Let Him Be The Daddy

Originally published March 25, 2009, this is still one of the posts I hold dearest to my heart. Most of you haven’t seen it because you haven’t been around that long. Welcome to New Mommy Help. Put your feet up and experience the beauty of your child’s relationship with his or her daddy.

I was talking to a friend yesterday who told me her husband just couldn’t handle their two kids by himself. Or, maybe it was that he didn’t think he could? Or, was it that she didn’t trust him to handle it well? Doesn’t really matter. It got me thinking. I have heard that from lots of moms and it just doesn’t compute for me.

The first time I left Todd alone with our twins to go to the grocery store, he called me 45 minutes later. I was standing in line at the checkout feeling good to be “alone”. When I answered the call he said, “You have to come home. They won’t stop crying and it’s driving me crazy.” To be fair, I breastfed and the boys were only about 6 weeks old. He felt helpless to calm them. So, I went home. And, a week later I went to get my hair cut. This time I left him some pumped milk he could offer if things got scary. Now, years later, Todd is on his own with all four of our kids without any problems.

Why can’t we moms let go? It seems to me that the underlying issue is fear. “If I don’t do it, it won’t get done right.” Are you afraid of leaving your baby/kids with your husband? Or is he afraid? First, I want to encourage you in this area. You are the mommy. Nobody else can be the mommy except you.

So, let him be the Daddy! He might feed them fruit loops and ice cream for dinner. He may not bathe them or if he does, he may get water in their faces. He just might read them 3 stories instead of exactly two. Does all of that really matter for one day?  Or, maybe he will actually do a lot of things right. Could he actually do something better than you? You’ll never know until  you let him try. Give him some space. The time you spend away will only serve to give you a much deserved break and boost Daddy’s confidence.

What will it do for the relationship between your baby and his daddy? We hear all the time how important it is for a baby to bond with her mother, but what about the bond with daddy?

I’ll be the first to admit that I can be a little controlling when it comes to taking care of my kids. As moms, we all can lean in this direction because it’s what we do. We live each day serving our kids and rightly so. I can give the little ones a bath without getting one drop of water in their eyes. I can make the best oatmeal and tuck them in just right. Even the mistakes I make are sometimes heralded by my kids.

My husband does not do it the way I do. He’s got his own way with our kids. And I love it! Nobody can get a laugh like Daddy in our house. No one can beat him at making funny voices when reading a story. No one can out-dance him. No one can win a tickle war against him. He’s the first one the kids ask to play outside with them. And, best of all, I can leave our house knowing they will be loved and cared for while I’m gone. Notice I didn’t say they will have a good babysitter. A daddy is not a babysitter. He’s a parent.

Are you ready to let go a little? If you are unsure about how things will go, start small. Leave for one hour at a time and then expand the time a little with each outing. If Daddy needs it, give him detailed instructions on schedule, food, sleep, etc. Tell him you know he can do it. He needs to hear your approval and encouragement. One of the most discouraging things you can do to a new daddy is to tell him you don’t trust him with his own children. Even if you haven’t actually said it, maybe your actions and lack of trust speak for themselves. Let him ask questions and make sure you stay by the phone in case he needs you. Take slow steps. It gets easier each time and your confidence (as well as his) will grow too.

Recommended Reading:

Father’s First Steps: 25 Things Every New Dad Should Know

Becoming a Father: How to Nurture and Enjoy Your Family (Sears, William, Growing Family Series.)

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