This post goes out to all the new and expecting moms! If you’re like me, you’ve been texting every mom-friend you know to get the scoop on their parenting experience. In this series, I’ve teamed up with a handful of other design blogging mamas to be your internet’s version of texting your best friend.
And if mom posts aren’t your thing, come back later for more of my regular design and style content.
Happy Memorial day, friends!
Today I’m here to talk about my personal experience of co-parenting my 14 month old son with my husband David. It’s seems appropriate that we’d be chatting about this today because, for the first time in his little life, I left Gabriel alone with David overnight while I was out of town for work. 12 months ago, this might not have been possible, but after much work and growth, we’re finally there!
Here’s the thing… going into parenting, I assumed that the roles of “mom” and “dad” would be fairly equal. You know, as in “mom can do what dad can and dad can do what mom can”, with some obvious exceptions such as breastfeeding, of course. But the truth is, our roles have been very different. As mom, I carried the majority of the daily parenting responsibilities in the first 12 months. Feeding, diapering, comforting, etc. David is a high school band director and his days and weeks are long, while my work as a freelance stylist is more flexible and intermittent. I had a long maternity leave – about four months – and took work gradually after that initial leave. This meant I had a lot of one on one time with Gabriel in the beginning. Breastfeeding was rocky at first, but we managed to keep that up too. So, all in all, our bond grew tight and Gabriel showed a strong preference towards me. This naturally left me with a greater work load and there were times, I’ll be honest, that I begrudged that fact. For instance, when Gabriel was upset, I was the one to comfort him – he often cried when David tried to soothe him. When he woke in the middle of the night, I was the one to nurse him. When he went to daycare, I was the one with the schedule to drop him off and pick him up and manage the washing and preparing of bottles for the next day. All the while, though, David was by my side giving faithful support in every other way that he could. Waking up with me in the night if for no other reason than to ask, “can I help?”… Making coffee in the morning… cooking dinner almost nightly… washing dishes… making late night runs to the grocery store for diapers and wine. Even though there wasn’t much he could do directly to care for Gabriel at first, there was plenty he did to care for me. An equally important role, for sure!
Now that Gabriel is older, much of that has changed. Gabriel eats solid food, so David feeds him. He doesn’t nurse as much, so David can comfort him and put him down for naps and bedtime more easily. He’s walking and playing and “reading” books (!!!!), so the opportunities for engaging with one another are growing daily. Not only is this a relief for me in terms of work load, but it’s also tremendously heartwarming to watch as David finally gets the opportunity to bond and care for his son more deeply and more significantly. As co-parents, our roles are still fairly segmented but with each new stage of development, I’m seeing how David’s role as a father is growing into it’s own unique thing. Their relationship is different than ours and I’m beginning to think that’s pretty perfect.
If I can share any helpful advice to the new mom that is overwhelmed by the load of work that comes with caring for a new baby and wondering why it isn’t more evenly shared with her co-parent, I would say this… Life is full of seasons. This season may be more weighted towards you as the mom but it won’t be like that forever. As your baby grows, it will be easier for family and friends to help out. But in the meantime, don’t be afraid to delegate what isn’t specifically a mommy role! You deserve every last bit of help you can get.
CHECK OUT the other moms in this SERIES
Jen of The Effortless Chic // Sarah of Sarah Sherman Samuel Studio // Amy of Parker Etc. // Caitlin of Sacramento Street // Rebecca of A Daily Something // Erin of Apartment 34 // Alex of AVE Styles // Catherine of The Lifestyled // Eden from Sugar and Charm