Leaving my kids for 4 days for my own agenda kinda set that in motion. Yup. I am happily boarded a plane at 5:30am to fly across the country for ME. I worried about connecting flights. I worried about forgetting my passport (oh I went out of the country even). I worried how I could get ever waking second out of my trip without being wrecked by jet lag (still struggling, mind you). But I never worried about my kids with their dad. Not one damn second. Yes, I am lucky to have a partner who doesn’t falter at the thought of solo parenting but I also think my attitude about it from day 1 has helped.
Step 1: Let Him Do It His Way
Kevin is an amazing dad. There is no question about it. But ya know part of that knowledge came from me letting him. From the minute Landon was born, I let him do it his way. He changed diapers different. He soothed differently. He was/is quicker to react to things than me. It is what it is. That is the man I married and he is doing an awesome job.
I hear moms doubting dad from day 1 sometimes. I get that it takes some time to get in that groove but when the kid is 3 and you can’t bear the thought of leaving him home while you go to the grocery store alone? It’s a problem. This then usally builds animosity towards dad. “I never get a break” is the mommy martyr cry but when you start suggesting time alone, you are met with “well I just can’t do that. He doesn’t know how”. Just like the kid, how is he supposed to know if you don’t let him?
Step 2: Embrace the Difference
Just because the kids like when daddy does donuts in the grocery store parking lot doesn’t mean you need to do the same things. Create your own bonding. Just because Johnny likes the way Daddy reads green eggs and ham doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. Put on your big girl panties and enjoy the fact that your kid is having these memories with their dad.
I will pepper this with don’t let one parent just be the “fun” one while the other disciplines. Ya gotta be on that same page.
Step 3: Stop Thinking Dadding is a Burden
I will admit I have a hard time with this one sometimes. I think it is built in mom guilt. I will find myself WAY overthinking going to do something and leaving Kevin with the kids. Like I need to make up for it. Then I slap myself and say “NOPE”. My classic paraphrased quote is marriage is not 50/50 and not tit for tat. It’s being able to pull 80% when they can only pull 20% and trusting that can do that same for you. I have to rely on Step 2 to help me through this one sometimes. I think of all the cool things they can do without me. Sometimes that’s Home Depot errands where they come home with LEDs and watch batteries to make night lights or buying hungry hungry hippos on a whim when I am gone for 4 days. Even Kevin has to tell me sometimes “it’s fine! Go!” and I come home to dance parties and Ollie cleaning the floor. SCORE.
Once again, he is their DAD not the BABYSITTER. You need alone time just as much as him. Talk about this and make it work or you will make yourself crazy. A healthy relationship is being able to voice when you need a break and the other party stepping up for it. Don’t just bottle up the frustration. TALK, DAMMIT!