Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Parenting is 50/50: "Is this the first time she got up?"

Let me start off by saying, I am married to the most wonderful man in the world. I might be partial, but I really do think he is very amazing. He cooks dinner on a regular basis, cleans the kitchen when he's done. He likes to grocery shop, and has been known to do the laundry if I'm down for the count. I could go on, but I don't want to make all the other women jealous! So as I was saying, I married the most wonderful man in the world. So when we approached parenting, we both declared 50/50. We share everything in our lives together. Why would parenting be any different.

But being a Mommy is different. Somehow, being a Mommy isn't 50/50. No matter how wonderful Daddy is, he's just not Mommy. Among other things, Daddy is not a night person, he's a heavy sleeper, and can NOT function without sleep. The only night I've ever seen Daddy go without any sleep was the night that E was born. He didn't complain about it, or say he was tired. But that night I think shear addrenaline took over. I'll never forget the next night, crying in the hospital room, telling him I didn't think I had the energy to take care of E and that perhaps we should send her to the nursery. Being the wonderful man that he is, he said to me "we can do it together, don't worry!". I believed him, he is calming and convincing. So we kept her with us. And then at about 11 PM. We started a conversation. About what, I have no recollection, but I said something to him, he said something back to me immediately, and then I said something back to him immediately and... well... ZZZZzzzz, he was down for the count. Out cold. How could he have fallen asleep so fast? Somehow in that moment, I understood how parenting is 50/50.

Being mommy means that you skip sleep for months on end, and when you're offered a nap, you somehow can't imagine leaving your little one in anyone elses care. And after months and months without sleep, the 50/50 of parenting becomes clear. Again, let's return to being married to the most wonderful man in the world. While I am up in the middle of the night, he is still cooking dinner, and getting laundry from the basement, and taking care of most of the household chores.

I realized just how 50/50 parenting was when Daddy rolled over in the middle of the night, while I was sitting on the edge of the bed, watching the baby monitor, and said to me "Is this the first time she got up?" I told him it was, and I was hoping she was going to go back to sleep. E did, dozed off, and I crawled back into the warm bed to try to get some more sleep myself. Another few hours passed and E was back with us. Cooing and crying annoyed in the baby monitor. So as usual, I crawled out of bed, dragged myself upstairs, and saw to her needs. Another hour later I came back to the bed, crawled under the covers, and picked up the baby monitor to see if she was going back to sleep. She did. She dozed off. And Daddy rolled over and said "Is this the first time she got up?" Somehow the pure exhaustion prevented me from snapping or loosing my mind. I just laughed. Were we really having this conversation twice in one night?

Now before anyone thinks that my WONDERFUL husband is slack in his daddy duties. It is not uncommon for him to walk the house with her for hours on end during the weekend, while Mommy tries to catch some extra ZZZzzzs. And every night he puts her to bed. He can make her laugh in ways that I can't. And he always gets the biggest smile out of her. Their Daddy/Daughter bond is unmistakeable.

Parenting is NOT 50/50. There may be some rare moments, but the majority of parenting moments are uneven. At least in the beginning from my perspective. When I can no longer go on, and I just have to put my head down and cry, the odds are in his favor, and they are 0/100. And I'm Mommy. So there are many days, when let's face it, he just isn't here, he's unfortunately having to work, and then, I'm at 100/0. We all have the things we are great at, and then there are things that we are not so good at. Daddy makes a mean pasta sauce, and makes amazing dinners. Daddy keeps us nourished and does oil changes on our car. Daddy works his magic during the day, whenever he is home. And Daddy is a truly amazing man. But alas I'm Mommy. And even though I'm Mommy. I've come to realize, that parenting is not 50/50. And although I feel as though I'm on 100/0 a lot of the time, I've come to realize that sometimes, I can't give anything more of myself. And then... it's good to have Daddy.

So as always, I hope all the mommies are strong, the diapers are dry, and the naps are long. And as always... Who Dropped the Pacifier?

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