Lately I’ve found myself falling into one of the classic mummy traps. Picture this, if you will: it’s night-time or the weekend, CJ and I have the pleasure of having Papa M home from work and we’re trying to get something done. CJ is getting a little scratchy and Papa M is getting a bit flustered. Wanting to avert a fully-fledged crisis, I jump in. “Oh, just let me do it” I snap in exasperation. I manage to get the task done quickly and CJ is back to his cheerful self but I’ve got that little grumbly knot inside me whispering “Why do I always have to do everything?”. Papa M is too nice to say it, but he’s probably none too pleased that I’ve made him feel incompetent, especially when he really is an awesome daddy. It becomes a perpetual cycle, because I’m never giving Papa M the chance to learn to do things better. I really needed to do something different.
I’m making a conscious effort to step back. Unless the situation is dire or CJ’s safety is at risk, I’m just giving Papa M his chance to shine. On our recent trip to the Botanical Gardens, I let Papa M take the lead. He took CJ in to change his nappy whilst I found a spot for the car. He fed CJ and I stood in line for ordering lunch. He put CJ in the car and I just stood there (a bit cheeky, I know). We came home minus a change mat (oh, how sad, I’ve just had to order this new change mat wallet) and I had to remind Papa M to put the handle up on the capsule before driving – but we survived! The sad truth of it all is that I think that CJ has far more patience for his daddy; mummy better get it right first time.
I think that sometimes as mums (or primary care-givers, don’t want to get all gender-biased and hetero-normative) we get into the trap of thinking that it is just easier if we do everything, if we fulfill all our little one’s needs. I’m not saying that we can’t (solo mothers definitely have to do this more often than most) but that maybe we shouldn’t. We should be careful that we don’t relegate our partners to a peripheral role and set ourselves up as the gatekeeper to the baby. My dudes have such a good relationship with each other and I want CJ to grow up knowing that he can run to both mummy AND daddy when he needs help.