As you experience the joy, frustrations, pressures, and fears of being a new mom, oftentimes there's a dad who shares the same joy, frustrations, pressures, and fears that you do. Additionally, he's trying to find his way and solidify his identity as a father. He wants to be helpful, he wants to be nurturing, and he wants to love his new baby.
Dad asks if mom can express breast milk into a bottle so he can feed the baby, but she declines. Mom hovers over dad like a hawk while he changes the baby's diaper to ensure it's done "correctly." Mom gives dad a 10-minute briefing on the importance of head/neck support for the baby during bath time.
You get the idea.
Does every new mom act this way? Of course not; but I've lost count of the number of dads who've reached out to me, since I started blogging, just to vent about this issue. One dad told me that his desire to be a father has waned significantly due to his girlfriend's incessant micromanaging. Another dad expressed that he's so unhappy with his wife's parenting critiques that they're currently in counseling in hopes to save their marriage. The constant second-guessing, fear of messing up, and feeling like an idiot on a daily basis becomes too much to take. Whenever I ask these men what their partners can do to make it better, the answer is always the same: "Just let me do my thing."
My wife is similar to most moms in the sense that she's not a demon hell-bent on crushing the spirits of new dads all over the world; she just wants what's best for her kids. But there were plenty of times when I had to remind her in no uncertain terms that, "I got this." Because (you guessed it), dads want what's best for our kids, too.
Most men would agree that the best gift new moms can give is to let them be dads in their own way. Yes, these dudes will make boneheaded mistakes as parents (I know I do), but guess what, moms? So will you. Unless the baby's life is in danger or there's serious risk of injury, please back up and let him connect with his child. The world needs more men who are intrinsically motivated to be great daddies, not fewer.
The best part about letting a dad be a dad? The bond he will form with his little one will be impenetrable, he will be a more engaged partner, and most of all – he'll be happy. That's a gift that keeps on giving, and your family will reap the benefits.
Doyin Richards is an author, blogger, public speaker, husband, and daddy dedicated to creating a world of good, involved fathers. His first book, Daddy Doin' Work: Empowering Mothers To Evolve Fatherhood
Image: Courtesy of Doyin Richards