I frequenty (obsessively?) read a board on the Babycenter community website, and a thred recently derailed into a conversation on Dad involvement. A lot of the comments were of a similar nature.
It’s easy to fall into a habit of “Mom does everything”. Especially when Mom is staying at home, but Working Moms have the same battle.
Mom gets Baby when she wakes up. Mom handles meals, bathtime, wardrobe changes, diapers. Dad handles….the moments when Mom says “Go do this, go do that, I need an hour to myself.”
And then, of course, Baby prefers Mom. Tired? Mom always does bedtime. Hungry? Mom always feeds me. Bored? Mom always entertains me. Grumpy? Mom always hugs me.
The people commenting said that it’s something that doesn’t get any easier when the kid gets older, towards that like 3-5 range. It’ll be routine for Dad to say “She only wants you” by that point. And Baby/Toddler will just keep expecting Mom to handle everything.
That’s one mistake I’ve made. In 14 months, I have put Baby to bed every night except 5 times. 3 of those times were weddings. 1 was Dad, just for the practice of someone else doing it before one of the weddings.
Get Dad involved in the bedtime ritual as soon as you can. It’s really hard, for me at least, if Baby is breastfeeding and relies on that to fall asleep. But when Grandma does it, Baby just falls asleep without a bottle or boob. Go figure!
Give Dad an assignment. M’s job is lotion, diaper, and PJs after bathtime. I believe that if I went back to work, I’d do the morning nursing session, then M would be on duty to change and feed Baby while I showered and dressed. But he has a much more flexible work schedule than me, so he could handle showering and leaving the house later. Then when we both got home with Baby, he’d entertain while I made dinner, then I’d entertain while he did clean up, then bath and bedtime together. But, then again, this is all hypothetical.
Now that I’ve gone off on tangents, I guess my main point was just to figure out Dad’s role and let it evolve as Baby grows. Find a routine or a tradition. Tweak it as needed, but it gives Dad and Baby bonding time, and Mommy a break!