The moment you see your child for the first time, you’re flooded with an indescribable love. The first several months of your child’s life involve you feeding her every couple hours, changing her, cuddling her, burping her, etc. But, even if you have the most helpful of husbands, getting them to be really involved can be challenging – especially if you’re breastfeeding, or if you’re a stay-at-home mom and your husband works. It might feel like a lot of work to determine how to involve your husband, so we’ve done the work for you!
From babyhood and into the teenage years, figuring out how to involve your husband in raising your children is something that might not just happen on its own. The relationship between your husband and child is something that you can nurture and help along.
Here are some great ways to get Dad involved in the circus, inspired by a great article from Mom365.
- Give Him an Important Daily Task (or Several!)
A lot of times, Dad will come home to you, Super Mom, doing your thing with the kids and he’ll genuinely want to help, but not know what to do. This happened with my first child. I breastfed for 13 months, so my husband had a hard time truly bonding with my daughter until after she was weaned. If you breastfeed, take it from me and get your husband to do a feeding of pumped milk every night (once breastfeeding has been well established – after about two weeks). Maybe have him be the bath time/bed time guy. Incorporate him into the routine you have with your children and it will naturally help them to form a bond. As your child gets older, continue to nurture the father-child relationship by suggesting he take part in what he can – whether that be reading the bedtime storybook or singing the nighttime song.
- Don’t Set Him Up for a Crisis
It’s natural and very tempting to hand baby/toddler/child/teen off to Dad when things get rough. After all, you’ve been managing meltdowns all day. It’s his turn, right? Well…here’s the thing. If Dad’s been gone all day, and all he gets to do is deal with the stressful side of parenting, he will get frustrated and so will your child. Do your best to involve your husband in the pleasant parts of parenting.
- Don’t Hover
Don’t be that mom. As tempting as it is to step in and show your husband that rinsing the baby’s hair in the bathtub is 100 times easier if you do swoosh-woosh-cradle move you’ve perfected, micromanaging every interaction he has with his children is sure to discourage him from further involvement. Let Daddy do things his own way.
- Get Off Your High Horse
Yes, you’re Mom. Yes, you may spend more time with the kids at home. Yes, you’ve got that whole maternal thing going for you. But, if you get all high and mighty and patronize your husband for the way he parents, you will drive a wedge between not only you and him, but also him and your children. Your husband is your partner, so treat him that way. Look at your own (awesome as they may be) parenting skills with a humbler set of eyes and try to view parenting as an experience that you can learn and improve on together.
- Encourage Quantity Time
I recently heard someone say that parenting is all about Quantity Time. Quality time is a treasure, of course, but it doesn’t happen on its own or when you want it to. You really can’t have those special “bonding moments” with your children if you’re not spending large chunks of mundane time with them. Remind your husband of this and facilitate chunks of quantity time for them to spend with your kids.
When you’re a mom, it can be easy to fall into the unhealthy pattern of making the child rearing your domain, but if you do this, you’ll never get to witness the beautiful relationship that your children can have with their father and it will put a strain on your marriage. Do your best to treat your spouse as a teammate in this parenting endeavor and everybody wins.