Annabel is my little buddy. We have an incredible time together each day, giggling and snuggling.

Despite this, a couple things happened recently that made me re-access how well I’ve been doing this whole parenting gig.

The first went down over the weekend when Annie, after a long day, threw a tantrum and smacked Heather in the face.

“No hitting!” Heather cried while grabbing Annie’s hand, but Annie swung her other little paw and smacked Heather square in the jaw once again.

The second thing happened a few hours later when Annie started to cry.

Heather picked her up, but Annie kept crying and reached out for me. I took Annie in my arms and walked her around the house. Soon she calmed down and put her head on my shoulder.

When I returned to Heather she frowned and said, “I wish every time Annie cried you wouldn’t come and take her from me.”

That’s when I realized I might be doing something wrong here.

In our house I am the go-to-for-comfort parent while Heather is the disciplinarian. It didn’t end up this way through any design on either of our parts, but I have to be honest… it feels good to be the one Annie runs to when she needs some love and comfort. It also feels good not to be swatted at (though on the flip-side it stinks to be the only one Annie will let rock her to sleep when she wakes up crying in the middle of the night).

As much as I like being the good guy in Annie’s life, it’s not fair to Heather. I need to discipline Annie more, and to hang back when Annie is hurt/sad so Heather can be the one who turns her tears to smiles. It won’t be easy, I don’t relish being “bad dad,” but I owe it to both my girls to do so.

But a warning to Heather… part of this change means I’m going to “let you” get up with Annie in the middle of the night too.