddying-turf.
In doing so I learned that a) he is an extremely capable parent, b) that Dads have parenting instincts too, and c) I enjoyed my moments alone! They left me feeling refreshed and ready to be super mom when it was my turn again.
Sometimes, he even knows what she wants even better than I do. Sure, I have the invincible mama instinct that everyone speaks so highly of, but when he says to me “Michelle, she just needs you to stop fussing over her” he is usually right.
The take-away? Give Daddy a turn. Don’t push him, don’t overwhelm him, but let him have a turn when he wants. Don’t judge his methods, don’t smother his ways, just let him do what he does best: be daddy.