New moms, if you haven’t figured it out by now, I’ll be the one to break the news: your husband is not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to caring for babies. A Baby Whisperer he is not. He can’t calm the cries as quickly; his swaddling skills are sub-par; he fastens diapers as if he’s not sure what part of the body they are supposed to be protecting. But I’m here to tell you something that might sound absolutely insane to you:
It’s time to let the new daddy fail. Let him use the bath lotion instead of shampoo on baby’s hair, let him forget the pacifier and sing the theme to “Monday Night Football” instead of the tune you’ve already established is Junior’s “favorite” lullaby. Think I’m crazy? Here are 5 reasons why you should let your man put the diapers on backwards–and other new-daddy sins.
1. Because you don’t want to be the only one who changes the diapers–forever.
If you convince your husband he’s incompetent at changing diapers, you win the grand prize of changing diapers, all by yourself, from infancy to toddlerhood. Yay, you! Show him where you keep the diapers and wipes, gently explain why Bordeaux’s Butt Paste is your baby’s best friend, then push him out of the nest. Enjoy a calming cup of tea while he wrestles with the mess and the madness. Before long, he’ll be schooling you on how tightly fastened the diaper ought to be. Same goes for bathing the baby, feeding the baby, playing with the baby: let him find his groove, and become confident.
2. Because you don’t want to become “the old ball-and-chain.”
Once upon a time, you and your husband were madly in love. You giggled and cuddled and called each other “sweetie.” Now? Not so much. I remember getting absolutely furious at my husband for not paying attention to the vegetables-first-then-fruits order of introducing solids to our oldest child. (“Apples??? You fed him apples??? He didn’t even eat green beans yet!”). This kind of behavior is completely natural for any stressed out, sleep-deprived new mother, but “natural” does not mean it’s great for your relationship. Go back to being friends and lovers; you’ll watch together in amazement when your baby eats the apples before the beans–and lives to tell the tale.
3. Because he’s your partner in crime–so let him be your partner in grime.
Your playgroup girlfriends know how hard it is to spend all day feeding and diapering a tiny baby because they’ve been there in the trenches with you. Your husband, on the other hand, will have absolutely no idea how draining and difficult this is if you never give him a chance to co-parent. Once he’s been initiated with a few projectile vomiting and explosive diaper incidents, he will indeed be grateful for everything you do and what an amazing mother you are. And the next time the baby pukes, he’ll be the one who runs to get the disinfecting wipes.
4. Because you need to sleep, shower and use the bathroom.
If you’re always on-call, 24/7, you won’t be able to take care of any basic bodily functions without intervention from an unplanned nap. Let Daddy take over and you’ll not only be able to shower and nap””you might even be able to (dare we say it) leave the house. Get a manicure! Have a glass of wine with your friends. None of these actions will result in your removal from the Mommy Hall of Fame, we promise!
5. Because your baby is lucky to have such a loving father.
You do so much for your baby. After 9 months of a careful, healthful pregnancy, you endured childbirth, the breastfeeding growth curve and sleeplessness–all for the sake of your baby’s wellbeing. So give up one more thing: complete control of parenting. Let the new daddy take over whenever he can. Your baby will have a much more involved, committed–and yes, even more competent father as a result. It’s a win-win-win for all three of you!