I mentioned in my post here that the last minute trip back home for my grandmother’s funeral two weeks ago was the longest amount of time I have ever been away from my daughter (4 days/3 nights). When she was 9 months old, I spent one night away from her upon the insistence of my MIL and husband…and fully resented them & cried about it. However, once the first overnight was out of the way it got SO much easier to let her go, and she routinely does overnights at her Nana & Papa’s house now – usually once every week or two. Before Harvey came along, it was a great time for Charlie and I to reconnect as a couple without an adorable (demanding) toddler around. ONCE they kept her for 2 nights when I was pregnant & puking sick, but other than that, I’ve never left her for more than 1 night at a time. I’m not quite sure how that happened, but I guess between breastfeeding & being pregnant, I just haven’t had a reason to be away from her for longer.
That being said, leaving Stella alone with her Dad for those 4 days was a huge eye opener for me. Since she was born, I have been the main caregiver. Nature kind of sets it up that way with breastfeeding, and then it just happened that because I was home with her alone more often, I got better at soothing her and anticipating her needs… which meant I continued to take over most everything, and Charlie never really got that confidence built up as a parent when she was little.
Ozifrog wrote this fantastic post last week on “Making Space.” She wrote about how she recently made a concerted effort to step back, act a little incompetent, and
force allow(?) her husband to get better at co-parenting, because “Our competence creates his incompetence.” She also had this great reminder – “I think you have to make space for co-parenting. Just get out of the way. Sometimes you are the primary caregiver. But sometimes, you’re just clutter in the way of a whole new way forward.”
It was eye opening to me to leave Stella and Charlie alone for those 4 days and fully realize that he would step it up. Sure, he has solo parented for a few hours here and there, but not EVER for days at a time, and it was so good for all of us to let that happen.
They Skyped me every day, and surprise surprise, Stella was happy and healthy every time we talked. When I got home, Stella looked up and saw me walk in — and started excitedly telling me about her friend’s green chair. No tears. No arms flung wide open running hugs & kisses. Just a supremely confident, well adjusted child who had spent 4 days having fun with her Dad and knowing that her Mom would come home.
Also, she was a total 2 year old shit at bedtime that night, and Charlie said, “she NEVER did this while you were gone – she just knows she can get away with it when you’re around.”
Touché, my dear, touché.