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Hi Everyone! For the next few days or so I am going to have several guest blogger posts for you to read while I am out having my little girl, and recovering. I truly hope you enjoy reading each and every one!
I remember coming home from the hospital after our first child was born. We were figuring out how to do all of those new parenting tasks, and I remember standing in the doorway to our nursery, watching my husband change our daughter’s diaper.
One thought crossed my mind as I watched him:
He’s doing it wrong.
And he was. When he picked her up off the changing table, her little Pampers Swaddler slid down a bit, showing just how loose it was.
Everything in me wanted to tell him he was doing it wrong, that the diapers needed to be snug around the waist. A week before she was born, I had offered to demonstrate a proper diaper change for him, but he said he had it. He would learn how to change diapers when the time came.
As one of seven children, I was pretty familiar with babies, but I still treated my pregnancy like I treated graduate school. It was one giant 9 month long cram session. But that’s not my husband’s style. He learns by doing. He’s capable and intelligent, and if it’s his first time changing the timing belt in our car or replacing the hot water heater, he will figure it out and do it properly, even if it takes him a while. Diapers? He would learn when he needed to. I wanted him to learn ahead of time.
And here he was, doing it wrong.
For once in my life, I kept my mouth shut.
I smiled at my husband and hobbled back to the bed, waiting for him to bring me the baby so that I could nurse her. Thanks to my c-section, he was ridiculously ahead of me in the diaper change count, even though half of them were “wrong” by my standards. At some point that day, the baby peed right out of her diaper. She did this several more times before my husband turned to me and said perhaps the diapers weren’t quite on tight enough. I agreed.
Since that first day home, he has continued to be a hands-on dad to our three kids, and he’s great at managing croup or rocking a baby to sleep. I remember watching him pull out baby books to find out how to swaddle properly, and then he was able to teach me how to get snug and tight.
I’ve often wondered what would’ve happened if I would’ve criticized him that day in the nursery. Would he have become a hands-on daddy? Would he have developed that father’s touch, the one that enables him to calm a fussy baby, even when mommy can’t? I don’t know. But I’ve noticed that he lets me learn through trial and error, yet sometimes I think it’s my job to save him the time and instead, I nit-pick or nag. And sometimes I am right, like I was about the diaper changes. But not always.
Maybe if we want our husbands to be strong and courageous men who lead their homes, we have to give them the space to do just that. If we want small men who are hen-pecked husbands, then we can keep criticizing them and badgering them into doing things our way, instead of trusting them to lead our homes.
Of course there are gracious ways to speak up, and there are times when it’s important that we do find a loving way to speak truth. But there are so many tiny issues, like diaper changes, where it’s easy to assert our authority as moms instead of letting our husbands develop their own authority in parenting. The challenge is knowing the difference in those two.
I’m not great at keeping my mouth shut. It’s always a struggle and I’m learning to give grace as my husband does, always forgiving me and trusting me completely with certain areas of our family life. But every time I do give him room to lead our family, I’m always glad that I did.
Gabby is a mom of three little bitties, ages 4, 2, and 1. Her kids keep her on her toes and remind her that the longer she’s a mom, the less she really knows about this thing called Motherhood. She loves the Word of God, her husband, her children, classic literature, and good coffee. You can find her blogging at MamaGab, on Facebook, or on Pinterest.