I often chuckle when I overhear my husband saying how hard it is being a parent.
It’s not that he isn’t helping out. But if he only knew one-tenth of what I do as a working mother...
As much as I appreciate his efforts, I have to say that there are so many things I would love him for him to take on more, like changing diapers more than once in a while (“I don’t know how to wash diapers," he says) or waking up to our child’s cries in the middle of the night even though he swears he sleeps right through it (“Really? You don’t hear that?”, I say).
Yes, there are instincts and certain capabilities mothers indeed are hardwired for, but is it so much to ask to just get a little more involved?
Thinking back when I was pregnant, I can recall this picture I had of complete equality in parenthood (or close to it at least) with my husband helping out with the babywearing, late night feedings and morning wakeups and so much in between.
In fact, my husband was going to take on the role of stay at home dad for a while until we changed plans to both work. If we were equal partners before we became parents I couldn’t see why that would change?
Here we are two years later, and even though we both work full-time jobs and both juggle parenting with our careers and other interests, there are times lately I feel I get the rawer end of the deal, especially when he leaves everything baby-related to me.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being a parent. But when he gets to go out most nights, and it’s near impossible for me to have a full day to myself, I see some inequalities here.
Perhaps it is because of the differences in mothering and fathering. I think as a mother, I tend to be more sensitive to our child’s needs and have been because of our early bonding from pregnancy and birth. Or perhaps men think they are not capable or dare I say, insecure, about their parenting and follow our lead.
I don’t know. But I can’t be the only mother who feels that a simple diaper change here and there does not make a parent. And there are a lot of responsibilities in between, including bath time, night time and meal time that our partners could really be more involved in. I mean, in our modern age, have things really not changed that much?
I hate to sound all doom and gloom here because as a thoughtful and caring father he is to our first child, I am proud of the parent my partner has become.
And there are things to be very grateful for like when he takes our child to the playground or his after work horseplay sessions I know she loves so much. And let’s not forget their nightly back and forth ritual when my husband tries to sneak a goodnight kiss.
What is your experience in a two-parent household? Do you feel like you are doing most of the work? Do you feel the father's role as a parent has evolved much over the past 50 years, or do you feel it will inevitably forever remain unchanged?