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Mom Won’t Trust Anyone With Baby
I have recently stumbled across your website and read an article about ‘gatekeeper’ mums, which I can totally relate to.
I have a son who is 12 months old – I am not with the mother, but we are sharing parenting.
When I am with my son I feel constantly watched, which sets me on edge as I feel as though I am ‘dodging’ being criticized much of the time. His mother will leave the room at times, as she is aware that she ‘hovers’ , however, even when she does leave the room she is stressed that something may happen to the baby whilst I am with him.
She has acknowledged that she is on ‘high mummy alert’ about everything, and she seems stressed much of the time, which manifests itself at times in her being sharp with people– she doesn't really trust anyone else with him, not me, or even my mother who has had two children. (When she was at my parents’ with our son she took him to the toilet with her when she went – even though my mother would have been quite capable of looking after him for a bit.)
We have discussed this, but it’s almost like she can’t help herself. She frequently corrects what I am doing – which drives me mad as I feel in such a subservient position but I just go with it so as not to fight. She treats everyone else the same as well, my parents included: Our son is the first and only child and we had 3 miscarriages before he came.
My concern is that she will never let go and will continue to try and control every situation as he gets older– and ultimately stand between me and him and control him (until there is a backlash).
I do try to rationalize that he is only 12 months and that she is trying to do everything, but I fear that this will not change and that despite talking about it things won’t change – she has essentially said she doesn't trust me to respond to his needs (and she doesn't trust anyone else either).
We are planning to send him to nursery for a few hours a week when he is two – so she will have to relinquish some control then.
Do things ever get better? Is this normal behavior?
You are right that she cannot help it; gatekeeping in moms is biologically driven and with 3 miscarriages, her hormones are supercharged. She is essentially a cave mom thinking saber tooth tigers are roaming around.
Suggestion: Ask her to go with you as you take your son outside for a stroller ride (you push the stroller) and be super vigilant safety wise and attending to his needs. So safe it seems dumb. After a couple of times, ask if you can take him around the block yourself. Use your phone to send her a few pictures of him enjoying it along the way. When home, tell her how much fun you had together. Maybe show her something you taught him like a high five. Stretch out the trip a little the next time, and suggest she take a nap. Take it slow with her, and let her know you understand her feelings.
Take a first aid course and show her your card, and anything else you can think of that will make her more comfortable.
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