My daughter is 10 months old.
Since her birth, my wife has never even once left the baby with me alone. First it was breastfeeding, then other excuses. She's constantly around me. Constantly checking me. Constantly enforcing her rules. It's "her way or no way". Our relationship is suffering very much because of this.
Thy typical pattern is that I suggest an activity - benign and something I suppose my daughter would like - and she comes up with one obstacle after another why this is not possible. If I put my foot down she will follow me and my daughter literally every step of the way.
It is always centered around hygiene and vague "dangers". My hands aren't "clean", objects like leaves of trees are "dirty" and she insists that I wash and sanitize my hands and wet wipe whatever I hand to my daughter. It took me months to take my daughter outside because it was "too cold" or "too dangerous" at 23°C / 73°F and my wife clearly stated that she doesn't trust me with the baby. The first months the baby spent most of her time with my wife in the kitchen and my wife is still reluctant to leave the house with me.
On one outing to a nearby national park when I had to carry our daughter because the trail was unsuitable for the stroller, my wife was so nervous and upset, almost to the point of crying. I tried to calm her, but to no avail. At one point I tried to show my daughter a leaf from a nearby tree and my wife objected. She insisted that a leaf from a tree could be first poisonous, then possibly causing an allergy and finally one from a non-allergenic tree had to be cleaned with a wet wipe first, I gave up and we went home.
Admittedly, with all the fussing I sometimes cave in and simply desist from playing ith my child.
My wife was afraid of everything from the time we met each other. She's like that with our baby too. I'm the total opposite - I'm not afraid of something that I see as "safe". She says "everything will change when the baby gets older", but I'm afraid she's just saying that to make me happy. I think nothing will change because that's how she behaves with herself and that's how you'll also behave with your child. Consequently our relationship will suffer and even my relationship with my daughter will suffer.
I love my child and would never put her in danger, but I want to play with her and show her the world. But I can't do that if I'm constantly restricted and basically forbidden to pick her up unless I wash my hands first.
I have confronted my wife various times and she always insisted that I was not to be trusted, that her behaviour was perfectly normal and that all mothers are as protective of their babies as she is. Is that true?
Is her very protective behaviour really good for our daughter or might she actually cause harm? What can I do to make sure my child really gets what she needs?
Or is my wife right and she is too young to go on excursions and the world is so full of germs that it is better to wipe down everything? Am I missing something?