When we look back at the first year of our daughter’s life, my husband and I often discuss the different ways in which we did things. My husband tells me that parenting came more naturally to me than it did to him. I think most husbands probably say the same thing. I think mentally the mom just has an edge up on preparation simply because she’s carried a life for nine months. Reality sets in earlier for us. The connection happens before birth. For some dads, the reality doesn’t strike until the baby is here, and often even after. It is a daunting task for both moms and dads to suddenly have a life to take care of. Often, daddy ends up defaulting to mama as the lead and just follows suit. It is important, however, to encourage dad to get involved as early as possible. Here are some ways in which to do so:
1. Let daddy figure it out
Moms have to figure out how to put on a diaper, how to calm their crying child, and how to get their baby to nap. Dads are not exempt from these actions. It is important to let dad troubleshoot the situation just as you have done. Leave the room on occasion and let dad handle things. I promise, no one will get hurt and dad will figure everything out in his own way!
2. Let daddy do it his way
It’s easy to tell dad what to do and how to do it. Moms do this without thinking twice, and without ill intention. We’ve figured out what works, so why not share the info? Sometimes this is great, but don’t do it so often that dad feels like he needs you around and needs to be told what to do. If you correct him too often, he may just give up and stop helping as much. Let him take ownership and do it his way. His way may be different, but it is not incorrect.
3. Offer words of encouragement
Notice when he does something well and tell him! Tell him he’s doing great. Tell him how much you love him. Tell him how much you need his support (everyone likes to feel needed). And tell him what a great dad he is. Encouragement will keep him positive and keep him involved.
Remember that it’s OK if your baby’s outfit isn’t a perfect match. It’s OK to let dad take the reins and to go take a nap or a much needed shower. It’s OK to let go and let dad take over for a bit. He will feel more comfortable and help more if he doesn’t have someone looking over his shoulder at his every move. Dad and baby will be just fine. And you need a break! You can breathe, mama!
*This post is sponsored by vitaMedMD, a division of TherapeuticsMD. I received compensation in exchange for writing this article. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own and I do not have any relationship to the companies or brands I suggest.