Short and sweet reminder for all new parents: Remember that our partners will care for their babies differently from us.
They are unique individuals who come to their role of parenting with their own set of family and life experiences, thoughts, and ideas about how to take care of a baby. Depending on their personal exposure to newborns, they might be feeling ready and raring to go… or not. But either way, they will most likely do this whole parenting gig in ways that are different from how you might choose.
Now, some of these differences are big and can end up being deal breakers. If this is true for your family, you’ll need to figure some things out and it might take a professional to help. I hate to break it to you, but those big differences don’t just “go away” or “get better with time.” Honest, open communication is key to being able to trust one another as partners in parenting.
But there are other differences that really are no big deal. These are the ones that you don’t have to worry about and maybe you should even celebrate! Because babies thrive on love, attention, and being parented differently by different people.
One parent might be a little more conservative in how far afield they let their little one roam, holding their hand as they go down the slide. Another parent might be totally comfortable throwing the baby up in the air at dizzying heights that make the partner’s heart leap from their chest – while it makes the baby squeal with delight!
And for the record, this doesn’t come down just according to gender. Men are stereotyped as being the ones who always let their kids do “crazy” stuff while women keep their kiddos close.
In our family, that’s true only some of the time.
Just know that judging one another’s “way” of parenting can end up only increasing feelings of vulnerability, and instead of getting what you think you want – a partner who parents your child the way that YOU do – you may end up with a partner parent who feels insecure and lacks confidence in their own ability to parent their baby in the way that feels right to them.
This usually results in the birthing parent taking on more and more of the responsibilities of parenting because their partner is either looking for direction and affirmation or avoiding all of it for fear of judgment and criticism.
No one likes to be told over and over again that they’re doing something the “wrong” way – especially when we’re talking about parenting. Every new parent is worried – right from the very start – that they’re going to screw something up! For a lot of Dads and partner parents, the baby is really REAL at the moment of birth and so they might already feel like they’re racing to catch up from the get go.
Trusting your own instincts when it comes to all kinds of parenting issues is an important skill that takes time to learn. Give each other the space and grace for that learning and you’ll both end up feeling more confident & engaged, less vulnerable & resentful, and ready to do this whole parenthood thing together – as a team.
Most of us have different comfort levels with when, how and where we let our kids explore. Our children have different comfort levels that must be considered as well. Some kids love to fly through the air, others – not so much.
Whatever your parenting style might be, parents provide safety and security to their baby in very different ways. One might keep their little one close in a snug embrace, while another gathers them up and holds on tight after an exhilarating experience in defying gravity.
But BOTH approaches, help your baby learn how to fly.
Who’s the more safety conscious parent in your family? Is it you or your partner that’s a little more on the wild-side? How do you think your baby responds to these differences?