One mom watches her husband transform into a dad without even realizing it.
Exchanging his first name for “dad” was the easiest part of my husband’s transition into becoming a father. He says fatherhood is a “fake it ‘til you make it” kind of thing. It’s intimidating for a father to watch the mother of his child connect with the baby so quickly, even while the child is still in the womb. Dads don’t have the assistance of hormones and maternal emotions that swell the moment the baby is born. Instead, most dads are fumbling around hoping they don’t drop the baby or say the wrong thing. He tried to find his place between the nursing, swaddling, changing, and comforting of a new mom and baby. As exhausted as I was, I was gripping the reigns so tightly and feared my husband couldn’t do everything that I was doing in the same way.
That was my first mistake. I had to understand and respect that his relationship with our child was not going to be the same as mine. As an infant, their relationship was reduced to bottles, diapers, silly faces and dancing around the house. When our child started crawling, he would set up goal markers and obstacle courses accompanied by belly laughs and ridiculous baby talk. Then as the walking started, they would do piggyback rides, wear matching sunglasses and make fun of their hairlines. Even now they have special games they like to play before bedtime.
He is easing into his roles of fun dad and serious dad. Now he can put her down for a nap in less than five minutes with just a look, and if she’s testing us, he will shift into his stern dad voice to settle her. And she listens. From the beginning, he wasn’t great with the practical aspects of fatherhood, but as the months and years pass I see him growing into the role as a father and see him creating a special bond with our child that only a dad could master.
As a mom and wife, the best thing for me to do is give them space to develop their relationship. My husband figures out what our child needs from him and he provides it in his own way. In hindsight, I should have given him more opportunities to prep her food, apply sunscreen, dry her tears, make play dates and more. If I wasn’t such a control freak right off the bat, they could have jumpstarted their bond. Or maybe it’s unraveled just how it’s supposed to. The kids and I can attest that my husband has earned his “dad” title. He is their protector and jester; they are his pride and joy. Watching them together is a reward in itself, and I can’t wait to witness their bond continue to grow.