Dedicated to my amazing baby-rocking husband Moshe :)
[Shown here in one of the shots taken for his album!]
I lay still, so exhausted, but all my muscles tightened and my jaw clenched. Why does he keep waking up like this? He needs to learn to fall asleep on his own! This is so hard! I have no energy to rock him! I can't keep doing this every night! I decided that I would not rush out of bed to pick him up. Sometimes he puts himself back to sleep, and I prayed tonight would be one of those times.
He continued to cry, with breaks in between. It wasn't escalating, so I was confident he'd go back to sleep.
But the cries didn't have to be that intense to arouse my husband's empathy.
"Mim? I'm going to rock him a little bit," my husband offered.
"Just let him cry, he'll go to bed." I responded quickly. After all, I had made up my mind.
"I'm going to rock him. Babies need to be rocked back to sleep," he insisted.
Now that my husband had surprised me with his opinion on crying it out, I couldn't stop him.
Before I knew it, my husband was holding the baby, rocking him back and forth, singing softly.
"It's not going to work," I mumbled. "He only goes to sleep when he's rocked with a very specific rhythm."
Really, what I was saying was that there was no way my husband could imitate me and soothe our son to sleep—that there was no way he could replace me.
"He's quiet now, but as soon as you put him down he's going to freak out," I warned.
But my husband let his intuition guide him. He didn't consider the voice of the naysayers—aka, his adoring wife.
As it turns out, my "specific rhythm" is something my ego made up to make me feel good. In under two minutes —more than half the time it normally takes me! — the baby was calm and sleepy in my husband's arms. So he gently put the baby down.
My husband did a short victory dance and got back into bed.
I couldn't help but give my dismal forecast: "He's going to cry, just watch."
But guess what? He didn't cry. Not after he put him down, nor minutes or hours after. My husband had successfully calmed the baby and put him back to sleep without me having to get up, nurse him or rock him in my motions that I was convinced were indispensable.
The room was silent again, but you could practically hear me swallowing my pride.
I know that there is a little (okay, not so little) control freak in me. And I'm sure my husband knows it too, because he has always respected my motherly decisions in a way that reflects a soldier in an army (guess who the sergeant is).
But I'm starting to learn that this attitude is not going to make my life any easier. I need to let go and let others in — especially the father of my children, my soulmate.
I've always respected my husband's level of intuition when it comes to the kids. I'm always grateful for his help. But I admit, I have mostly loved how he genuinely salutes my motherly command. But last night, his insistence on taking over enabled me to have an overdue realization—that I can share even the most practical hardships of motherhood with my husband, even where my emotions and convention say it's my job.
We all love help from our husbands, but how often do we let them do those things that would seemingly interfere with our motherly prowess? How often do we relinquish control and say "Okay, you take over," even with those motherly tasks we're so deeply attached to? When was the last time you let your husband do things his way? Not every woman deals with this challenge, but those who do know what I mean all too well. To my fellow mothers who relate, I challenge you to make the space for your husband where you normally insist on taking over. You know, with the real stuff. Because he can do it — maybe not just like you, but very possibly even better.
Even if witnessing my husband put the baby back to bed so effortlessly made me feel a little replaceable, I got sleep and the baby got sleep—it's a win-win situation! Not to mention, my husband bonded with his son and feels like he conquered the world.
The way I see it now, if it's going to take a village to raise my children...I think I can start with the help of their father. If I'm going to be replaceable, I'm glad he's the one standing in.