Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Blissfully Domestic: Leaving the kids with Dad

I really like reading the blog over at Blissfully Domestic its one of my morning reads. Recently, their article was about giving dad his own time with the kids. Which was a lesson I had to learn very early or go insane. When we only had Emma, the poor guy had never been left alone with her, not because I didn't trust him, but somehow I got the notion in my head that it was my "job". Plus I was a little hyper involved. (Yes dear, I am willing to admit this now), with just one child, I was able to handle it, I didn't need the help and I knew he had been working hard. I mistakenly thought I was doing something "nice" for him.

When I had Chloe, the scales tipped. Immediately pregnant with John, caring for a newborn, and a 2 year old, all of a sudden, I needed him. I needed him desperately and fully trained RIGHT NOW. Sounds fair right? This also coincidentally was a hard part of our marriage. I needed help desperately, but I hadn't trained him to help me (I don't mean that in an insulting way). I had blown past him and prevented him from having the same experience I had. Whenever he had tried to help, I would have taken over. He hadn't had the opportunity to do his own trial and error.

Removing him from the "thick of the fray" also meant that he couldn't really empathize, he hadn't experienced the same things. Now I have to say at the outset Brian has never ever intentionally criticized my mothering skills or housekeeping abilities. But he would make "suggestions" trying to be "helpful". Even though they came from a good place, it made me crazy, it was like Monday morning quarterbacking to me. But in a sense, it was my own fault. Of course he was able to calmly evaluate the situation from an outside perspective..... Duh Jen!

Giving him his own time with the kids, without me legislating that he follow all the usual rules or do it my way, has had an awesome effect on us for the better. All of the above changed, the kids got to bond with Dad in an entirely different way. In their own way, without me being any part of it. I learned to butt out and realized that my way isn't better, its just different. The kids need a Dad who will feed them ice cream for breakfast, let them dress in their summer clothes during winter, go without brushing their hair, wear mismatched shoes and socks. He has taught them how to play fun games, how to run until they practically fly, how to play video games, and how much fun it is to be tickled until you almost wee yourself.

At the same time, leaving him with all the kids in full trust has given him a glimpse into what my days are like. What its like to try to fix a meal when everyone is in full whine mode, or how much fun it is to clean a room only to have the children follow after you messing it up. I think it has been a big huge plus for us all around.

I have to thank Keeling over at Confessions of a Mommy Blogger for giving me two bloggy awards. Check her out. She has some pretty great tips and the cutest family ever. Thank you!!! There is a whole ceremony associate with these that I will do in the next post!


Heather said...

Hmmm, I have had issues myself with being able to "let go and let Dad" :) I still have to work on stepping back and letting them do it Dad's way. With the new little one arriving in September, however, I am working on that. Giving Dad his due time with the kid(s), so that bond becomes stronger without my 'butting' in. Thanks for the post - as always, insightful.

Jennifer said...

You know, I didn't put a timeline, but I think it took me a good two years to internalize this idea. I love the "let go and let dad" that would have been the perfect title.

Carrie in Texas said...

this is a great post. very true. I was glad to "train" up dave to help care for the babies but my problems is I am fine with lettinggo and letting Dad... until he wants to leave the house with them alone! Then the anxiety sets in! FEAR.

I am MUCH much better at this now!

Rob said...

Great post Jenn!

I particularly like the part where you said a mom's or dad's way of doing things isn't really right or wrong, but just different approaches. I heart that a lot. I know I've stressed my darling out more than once by teaching differently :) But I'm glad she gives me the chance.

Brian and I are lucky guys indeed to have ladies that give us two Dads a chance to make mistakes and get messy, alongside the kiddos :)