It’s Hard to Let My Husband Parent His Way
I am a “make lists, stick to the routine, and read a million parenting books” type of mom. I have a plan for everything. As the primary caregiver of our kids, I am used to having control (and I like being in control). This unfortunately has turned me into the parent who thinks I have all the answers, or at least that my way is the best way to raise our children.
Early on, I got into the habit of telling my husband how to handle the kids, from bedtime routines to what they should eat and play. I often found myself blurting out “what are you doing!?” as I tried to redirect his parenting style to fit my own. I was micromanaging and it was taking a toll on everyone, including myself.
One day, as I was feeling resentful for having to “do it all” because I felt like my husband wasn’t contributing, I realized that I had taken over control of every task that day. My husband had helped less because I was disempowering him at every turn, taking over and doing things my way.
I realized I was treating my husband like a child. I don’t want, nor do I need a third child right now. And he certainly does not want or need me turning our relationship into some weird power struggle as I try to maintain control of him and our kids. To be clear, my husband can be a bit of a child at times, but he was like this before we had children of our own so it’s not all my fault (but that is a whole other article).
Hard as it was, and it still is, I started to let him do things his way. The best way for me to do this was to simply leave the room. Whenever I wanted to intervene or give advice, I kept myself busy in another part of the house. This not only helped me stay quiet, but also prevented my kids from looking to me for all the answers. I also tried to leave the house more by myself, so he and the girls were able to develop their own way of doing things that worked best for them.
Rather than judge, I started to learn from how my husband chose to parent. And what he taught me was how to chill out a little and take a more relaxed approach to parenting.
For example, it used to drive me nuts when my husband was in charge of bedtime because our toddler would go to bed late after talking her dad into reading extra books. Once I backed off, I was able to realize those extra few minutes were not detrimental to her sleep and that they both benefited from a little bonus time together. Now bedtime feels a lot more fun for me because I am more relaxed rather than frantically pushing our kids to meet some arbitrary bedtime.
Now, when I hear my child throw a tantrum in the next room, I don’t rush in to comfort her my way, but allow my husband the space to do it his way. I bite my tongue when he is taking care of the girls and chooses to let them watch a movie rather than take them to the park. When he sneaks our toddler chocolate chips after dinner, I look the other way. When he is in charge of bath time and chooses to do it less often than I would, I let it go. Because, at the end of the day, it’s just not that big of a deal.
I choose to do less now because I lean on my husband more for help, which he is happy to do (especially when I don’t tell him how to do it). Rather than get caught up in worrying about how something is getting done, I am just grateful it is getting done and I am not having to do it.
It has taken me months to learn to let go and control less, and I will always be a work in progress. I admittedly still think my way is best most of the time, but I have learned to fade back so my husband can shine more because he is an amazing dad, even though he does occasionally feel like my third child.