A month after my first daughter was born, I started worrying more than ever before.
As a typical first-time parent, I asked myself the same monotonous question multiple times a day:
“Is this normal?”
I constantly worried if that spot on my daughter’s leg was normal, if her cough was normal, if the number of times she pooped was normal-you name it.
It got to a point where I started visiting an online Facebook group of 3,000 mothers just to read about other mothers’ same worries and assure myself everything was in fact normal.
It wasn’t until my third or fourth visit to the group that I realized something mind-boggling.
The most common discussion going on between mothers in the group didn’t revolve around how many hours a night their babies were sleeping or how often their babies were pooping.
The conversation revolved around how frustrated they were about their husbands/partners not “helping out” enough.
Then that conversation would oftentimes be followed up with conversations like “I’m worried about leaving the baby with him”, “It stresses me out to leave the baby with him while I shower”, or my favorite “I’m just not ready to leave the baby with him yet”.
Are you serious?
First of all, I found the correlation between the two topics of conversation almost comical. Several times I wanted to step in and start a conversation around the real reason why the majority of those mothers were frustrated, but I knew the conversation would be more impactful here.
Fathers, if your partner/girlfriend/wife has ever complained about you not helping out enough whether it be not changing diapers enough, not watching baby so mom can workout, not watching baby while mom runs errands, or something else, and it’s causing turmoil in your relationship, I want to be the first to step up and tell you something.
It’s most likely not your fault.
I know you’re probably not told that very often. Maybe you’ve never been told that before. But here’s the truth that I’m grateful to be open-minded enough to see. I deeply hope by opening up this conversation, your relationship with your partner will improve.
Let me ask you this, dads:
How often does your partner/wife clearly demonstrate her trust in you?
More specifically, how often does your partner/wife give you the CHANCE to earn her trust?
Us women, or mothers in particular, have an unmistakable desire to control as much as we can. Call it genetics, call it DNA, call it whatever you want – it’s there and I’m willing to admit it. The majority of us love feeling in control.
When it comes to parenting and caring for children, it’s no different. The majority of us want to know our children are fed, happy, cared for, and tended to at all times. We often have trouble trusting anyone else is capable of doing as good a job as us, leading us to not give anyone else a chance to shift such belief.
The problem with this is that we forget there’s one person other than ourselves who’s just as capable of caring for our children as we are.
And that’s you, dad.
You scientifically make up 50% of our offspring, yet for some reason we struggle to believe you’re as capable of caring for them as we are.
So we don’t give you the equal chance you deserve, which leads to us feeling like we’re doing “all the work”, when in reality, we’ve initiated the whole thing.
It’s not your fault we’re frustrated; it’s ours.
I personally realized this after I made the discovery in that Facebook group full of mothers and spoke to my partner about it.
I said to him “I can’t image not trusting you with our children. These women are frustrated at their husbands for not helping out enough, but they’re not LETTING them help because they’re claiming they all of a sudden don’t trust them.”
He flashed me a “yep, that doesn’t surprise me” look, because he knows that’s the nature of women. He knows we’re always trying to control as many parts of life as we can – parenting included.
Dads, what would you do if your wife/partner gave you more freedom to care for the kids? More space to “figure it out” without her hovering over your every move? I bet you’d thrive. I bet your relationship would prosper. I bet you would become closer to your wife/partner and approach parenting as a team forevermore.
Dads, I encourage you to open up a conversation around this and ask your wife/partner for a chance to show her you’re just as capable of caring for the kids as she is. Sometimes all we need is a verbal reminder, and sometimes we don’t even realize we’re the ones holding you back from playing the active parent role we so longingly hope for.
As a mother, I say we owe it to you. You deserve to be given a chance before we become frustrated and place the blame on you for “not helping out enough” when we haven’t even given you a chance to do so.
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