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relinquishing control as a new mum

(16 Posts)
mustardtomango Fri 21-Mar-14 09:06:35

Before I became a parent I used to hear people say how it was hard but incredibly worthwhile, but only now I'm here do I realise part of the hard bit is the constant making of decisions. It's not difficult as such, but just relentless... And all of it matters! (I think). I can't, and don't want, to shirk decision making (does he need calpol? How should we wean? Is this highchair right? Is this trip out too much for him? Etc etc) , but Dh either reverts to me or makes decisions I wouldn't (like playing aeroplanes when he's just eaten / planning trips out without considering feeding needs etc). Dh is fab, and an amazing father, but I don't really feel I get any respite when he contributes to decisions, because I then have to filter his idea through a more sensible lens.

Anyone else feel like that? Realise I probably sound a bit of a control freak, though genuinely I don't think I am... It's just this is our first baby, and I think all this lot counts.

Do I need to chill out and accept this 'good enough' parenting everyone talks about? I'm knackered. Dh is 5.5 months

badidea Fri 21-Mar-14 09:24:26

I'm not a control freak but I get where you're coming from. However, I think with Dads, you have to let them parent in their own style (within reason!) because if you constantly pour cold water on his ideas or point out flaws in his plans, he might just get fed up contributing at all, and that would be sad.

I think, to be honest, you just have to let him ride with an idea and discover the drawbacks himself (e.g. baby vomits on him as he does aeroplanes after a milk feed.....) By all means, point things out regarding trips out (okay, we can do that, but we'll need to think of where to feed, what do you think?) but try not to micromanage as your bloke needs to find his way with his child too and his way may well be different (and in your view inferior :-) to yours, but it's still a valid way to parent as long as no harm is coming to your child.

I find men learn best by making their own mistakes (and not having pitfalls pointed out to them in advance :-D

As for decision-making, it becomes second nature, I really don't think about the millions of decisions I make in a day now, it may seem a bit 'full on' just now, but you do get used to it - honest.

croquet Fri 21-Mar-14 09:25:48

Hi - I know exactly what you mean. Mine is three times as old and I have had to learn that although my way may be more fanatical and better researched on the internet it is not always best and in fact sometimes more stressful for the child. Sometimes they like to fall asleep ad hoc in the pram etc.

Leave DH with the baby sometimes and butt out. I had to do this but also remained fairly adamant about baby needing a nap/lunch etc. Eventually we found a compromise.

But things like worrying about whether high chair is excellent / things are super-clean will stop as the baby gets older and develops a little personality.

croquet Fri 21-Mar-14 09:27:17

I agree with all of badidea's post - let dad learn his own way unless it's dangerous.

vichill Fri 21-Mar-14 09:27:21

great post badidea

whereisshe Fri 21-Mar-14 09:31:08

Are you sure every decision matters that much? If you give calpol and decide later maybe it wasn't necessary, or if you get a highchair that isn't perfect, or if you take him out and he gets overstimulated and howls then it's not really the end of the world. Just change the approach next time. I don't think there is any perfect approach to parenting and you'll just stress yourself out if you try to make the "right" decision about everything.

NorthEasterlyGale Fri 21-Mar-14 09:38:41

I really appreciate what you're saying. We have DS1 (21 months) and DS2 (3 weeks) and I am a control freak! I certainly find myself mentally disagreeing with some of DH's choices and biting my tongue - however, I very rarely say anything unless I'm in a particularly bad mood or my diplomacy filter fails due to lack of sleep!

DH is utterly awesome as a dad and the more I keep my trap shut and sit back and watch him with the boys, the more I appreciate the value he adds to their lives (and mine) by having a different take on things.

As long as we can communicate and agree on the 'big' issues (e.g discipline, education etc) I'm happy for us to parent in our own ways day to day (kind of have to be really as we job share and he does more days at home with them than I do!).

I figure that I've got enough on with parenting my two wee boys without trying to parent their dad and his decisions too, so I try to minimize the stress by not doing it!

mustardtomango Fri 21-Mar-14 09:39:47

I'm so glad it's not just me

Backing off... I can do that. Agree completely about not wanting to get to the point where Dh doesn't contribute, would be so sad. I did suggest to him recently I give them time together and just go out for a walk or whatever, but he wasn't that keen. Perhaps I've already dented his confidence? Or its scary for him, like it was for me alone with the baby initially. Maybe I'll do some casual nipping out/bathing/whatever, and leave a few more things to him. I know Dh worries that the baby will be screaming when I get back and that I'll think badly for that though. Also he gets slightly rabbit in the headlights when I make things his call. Guess it's just a learning process

Like the comment about how super organised & planned isn't always best for the little one, hadn't even considered that

FurryGiraffe Fri 21-Mar-14 09:46:06

Your post has made me smile mustard because I told DH this morning that I'm going on decision making and thinking strike for all things relating to household and baby! DH is a fabulous dad, but just doesn't plan ahead: this morning he took DS (10 months) to nursery wearing a t shirt and with no jumper or coat. He frequently suggests doing things which would result in DS howling for food or miserably tired.

I completely get that dads have to learn to parent in their own style and make mistakes, and I have no desire to be a control freak, but I find it hard to let him make mistakes that involve my child being hungry/cold/tired/covered in nappy rash. But I'm back at work next week and I can't keep doing all the thinking for three people (and two cats!) so I've told him he needs to tune in.

HugoTheHippo Fri 21-Mar-14 10:06:10

OP - I completely get what you mean. My DH is a wonderful, involved father, but I find that I hover about him when he is with DD (7mo) trying to 'help'. Perfect example is bathtime - DH gives DD her bath, but I run the water, check the temp, get out the mat and towels, get the toiletries ready, find her a clean babygrow and nappy and then clean up afterwards. We talked about it the other day and agreed that I need to back off and let him find his own way. It's hard though!

BookABooSue Fri 21-Mar-14 10:22:33

I agree with everyone who says let your dh carry a bit more of the burden. Yes, your dc might cry at first when he is with your dh but I'm pretty sure there will be points in the day when your dc cries when he is with you so don't let your dh use that as an excuse/reason to call you back all the time (even if your dh wants that to happen!).

I really struggled with letting go of some decision making but I used to stop myself from being too controlling by thinking 'will this matter in 2 year's time?' If I was pretty sure I wouldn't even remember that dc was fed a little later or dressed oddly because dh took him out then I would bite my tongue and let dh get on with it.

croquet Fri 21-Mar-14 11:58:01

OP it also depends what kind of dh you have. It sounds like yours quite likes the idea of being second-in-command but simply hopes to be a successful second-in-command rather than constantly in the doghouse/not good enough. If he's happy for you to set the rules, and you're happy with that, then simply praise him lavishly every time he contributes!

This is a bit tongue in cheek, but I can imagine some of my ex-boyfriends (before I got married and had kids) being happy to let me take charge. But not my dh! we both know best

I have found the most important thing is not making feel like you and the baby are a gang with dh left out. When baby goes to sleep make sure you go and sit next to dh and have a glass of wine and say gosh what a long day, that (something he did) really worked etc.

croquet Fri 21-Mar-14 11:58:36

not making it feel

Gerty1002 Fri 21-Mar-14 15:10:12

OP I very much know how you feel.

Hugo I could have written your post myself. About once a week I ask DP to do 6mo DS' bath and bedtime to give me a break and for them to spend time together, but end up doing half the work anyway! I need to step back too as going back to work soon sad.

HugoTheHippo Fri 21-Mar-14 22:30:22

We are starting to transition DD onto some formula and DH gave her her bed time bottle. I was quite proud of myself, as all I did was boil the kettle, sterilise the bottles and get the formula out of the cupboard. I let DH pour the water, measure the powder and even shake and cool the bottle himself (under my close supervision). I only winced a little when he started wiping the condensation from the steriliser off the bottle teat with a manky tea towel...

DirtyDancing Sat 22-Mar-14 20:19:36

I have a 3 month old DS (PFB) & I've done a lot more backing away over the last 2 weeks. DH does bath time & I don't come upstairs until he is finished, i totally leave him to it. Was v hard at first but he's got the hang of it great, he's even taken DS swimming on his own now! I get 2 whole hours to myself & DH confidence has inproved ten fold. Next it's getting DS (who's EBF) to take a bottle of DH (expressed milk) every other night and allow him to put him to bed.

On week 6 DH basically told me he thought, that I thought he wasn't a good dad. I didn't think that, I was just being a control freak. I forgot DS is not 'my' baby but 'our' baby and it was a reality check to be honest cause he doesn't always think the way I do. But he's a great dad!

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