The Dad Effect

So as some of you may know, Micah started up swimming lessons again.  Yay! Read about his first go-round here.   Over the summer session, it took him some time to get used to being in the water.  And that’s putting it kindly.  It was more like he screamed bloody murder for the first half of most lessons, and simply tolerated the latter half.  That being said, at about midway through the course of the summer, I began to notice there was a significant difference every time he was in the water with dad.  He seemed to be calmer and more engaged in the lessons overall.  DJ noticed it too and of course used it as a reason to brag lol. He even termed the phenomenon “The Dad Effect.”

 

Needless to say, once the fall session began, it was pretty much the same thing. His first two lessons happened to be with me, and he cried the ENTIRE time.  Hubby returned from his business trip in time for Micah’s third lesson, and I’m not sure if it was the fact that the “third time’s a charm,” or if it was dad’s magic, but Micah was a completely different baby.  Not only was he smiling the entire time, not only did he start kicking his feet (something he hadn’t done until that point), but he kept trying to go back into the water after lessons were finished that day!  DJ and I couldn’t believe it!  Who was this kid?!

Micah was laughing up a storm in the pool that day 😜

 

Now, I’m sure some of it had to do with the fact that he is finally getting used to being in the water, but we like to think (DJ especially), that dad had something to do with it, which I’m completely okay with!  I love the fact that he has a special bond with dad and that dad has a special place in his life.  As a mama, it’s easy for me to become hyper-focused on making sure Micah’s day-to-day and immediate needs are met.  My husband, on the other hand, tends to be a big picture thinker and is often more concerned about, not just Micah’s long-term needs, but the needs of our family as a whole.  Over time, however, I’ve come to appreciate the yin and yang we both bring to the parenting table.

 

Our sleep-training story is the perfect example of this.  Read about it here.  DJ was all for teaching Micah to self-soothe and fall asleep on his own (of course there was some crying involved in this).  As for me, the idea sounded nice in theory, but every time I heard Micah cry, I was ready to rush into the room, pick him up, and shower him with hugs and kisses.  My need to care for Micah’s emotional needs was overwhelming.   DJ and I actually clashed a lot over this, but once he explained his reasoning for wanting to sleep-train Micah (he was 3 months at the time), I couldn’t help but respect him.  He told me, “We need a baby who sleeps at night, because we both need to be rested in the day for work.  You especially need to be rested because you have a long commute each day (I was working at the time).  Moreover, we need Micah sleeping in his own room because our marriage is important, and we need time to focus on us. We can’t do that if we have to tiptoe around our room every night because Micah is sleeping there.”   Well, to make a long story short, he was right.  Once Micah was sleeping on his own, life was amazing! We had a 3-month-old who slept through the night, we had our room to ourselves, and there was no stopping us!  How different things would’ve been if I didn’t trust his dad instinct.

 

Now, I’m certainly not perfect, and I continue to learn this lesson daily, but us mamas are only one piece of the puzzle.  So, although there are days when hubby may not dress Micah like I would prefer, or change his diaper the way I would, I worry less about those things because I know he loves our son just as much as I do.  The special role he has in Micah’s life as his father isn’t any less important than my role as his mother.  Both parts are needed to make this parenting thing work, and everyday I find myself more and more grateful for “The Dad Effect.”

 

Are there any lessons you’ve had to learn since becoming a parent?  I’d love to hear about it!

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