|I saw so many of my sons' peers treat their fathers as guests in their lives for years while remaining firmly attached to their mothers. I did not want that for my son.
Me too, and me neither. ITTTTTA.
I think the suggestion of putting her to bed together then gradually phasing out your presence is a great one. I also think that your goal is a good one and a reasonable one, and can indeed be accomplished. Maybe you just need to go a little more slowly.
I feel strongly about both parents being "able" to do everything, with the obvious exception of nursing. With that in mind, my husband and I have alternated putting DD to bed since she was a newborn. It is wonderful to be able to hand over bedtime "duty" at the end of a long day and to know that she is peacefully being rocked to sleep by her father. They have a very close relationship and she can pretty much be comforted by him just as well as by me. He is not just a playmate and rough-houser who hands the baby back when she cries and doesn't know how to nurture her....he is a full partner in parenting.
I feel we are building the foundation for true closeness between DD and her father in years to come. For those who seem to be saying that it's natural and right for mama always to be the comforter and nurturer...how many of you have a dad or know dads who never are on the "inside" with their kids, who can't express themselves with their kids, who are distant from them, while mom is overburdened and totally "needed out"? A lot, I bet. Is that what you want for your family?
I think many mothers, consciously or not, sort of want to be the "favorite" and the "only." It is very understandable--we give so much, and if we are SAHMs, this is our job! We want to be the best at it. And yet I think reinforcing this is not healthy--for mom, for dad, for the marriage, for the child. Not only that, IMO it is giving in to old and moldy stereotypes that do not serve us well.
As an aside, I am bothered by the way people constantly imply that crying, any crying, is terribly detrimental to a baby. Many of us have had babies who just cried, period, and to always be reading about how the crying baby's hormones are raging out of control, her physiology is in crisis, etc etc, is a real guilt-producer and not very helpful. I think it's safe to say that no one wants to hear her child cry.