My husband is an incredible father, y’all. He is hands-on, funny, and can fix/make absolutely anything. He is an amazing provider and a fierce protector. Our trio couldn’t love him more, and seeing him with the kids makes me crazier about him all the time.
There is, however, this one thing. For all his virtues, my husband is completely awful at one thing:
He is no good at being me.
I learned this just over thirteen years ago. We were both young and, to various degrees, a little scared of our chubby ginger cherub baby. I have a massive family, so I’d been around smaller kids and babies my entire life. Branden, however, had not. He held his very first newborn just a few months before our son came into the world.
He gamely and nervously cared for Baylor…and I corrected his every move. He made bottles “wrong.” He laid the baby down “wrong.” He put him to sleep “wrong.” The diaper? “Wrong” as well. And I let him know. I mean, it was my job to help, right? I really convinced myself that’s what I was doing.
Maybe it was lack of sleep or a general disregard for the connection between cause and effect, but I was completely shocked when Branden began to just hand everything involving the baby over to me.
It took me way too long to realize that I had made him feel entirely inept at taking care of our son in my first-time mom nervousness. When it finally hit me, it absolutely broke my heart. I saw that he truly felt — because of my
gentle constant criticisms — that he was doing the best thing for Bay to just let me do it. My micromanaging caused both of my guys to miss out on some precious time together because I couldn’t see that our son didn’t need Branden to be another me.
As time went on and my own anxiety and insecurities eased up, I could see how much richer our baby boy’s life became when we could both be ourselves. We brought different things to the table, and they were all important to the well-rounded bringing up of our little one and his future siblings.
I apologized to Branden, got out of his way and watched him be a dad far beyond what I could have ever hoped for our kids. I began picking my battles…and then realized that there were hardly any battles worth picking at all. Baylor, and later his siblings, were never in danger with their dad. He loved them just as much as I do. He would do anything in the world for them, just like I would. Doing it differently, as it turned out, didn’t actually mean doing it wrong at all. In fact, sometimes it was just what was needed. I learned very quickly that I could never be him, either. I learned this yet again when his service with the Navy took him away from us for extended periods of time. Those sweet kiddos sure missed the way Daddy did things, and so did I.