Recently my son and I had our first overnight without my wife while she visited friends to get a night out on her own. A week ahead of time I found myself wondering when I would start to get nervous. I mean, I would be on my own for a whole twenty-four hours with our son! I thought I would find myself picturing all the horrible things that could happen while I provided care for my son all by myself. The Thursday before her seemingly scary departure, I realized that the reason I wasn’t stressing out or getting nervous was because I had been on my own with O during the day for over a month. My wife was more nervous than I was! O and I hung out and watched hockey for part of the day and we spent the first period on the floor together while he oooed at the TV. It was a little distracting at first but quickly became super cute and a welcome addition to the play-by-play announcer’s voice. He went down for all his naps, ate like a champ, and even slept through the night! He was happy in the morning and we had just as much fun playing on the floor as we did any other day. I think my wife was a little annoyed that everything went so well while she was gone.
So what should a stay at home dad take from all this? Real confidence comes from competence. The more you flex your parenting muscles the stronger they will become and the better you will feel about using them. I find that I don’t stress over changing a diaper or getting him to go down for a nap because I have figured out what works for me. So it’s ok if he wakes up when I first put him down in the crib, or if he squirms around when I give him his bath, or if he cries because he woke up scared. I know that at this point in time I can do these things with relative ease. That doesn’t mean that he won’t throw me a curve ball in the days and weeks to come. So I feel confident, but hopefully not too confident. Infants have a way of humbling those who think they have it all figured out.