Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Remember that they try!

I am having a very hard time figuring out how to start this, but I think just saying it will be the best way. Being a parent is (hopefully) a two person job, but there are times being a mom is very lonely and stressful. Everyone has this idealistic picture in their minds of how both mom and dad will share the responsibilities and everything will be wonderfully equal. Unfortunately, this is not realistic. My husband is working very hard to help me and he already does so much more than (from what I have heard) other fathers do. He gets up with Liam during the night to change his diaper, he plays with him as much as possible, and he picks him up everyday from daycare. But there are so many things that, by default, are a mommy's job. This only gets worse if you are exclusively nursing.
There is no way to know how one-sided parenting is until you are there. As I said, my husband tries and does a great deal, but this does not change the number of things that I now have to do. My day consists of.....waking up at 4:45 am just so that I can pump early enough to have milk again by the time I leave Liam at daycare, get myself ready for work, get Liam ready for daycare, get him there, feed him, get to work on time, spend 8 hours being responsible for the learning of about 110 students (while pumping during my planning time and my half hour lunch), come home to immediately feed him again, play with him, change at least five diapers, feed him every two hours, get him to go to sleep just in time to have a half an hour to an hour to myself, and then off to bed to start all over again tomorrow. If this sounds like a lot to do, this is an easy day. Other days can include: dr. appointments, work meetings, grading, cleaning, and/or shopping (just to name a few).
The lopsided nature of parenting can become a cause of persistant arguing between parents. It is so difficult to keep a level head and to remember that they do not have the ability to do all that we mommies do. This is even more difficult when paired with lack of sleep, a bad day (for any party) and/or an unhappy baby. I am exhausted ALL the time and the nagging feeling that I am doing it all alone is tough to swallow. I know that I am not doing it all alone, but it is hard when your partner doesn't really understand what it is that you do differently. Men have it so easy! They get to sleep through the feedings, go to work guilt free, and play with the baby when they are happy. To make matters worse, Liam has begun to prefer mommy when he is sad, tired, or feels yucky. Don't get me wrong, there is a huge part of me that loves that he wants his momma all the time, but the tired part of me wins out most of the time.
I know that it is not possible or fair to daddys, but I sure wish that they could have just one day wearing mommy shoes or at least just be aware of the responsibilities that we take on. If you are expecting for the first time, be prepared to feel like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders and your shoulders alone at least once in a while. Hopefully those feelings are few, far between, and pass quickly; but I can almost guarantee that it will happen. Be prepared!

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