Leaving your baby for the first time can be an anxiety-riddled nightmare, and leaving them for the first time overnight can be positively nerve-wracking. One mom handled the stress by leaving a detailed list of child care instructions for her husband to follow — and his response to it is hilarious.
Reddit user agreatbigpileofshit posted a picture of the list of instructions for caring for their 3-month-old that his wife left him before she went away for a few nights, complete with a few, er, edits:
At first glance, it’s easy to see this list as helicopter-y and overbearing. Really? The pediatrician’s name at the top? Surely even the slacker parent in any couple at least knows what doctor their kid sees. It’s just two nights, woman. Relax!
And certainly a lot of commenters on the thread saw it that way, skipping straight over Dad’s sort of obnoxious comments (we’ll cut him a break since it’s a father’s solemn duty to master the art of the unfunny joke) and going straight for her throat:
“I don’t get this at all. Are you a parent or a 12-year old babysitter? Are you one of those men who got tricked into having a baby by an overzealous wife? Did she lie about being on birth control? I am serious – I am trying to understand here. Why would she leave such a list? The baby is 3 months old and you don’t know to change its diaper in the morning?”
“Husband and I both are first time parents with 3 month old. I find this to be very annoying. I would never talk down like this to my husband. I will only leave notes about milk because that’s my job. But other than that….really? She needs to tell you to change his diaper?”
“If you need a list, that’s a sign you’re bad father. If you don’t need a list and your wife still gave you one, she’s a bad wife.”
Let’s cut this lady a break. Three months is still a pretty young, extremely squishy child. What seems at first like an inability to hand over the reigns for even a few nights is in fact pretty par for the course in new motherhood. Anytime you have a primary caregiver situation, trusting someone else to do the job can be downright terrifying, even if you understand logically that the person you’re trusting will be awesome at it. We can all pretend we were super chill about leaving our kids for the first time, or we can admit that at some point or another, all of us made a list like this: “Vital” at the time, totally cringeworthy later.
The original poster came back later on in the thread to defend his wife, because maybe he was sick of everyone telling him what a controlling harpy he’d accidentally married:
“Duh I can do the shit on my own I just know she feels better writing things down so I let her. What’s the big deal?”
Exactly. Most times, if you are the type A partner in the relationship, you expect that your more laid-back counterpart won’t do things the way you do, but you make the damn checklist anyway, because that’s what you do. It’s the ritual of it.
Maternal gatekeeping and slacker dads are real things that suck for kids, but there’s a huge chasm between those two traits and “a really detailed list that I wrote dumb stuff on for us to laugh about later.” Maybe that’s just the dynamic these two have. There’s really no reason to start diagnosing strangers with a serious case of Badparentitis.
Eventually Mom will look back on this list and chuckle. Maybe they’ll have more kids, and with each subsequent child, her angst will dissipate. Those were the reassuring words one commenter had in a display of solidarity:
“List from wife for the second child:
1. Don’t kill it.
2. Don’t call me while I’m gone.”
Until then, if a list like this makes her feel OK about taking off for a few days, what’s the harm?