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Learning a New Kind of Trust

August 11, 2011
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When Masa changes a diaper, he doesn’t roll it up in a neat tidy little package with the wipes inside the way I do. My way fits so much more nicely into the diaper pail, and rarely is there a wipe left out on the changing pad when all is said and done. He often leaves the wipes container open so the top one dries out. When I have to work late, he doesn’t do bedtime routine the same way I do. Often Gus falls asleep in the twin bed in his room, beside his dad, only to be moved to the crib later. When Gus was a newborn, so delicate and floppy, Masa held him this certain way that always looked so uncomfortable to me, with his shoulders all hiked up and his arms tensed. I couldn’t understand why he just didn’t do it the way I did. It was hard for me – no, it was agonizing – to leave the room if my baby was crying. Even when I knew that he was safe and sound in the loving arms of his father. Even when I needed, for my sake and his, to walk away for a few minutes. It was hard for me to trust anyone but myself to do anything right.

I touched on something in my last post that, after it was published, I realized really deserves a post of its own. Something that I would venture to say may very well be the number one thing I’ve learned since becoming a parent.

The Art of Letting Go.

As I described our preparations for camping, I said, “if there’s anything at all that I have learned since having a child, it’s that sometimes I just need to let go and allow my husband to take over and keep my faith in him that he is an adult, he is intelligent, and he will do a good job.”

In the early days of life with Gus, I learned quickly that trusting my husband meant so much more than having faith in his faithfulness or his honesty. It turned out that trusting him with my baby was so much harder than trusting him with my heart.

It sounds silly doesn’t it? After all, it’s his baby too. Of course he loves that being with every bit of the ferocity I do. Naturally he would never in a million lifetimes do anything to hurt a hair on that sweet-smelling little head. But a mother’s instinct is a very strong force, my friends, and I’m confident that I’m not alone among mothers when I say that I truly believed that I knew how to take care of my baby better than his father did. I didn’t believe Masa would hurt our child, on accident or otherwise, but neither did I honestly believe that he was equipped to help him in any effective way.

In this, we – the mothers who find ourselves in this particular situation – are faced with a quandary. We can either insist on perfection (“perfection” of course, being the way that WE have devised of completing any given task), and find ourselves left holding on for dear life to the tired, and tiring, mantra, “if you want something done right, do it yourself”. Or we can learn to trust that our partners can and will figure out methods of getting through the same task and the outcome will be, if not what we’d have done exactly, perfectly fine.

I choose to learn to trust.

I’m not saying I’m perfect with this. There are still times when I silently (or… yeah, maybe not so silently) curse and criticize and huff and sigh over the way that Masa does this or that. But I know that at the end of the day, if I want to be equal partners in our partnership, I have to trust him to do things his way as well. If I honestly want Masa to be the best father he can be, if I want him to be happy and fulfilled, if I want our marriage to truly be a supportive union, then there’s no room for a power trip, for “i told you so” or “why can’t you just…”.  I’m learning.

If there are readers out there, what about you? Have you had this struggle? How have you managed with it? If you’re naturally a Type-A, how do you get past that and learn to share?

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