Releasing Parenting Control by Choosing Trust
I think many of us can agree that one of the hardest things about co-parenting is releasing control and trusting your partner to parent without micromanaging the situation, or swooping in to "save" the moment.
This was ever so present for me a few nights ago when our 4 year old woke up SCREAMING in the middle of the night. He usually walks himself into our room and climbs into bed, but this time he had clearly been woken with a bad dream or possible night terror (which he's known for). Hubby decided to walk to his room and lay with him, which is a bit out of character since it's usually me on nightime duty.
The next 45 minutes was felt agonizing. I laid in bed listening to
"I WANT MOM."
"DAD, GO GET MOM."
Mamas, your heart is racing just thinking about it. Am I right?
Insert self-coaching 101.
Over and over I reminded myself that it didn't have to be me, that daddy loves him just as much as I do, and that even though their relationship is different than ours, that doesn't make it wrong, or less in any way. I reminded myself that some of the most important lessons in life come from the hard stuff and that all three of us were learning together.
About a million and one "reasons" raced through my mind; all attempting to sway me to swoop in and "save" the moment:
It's a school night and he needs the sleep.
It's a work night and daddy needs his sleep.
I'm exhausted and I want to sleep.
What if he wakes his sisters?
I know exactly what to say, and do, and be to calm him down.
Little boys need their mommies.
...... and on and on.
45 minutes felt like 3 hours.
Here's what would have happened if I swooped in:
I would have reinforced that mommy is the only comforter.
He would have missed an opportunity to both self-soothe, and lean into his loving father.
Hubby would have likely felt that I don't trust him to parent his own children.
I would have reinforced the story that my way is the best way (ultimately not serving any of us).
.... and countless things I cannot even imagine in all of our emotional development.