Monday, March 7, 2016

How to Get Daddy to Watch the Baby

Sometimes mommy needs some time off. Spending an entire day catering to other people's needs (in particularly short, whiny people known as children) can blow the circuits of the most sane and patient one of us. Just like overtired children, overtired mommies can have tamper tantrums and it can be a terrifying sight. So, for the sake of everyone's well-being, it is important for mommy to have some time to herself once in a while.

Enters Daddy. He is seen as the light in the end of the tunnel, the knight in shining armor meant to save the damsel in distress from the little three foot tall monsters (aka children) and set her free. She rushes to him when he opens the door with the baby in her arms and panic and relieve in her eyes.

And what does the knight do?
He retires to the bathroom for 45 minutes and the damsel is left to save herself...

You may think it's dad's responsibility to be their for his kids and all duties at home should be shared 50/50. But let's be honest, that's not always the case, especially when it comes to smaller children. It is harder for men to connect with a baby because they simply don't have the same chemistry we do.

So how do you get Daddy to take the baby off your hands? Let's try to figure it out:

1. Show them they can do it! Whether they admit it or not, some men are scared of crying babies. For them, the crying is a cue to find mommy. Your job is to show them that they can manage it on their own. The crying can get frustrating so remind them that babies have few basic needs - they can be hungry, thirsty, tired, bored or need a diaper change (I called it "troubleshooting the baby") Then, allow them to figure out how to meet those needs. (Yes, your husband can put your baby to sleep without you if you let them!) Give them a chance to bond, and over time they will get better at understanding each other.

2. Let them be. This is very important. If you are leaving your child with your significant other, put some trust in your spouse. Don't check up on them every 15 minutes, stop watching the baby monitor and resist the urge to write down a 14 page dos and don't of taking care of our precious little one. It's OK if your toddler has cupcakes for breakfast one day or if they go for drive instead of going to the park like you usually do. Let daddy do things his way. They both will be fine. Cut the cord. 

3. Make it fun. Hanging out with children isn't a chore or a drag. But sometimes adults can forget that. Luckily, we live in a country where there is every toy imaginable on the market. Remember, that most men are kids at heart, so get them something fun to play with. And don't worry too much if they destroy the house in the process :) Here are some ideas for both kids and dads:

4. Enroll the baby. Nothing melts my husband's heart like our son running to the door to greet him after work. When someone is that excited to see you, it's hard to say no. Use this perfect timing to slip away ;)

5. Appreciate. A simple and sincere thank you can go a long way. Appreciate that your husband is there, that he spends time with your child and loves his family. Make sure he knows it and it will encourage him to be an involved and engaged parent.

6. Join in the fun. Sometimes you feel like you really need to get away for a little bit, but what you are really craving is a change of scenery. Spending quality time with your family can be just that. To make it easier on yourself, ask your beloved to plan an outing and get the family ready. Do something fun like visiting a zoo, going to a kids play or a water park. Shut off your cell phones, don't supervise but participate and spend the day laughing and watching your kids having a great time. I guarantee you, you will all come home happy and relaxed in the end of the day!
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