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I first noticed that my husband was doing things wrong when we had our first child.

He could not swaddle the baby at all. He would have to wake me up in the middle of the night to get me to do it for him. When he put diapers on, they were crooked. He didn’t stop halfway through the bottle to burp the baby. And you should have seen how he put the sheets on the crib! Totally wrinkly and not lined up at all. There’s more, but I’ll spare you the details (and me the embarrassment of complaining about a husband that did so much!).

It. Drove. Me. Nuts.

I would tell my husband, “You’re doing it wrong,” and, “Here, let me do it.” I would stop him from helping me so I could do it myself the proper way. Let me repeat that: I would stop my husband from helping me. Crazy, right?

Then one night, out of my mind with sleep deprivation, I figured it out: maybe I wouldn’t be so tired if I just let my husband help with the baby. It was a huge light bulb moment for me. I suddenly didn’t care if the diaper was crooked, or he missed a snap on the pajamas, or if the formula was a few degrees cooler than I imagined our son liked it. All that mattered in that moment was sleep.

I started letting him help and it was amazing. I suddenly didn’t care that the baby clothes weren’t folded very neatly, I was just happy they were folded and I didn’t have to do it. I didn’t care if the bottles went through the dishwasher instead of being hand-washed, I was just happy there were clean bottles when I needed them.

Not only did I accept his offer of help, I stopped telling him he was doing it wrong (even though I died a little inside every time he would use like 15 wipes to change a diaper).

I can’t tell you what an impact this lesson has had on my marriage. Instead of trying to control every aspect of my son’s life–our son’s life–I learned to trust my husband and to let go of my ego and quest for perfectionism. We became a team, instead of me dictating to him the correct way to do things, like he was in my employ. Over time (and especially now that my son is a tween), I learned that this isn’t just the mom and son show; my son needs his dad.

So, if your husband is doing it wrong, let him. He’ll make mistakes and he won’t always do it your way (which we all know is the best way) but you’ll get a break. And, more importantly, you’ll get to sit back and watch him put the diaper on crooked while he sings and coos to the baby, and the singing and cooing turns into playing cars and bandaging knees, and that turns into going for haircuts and talking about girls. Over time you’ll see this has become a really awesome bond that your child has with his dad, a bond he doesn’t share with anyone else in the world.

But you might want to go out and get one of those swaddle blankets with the Velcro that are really easy to put on, because he just might never figure that one out.

This article originally appeared at Once Upon A Mom

Anne Metz

Anne Metz works part time as a freelance writer and spends the other part getting kids off the bus, breaking up fights, doing laundry, cooking, and cleaning up after her son and triplet daughters. For fun she enjoys whistling loudly and just slightly off key and eating meals that other people prepare for her. She is passionate about sharing her struggles with mothering to let other moms know they aren't alone in this journey. You can find more of her work on her blog: www.onceuponamom.net

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