This one is for the moms and moms-to-be out there. For this post, just to make the writing easier and clearer, I’ll assume that “he” (the non-mother) is Baby’s father. You can customize this for your own situation.
Last week’s post urged him to become a competent caregiver.
Today, I want to make sure that you’re willing to let him.
“Of course I’m willing to let him! Are you crazy? Why would I not want him to be competent at taking care of Baby?”
I’m glad to hear it. Let’s dive in.
Many new mothers are protective of their new babies. That’s good. There are a lot of dangerous things in the world, and babies are, well, a bit helpless. If things aren’t ideal for Baby, Mom is going to fix it, no matter what it takes.
Almost all the time, this is a good thing.
Once in a long while, though, it’s not. Especially when it comes to someone else taking care of Baby. Sometimes, dads do things differently than moms. Sometimes those differences are mistakes (for example, abruptly opening a baby boy’s diaper all the way), and sometimes they aren’t. Sometimes they’re dangerous (for example, leaving Baby unattended on the changing table), and sometimes they aren’t.
Now, if you see Dad doing something dangerous, it’s okay to make sure Baby is safe, then talk about safety. By all means.
If you see Dad making a non-dangerous mistake, he might appreciate you suggesting why it’s a mistake (“did you know the sudden cold air can make Baby pee?”). Keep in mind that experiencing the consequences of a mistake is a much faster way to learn than being told.
If you see Dad doing something that’s just different, let it go. Yes, Baby looks goofy with that green shirt and those different-shade-of-green pants. Yes, those are from entirely different outfits. Yes, I know. And yes, you can tell anyone who asks that Dad dressed Baby today.
Different ways of doing things that don’t matter–and except for safety and health, most of it doesn’t matter–is okay. If you want him to become a competent caregiver, especially if he’s a baby rookie, give him the chance to make some mistakes and learn. It’s okay to offer advice and suggestions, but don’t scold or mother him.
Laugh at the outfits he picks out, shake your head at his strange ways of doing things, respect his growing competence, and enjoy having someone that you can trust with Baby.