When I came home a few nights ago, my husband told me that while I was gone our son had tried to kill himself by falling off the changing table. My husband had turned around to grab pajamas out of a laundry basket, and the next thing he knew, the baby was on the floor.
Despite the baby being uninjured, my mind instantly kicked into lecture-the-husband mode. After all, his neglect had resulted in what could have been a fatal accident. But then I realized something: this baby was also his child, and he felt terrible about what had happened.
Mothers, do we sometimes forget that our husbands are parents, too?
This article was a wake-up call for me. I realized I had been treating my husband like a babysitter — leaving him with instructions every time he watched our child and expecting him to do everything myway.
So, I've decided to stop. Here is my five-step pledge for letting my husband be the kind of parent he is (since he's just as capable as me) and changing the way things are done in our home.
1. I will let it go
My first step is to let my husband do things his way and not be so bothered by it. Does it really matter if my son is dressed in something other than what I would have put him or if he has toast for breakfast instead of oatmeal? No, it doesn't.
2. I will go out more
My second step is to give my husband more time to bond with his son and learn how to be a dad. I sometimes feel bad when I go out for the evening, or when I run errands on a Saturday because my husband is home alone with the baby. I shouldn't. He's just as much my son's parent as I am, and I shouldn't feel like I'm leaving the baby with a babysitter every time I go out.
3. I won't ask for a full rundown when I return
My third step is to stop asking about what the baby ate or played with or how many times his diaper was changed as soon as I get home. I think it sends the message that I don't trust my husband when I ask him about every detail of went on while I was gone. I only tell him about noteworthy stuff when he gets home, so why should I need to know everything when I come home? If the baby is fine, I don't need to know all the details.
4. I will let my husband make mistakes as he discovers how to parent
My fourth step is to apply the idea that we learn best from experience to my husband's parenting. He can learn for himself what works and what doesn't. My husband now knows from experience that he can't turn his back on the baby when he's on the changing table. And he will learn other things as well.
5. I will celebrate the things that make us different
And finally, I will remember that each mom and dad parent differently. I should be happy that my husband does things differently than I do, because our son and future children will have the opportunity to learn, grow and develop in diverse ways based on those differences in parenting styles.
So that's my pledge. This may be a bit of a change and transition for us, but I'm really going to try. I think all three of us will be better off in the long run. I hope that other mothers will learn from my mistakes and try to let their husbands be their own kind of dads, too.