Monday, February 28, 2011

Let him be Daddy...

...sounds so simple, easy, and natural, right? I mean, you love a man, marry him, have kids, of COURSE you want him to be there for them as their daddy!! But I don't think it's always that easy for some of us.

We as moms are some of the most protective people in the world!! There's NOTHING we wouldn't do to protect our kids!!! I think that with a very few exceptions most moms in the world would willingly die - if necessary - to keep our children safe! That's kind of extreme, but that same care and protection carries over into the little, mundane, day-to-day areas of our kids' lives....are they bundled up enough to go out in the cold safely? Did they put something dangerous in their mouths? Are the older kids playing too roughly with them? On and on.

It's part
of our job as mothers to watch over our children and protect them in all these ways, but I think sometimes we take it too far...and an area we need to be especially careful in is protecting our kids from their daddies. I understand that some kids are in horrible
living situations and NEED to be protected from their fathers, but I'm talking about the little things. He's taking over're hovering near the door making sure he checked to make sure the water isn't too hot or cold, the soap isn't in the baby's eyes, he's not taking his eyes off the baby for a second, etc. He wants to spend some daddy/baby time keep checking to make sure the baby's dressed warmly enough, he's not letting the dog lick it's face, he's watching to make sure the baby isn't eating dirt or poisonous berries, etc. I think you get the idea.

The point is, I think we as moms tend to act like we have the monopoly on protecting our little ones, and that the dads need as much babysitting as the babies! They need to feel that THEY are also responsible for the safety and welfare of THEIR children! If they know that no matter what they do, you're going to be right there keeping an eye on them, they're going to feel like you don't trust them.

In my opinion, even worse than "hovering" is correcting. I know I've been guilty of this...not only do I keep asking questions to make sure everything is being done safely, I correct my husband if he's doing something "wrong" (translation - not necessarily "wrong," just not the way I would do it). If we're constantly giving dads the feeling that they're not good enou
gh to be trusted with their own children, or that we don't approve of their parenting methods, they will pull back defensively and just leave us to parent as we see fit...WITHOUT them. That's the LAST thing we want, right??!! I mean, we've already agreed that INVOLVED dads are the goal! But what if OUR attitudes or actions are what's keeping them from BEING involved (whether we mean it that way or not).

I think I'm pretty laid back as a mom, but I still catch myself either watching over things while Daniel & Kaleigh are together, or telling him what he's doing wrong with her. It's not that I don't trust him, it's just that I get used to things being done a certain way. I realized quite awhile ago that I tend to do this, so I've tried to loosen up and just ignore them when Daniel's taking care of Kaleigh. I KNOW that he knows what he's doing, I TRUST her with him COMPLETELY, so I've just decided to let him BE her daddy, even if he washes her hair differently than I do, or brings her home a little greasy and muddy from the farm, or lets her sip Mt. Dew once in awhile. When I catch myself about to say something to him, I stop and think, is this really worth it? Once in awhile there IS something important that I need to make him aware of, but I try to do it in a kind, informative way, so he doesn't feel like I don't trust him with his own daughter.

My mom and I actually talked about this before our daughters were born, and I really appreciated her sharing this thought with me early on. I think having this in the back of my mind has really been good for our family!! The longer we go, the less I even think about it when Daniel's in charge of Kaleigh. I understand that we're different people, so we're going to do things differently. However, I completely trust Daniel not to do anything that would jeopardize Kaleigh's safety or well-being, so I don't worry about the little differences in our parenting styles.

I'm really rambling on...I hope this is making sense to you! I guess what I'm trying to say is this: I LOVE watching my husband and my daughter together!!! I LOVE the way they love each other and want to spend time together. I don't want to do anything to damage the precious relationship they have, and I'm very thankful that I've backed off on things along the way that didn't really matter, but that could have hurt Daniel's confidence to just BE a daddy!! I know that not all of you are going to have a problem in this area, but it was just something I was thinking about and wanted to share. :)


  1. Thanks for sharing Rachel. :) This isn't something I have to think about right now, but I'm really grateful you shared your thoughts so I can file them away in my heart for later.
    God bless!
    Cara C
    PS - my mum found a really amazing looking lemon recipe this week and I thought of you right away. Wish we lived a little closer so I could make a batch and bring them over. :)

  2. I read about this recently in a book called "Date night in the Mini Van" and the author refers to this as "maternal gatekeeping". It's a good thing to remember when we as moms tend to get a bit too much on the "my way is the only/right way" thing!