Let’s all stop pretending that the first two months with a newborn are anything but a shitshow, ok?
I’m laying it all out today on ScaryMommy!
Over the past 2+ years of being a parent, I have read many articles that do detail the real life of having children. However, I believe that not everyone speaks of how wonderful being a parent is, nor does everyone speak of how awful it is either. Although these articles and pieces do allow for an individual to relate and know they are not alone during those moments of helplessness (most parents can relate), I do feel that most articles I read like these just perpetuates an already divided parent role between spouses in current society. And before I get into my points, I will state that I also still only have one child, so I know when adding a second (or third, fourth, etc.) child will change the dynamics – this is to focus mainly on first born to parents.
I do count myself as one of the lucky ones who was able to take 6 weeks off after the birth of my son, so that both my wife and I could adjust to being new parents together and start this new journey. Our son was born by caesarean section, which meant that for the first few weeks at home, I made sure to allow my wife as much time as possible to recover and be the one to wake up when my son needed a late night feeding, change his diaper, bring him into my wife so she could nurse, stay awake with her and then put him back in his crib after. This was our routine for 4 weeks until my wife started feeling better and able to get out of bed on her own. During time also, I tracked all meals, when, how long, and made sure that my wife was eating.
It was also around the 4 week mark that as a way to give my wife some true alone time (and turned into a great routine my son and I still do) is take him grocery shopping every Sunday morning. I would wake up, change him, my wife would nurse, I would then get him dressed, load him into his car seat, give my wife a kiss goodbye, then take over an hour, walking as slowly as I could through the grocery store to allow my wife the ability to be her, even for that one hour. At 6 weeks (and after I returned to work), on Saturday mornings, I would wake up again, do the same routine, load him into the stroller, put the waist leash on my dog, and take an hour walk around the neighbourhood. This is something my wife looked forward to every weekend once I returned to work, that on both mornings she was able to have some true alone time to sleep some more, take an hour long shower, watch a movie, tv show, read a book, whatever she wanted.
Now this is not to say that everyone has the same relationship both my wife and I have (or that it is right or wrong, better or worse, this is just our relationship), but each couple will have their own way of handling those first few months, but let’s not forget that although Mom’s do bear most of the responsibility, they are not alone. Many of my friends who are fathers do very similar things as to what I explain above for my wife, yet many of these articles seem to completely omit and/or understate what fathers do. The nights Dads stay up and let Mom sleep because we are both equal in being parents, and no job is designated for one more then the other. Or how about when a poop bomb goes off, that right into the laundry it would go, no waiting because it wasn’t ‘my turn’ or ‘laundry day’. It is also the many times I would be in the grocery store, or mall, or wherever with my son during the first few months, many comments about how ‘your wife trusts you to take care of him’ or ‘I would never let my husband be alone with my baby this young, what is she thinking’ or some variation of the two. Yes, my wife trusts me, that is why we had a child together.
So, I guess at the end of all of this, I can and do relate to this whole article about the struggles. But please let’s not forget that for many new parents out there, Dad’s are real, do care and take part almost all the ‘impossible times’ of the first two months. I think that sharing and at least acknowledging the roles Dad’s play will help in the later months and years, as a Dad doesn’t feel isolated from the first few months or the subject of rants of ‘the father doesn’t do anything’, when in fact they do.
I cannot tell you how much I appreciate this comment. I actually do have a very hand-on husband and my articles are not meant to detract from that. They are just written from the “mom” perspective so they focus on my role. It’s beyond refreshing to hear from a dad who gets it and actually believes in splitting the load when I am surrounded by women who do not have the benefit of that type of partner.
So thank you for reading, thank you for your feedback and most of all thank you for being one of the dads who gets right in there!!!