Hey there new mama. I see you there, with your fresh new baby in your arms. Listening to the sounds of her sweet baby breath. Tracing the outlines of his tiny, perfect lips. Breathing in all the new baby smells. Covering every last inch of that little one with kisses. Marvelling that this tiny being was inside your body only weeks, days, or even just hours ago. Wanting to soak up all this newness and beauty, and not miss a second of it. Wanting to show the world that you are the Mama, and you can do this!
Becoming a mother is beautiful and hard and messy and miraculous and overwhelming and a million other things all at once. It can leave you wanting to keep it all for yourself. Or feeling like you’re the only one who can do all the mom stuff right. Or that you should be able to do it right. After all, the mothering instinct just comes naturally, right? So they say.
Sometimes being a new mom creates this overwhelming need to control your environment. To make sure everything is perfect. And done right. No one can do it as well as you can. And man, can that be exhausting.
So let me tell you about a gift you can give your partner.
What?!? You’re the one who just gave birth, right? You’re the one who has done all the hard work. Shouldn’t he be the one showering you with gifts? Yes, and you can read more about that here.
There is still one particular gift that you can give to him. A gift that has the potential to help him become the amazing dad you know he is. Here it is: Let him do stuff.
Like, real stuff. For the baby. We’re talking bathing, changing, burping, rocking to sleep, settling a fussy baby. On his own. Without you looking over his shoulder. Let him figure it out. He can, and he will.
Tell him you have confidence in his abilities. New dads want to take care of their babies, but they can often worry that they don’t know how, or that they can’t do it as well as you can (you might think this too). It’s ok if he does it differently than you. He will figure it out.
New Moms Can't Do It All
Letting Dad grow into his new role will not only be transformational for him, it will help your baby bond with him, and will give you the break you need. Because you can’t do it all. Just in case you skimmed over that, let me say it again. You. Cannot. Do. It. All. Nor should you. Taking care of a newborn is not a one-person job.
I remember having to hold myself back from wanting to micro-manage everything my husband did with our new baby. I didn’t want to miss a single thing, even a dirty diaper was something I had to know all the details of. What I now know was that the need for me to be involved in every moment was part of my fear of being The Bad Mom. I’m the mom. I should be the one doing this.
The best part of taking a small step back and letting my husband be the awesome dad he is? Watching the man I love become a father was one of the best moments of my life. Truly. Not only did he show up and become an amazing dad, I got the break I needed when recovering from birth. I got to witness a side of him that I hadn’t seen before. And it was worth it!
So Mama, take a deep breath. Hand him the baby. Tell him he can do it. And go take that shower you’ve been longing for.
If the thought of being away from your baby to even take a quick shower sends you over the edge, it might be a sign that anxiety is interfering with your life. I’d love to talk with you about how therapy can help you.