A couple of weeks ago Steve referred to himself as the “assistant” in this parenting marlarkey. He said it was my “show” and he felt like I was in charge and he was here to support. His comments have really made me think about how he is feeling and maybe how my actions might have caused him to feel like this. I know he meant that I am with Amelia all day every day and we have a routine but it’s got me thinking.
I would 100% have to disagree with the above statement and in all honesty without Steve I wouldn’t be the mother or parent I am today. He was my rock during labour and in those early days he kept me sane, watered and fed. I see us as a team and just because he goes to work doesn’t mean he doesn’t get to decide how we parent Amelia.
With him being away quite a bit over the last couple of months it has made me think more and more that he isn’t in “supporting role” but one very key member of our team.
I don’t run to my schedule or my routine but Amelia’s. This schedule has been built from decisions we took when she was a baby. These decisions were made over hours and hours of talking both before I got pregnant and during my pregnancy. These decisions were re-evaluated when Amelia arrived and we actually had to “parent” instead of saying what we would do when we became parents.
For the last two weeks Steve has been off work and at home with us. At the beginning of his leave he was asking me what he should do and when in regards to naps and feeding times. With all of the above I wanted to give him the autonomy to make decisions for Amelia himself. I gave him a brief overview of a normal day for us, what was needed and what was flexible. Other than that I wanted him to make all the choices and decisions. For the first couple of days it was hard for us both; hard for him to know what was right for Amelia and well hard for me to let someone else take control. During Steve’s annual leave we also decided to introduce a bottle of formula before bed as well as moving Amelia into her own room. With all these new changes it was an opportunity for us again to revaluate our roles as parents as our parenting choices. The fact that Steve was around all day every day was great to establish our new routines as well as making him feel that he had a say in how this new routine was implemented. I am not going to lie for me personally having him around while we established new routines and encountered those rocky moments was such a support… Motherhood sometimes can feel so lonely.
As his annual leave came to a close on Sunday night I sat and asked him how he felt about his previous comments. He replied he felt empowered. Empowered to know what to do in her new routine, empowered to be the one that she wants now and empowered that he could feed her without having to check in with me.
I think his annual leave was so well timed for various reasons but the most important was that it showed how much Amelia needs her Daddy and how her routines stem from decisions he had been part of. He had a say in everything to do with her day and I was just the one implementing those decisions.
We are a team… a team of equals.