Monday, July 24, 2006

Co-Parenting: Myth and Reality

Posted by Anonymous (as always, no relation to previous Anonymous posters.)

If you'd like to use this space to vent or rant or tell the stories/secrets/confessions of your dangerous maternal (or paternal!) mind, send me an e-mail and you too can enjoy the refuge of the Basement...

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Coparenting is crap.

You think that you and your partner will share duties, and even though you'll be the SAHM, once your husband gets home from his job, you'll BOTH be parents and will both have long discussions about all the important parenting decisions and you'll agree to be interchangable when you are bothin the house (minus the boobs of course). It's a big lie, just like when they say breast feeding doesn't hurt.

It's you, and you alone. You're the one who's going to have to deal with the babies all day long and manage to also do the dishes AND the laundry AND make dinner AND change your tampon, all without going crazy.

Your husband will come home from work and be all smiles for the babies and kissy and you'll put the older one down to bed, who will get fussy because he misses his daddy during the day and 10 minutes of daddy time isn't enough for him, which sets off husband, who says things like "Why does this kid cry all the time?" or "All I want is to be able to come home and relax."

You bite your tongue, heat up his dinner, and resolve to put the toddler to bed before husband gets home to make life easier for everyone. Because you're tired of him not understanding. Not understanding that a 20-month-old needs more than 10 minutes of daddy time. That dinner doesn't make itself. That you haven't had a shower in two days because their naps aren't coinciding and that you just want to go to bed when the toddler does.

But you can't. Because husband needs to "decompress" before taking over with the infant so you can get a 3-hour stretch of sleep before the first of three night feedings begins. He will sleep from 10 to 6 because he needs to be "sharp" for work, and it's his paycheck that allows you this luxury of being a stay-at-home mom. The luxury you gave up your career for. The luxury of living on one salary and cutting coupons and eating pasta four nights a week.

It will all come down to you. There is no co-parent. Even on the weekends and nights, all the responsibility will be yours, UNLESS "someone at work" tells your husband about some new sleeping/feeding/swaddling technique, all of a freaking sudden he wants to change the routine.

Sorry, pal. Momma's game, momma's rules.

Coparenting. HA.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I couldn't say it better.

Anonymous said...

It's not fair and it's not right, but I know that's how it is for most women. And I'm sorry.

chichimama said...

I could have written your post. You are not alone. Big hugs, and try to take some time for yourself, somehow.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, that's pretty much how it is a lot of the time, for a lot of people.

It was like that for me until my son was around 10 months old and I just couldn't take it anymore and started telling my husband the truth about how I felt all the time, and how exhausted I was all the time-- not telling him just once or twice a month, but constantly.

I think the day I said, "You know, when you were working shorter hours for a while there and you decided that it would be totally cool for you to sleep in until 9 a.m. every day while I was getting up at 5 a.m. with the baby? And then you would come home and expect me to stay up with you until eleven or midnight watching movies or playing video games with you, and then after that you still expected to get laid? And the kid was still waking me up two or three times each night? Yeah, I was THIS CLOSE to divorcing you. I hated your guts. I dreamed about killing you in your sleep," I finally broke through the testosterone haze. He shaped up right quick after that, let me tell you . . . He's in my son's room right now, as a matter of fact, because the kid's having a hard time falling asleep. And I'm here blogging. HA!

Awesome Mom said...

It is hard. My husband does his best but he really can't get it because he is not here by my side facing what I am facing. I hope that you can get your husband to give you more help.

Jenn said...

I think being a working mom, although sucks in some way, is better on your marraige. Cause even a man can see....ok we both work the same hours, so when we come home....it's 50/50!

I hope to be able to stay home when I have #2.....I hope this isn't going to be how it ends up.

Doesn't sound fun at all...
*hugs*

Anonymous said...

Right on. WOW.

Anonymous said...

Are you married to my husband?
Lots of hugs to you.

Anonymous said...

OMG, thank you thank you thank you. This is it EXACTLY. It's worse for me because my husband works at home and thus, ALL THE TIME and gets annoyed when I ask for his help whether it's 6pm or 10pm. :(

Anonymous said...

I work outside the home, and I feel this way too. There will always be a power struggle over whose job is more important (job defined to include all WOH, WAH, SAH etc).

I work all day and am still the one expected to do all the cleaning, cooking and child-rearing. I even make more money. But somehow, he gets a full night's sleep, gets to 'decompress' after work, and gets nights out.

I feel your pain...

Anonymous said...

Sadly, I see this a lot: husband has set working hours and weekends off (if one more man calls it 'babysitting' when they're his own kids.... grrrrrr!), and wife/mother works 24/7. Total crap! Perhaps presenting him with a breakdown of what it would cost him to support two households should you kick his selfish butt to the curb would help...

Anonymous said...

He needs to come home and relax? That's such bullshit! What has he been doing all day in comparison to what you've been doing. I'm a working mom but remember being on maternity leave and coming to "work" is 500 times easier than being at home! Tell him you'll go to work and he can be a SAHD and see what he says. He wouldn't last two days. Then maybe he would appreciate what you do and realize how easy his job is compared to yours. You have to do something or you are going to keep resenting him and it will not be good for your marriage. Hugs to you!!!!!

Lisa b said...

comforting but also sad to see so many of us struggle with this.

I say lay it on the line as a few others have said
you cannot continue like this. that being "sharp" for work business is crap.
when I went back to work it was like a vacation. staying at home is the hardest job ever.
I do have to keep explaining to my husband that this is his other job. slacking on the laundry and cooking seems to help get the message across though
I feel for you and hope you can find a way to get at least some help.

nonlineargirl said...

I'm sorry that this is how it is for you and so many women. It does not have to be that way.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't have to be this way. Instead of biting your tongue, SAY SOMETHING. If you're not telling him you're unhappy with the way things are, you're not giving him a chance to change anything!

Now, if after you tell him how you're feeling and that you expect a change and he STILL doesn't co-parent, then you have every right to kick his ass.

Anonymous said...

I so hear you. I couldn't handle being a SAHM. It almost killed me. I went back to work - not saying you should. It's just what I could do. For awhile we switched roles and my husband stayed home. Within 2 weeks we had found daycare and shortly thereafter my husband went back to a new job.
No matter what it's hard. At least you are not at home.

Chrissy said...

I am into my second marriage. First husband was only available to hang out with the kids (3 of them) when company was around. Other than that he spent alot of time watching tv, yelling at the kids, fishing with his buddies, etc. The new husband is wonderful but he still wants to "unwind" when he gets home. He does take little guy-10 months old(yes, that makes 4 kids, 3 are teenagers now) when he comes through the door but within 5-10 min he tries to put him down to go in the other room which makes little one cry. He always seems to need to go to the bathroom when little one is acting too clingy, which leaves me to try and get dinner started while holding the baby. Now if I was a SAHM maybe I'd be a little less ticked about this behavior but(been there, see above).....I have a wonderful boss who allowed me to work from home as soon as little guy was born and I also have another work from home job. I have a possible 3 hr period (naptime) each day to accomplish some work for both jobs (my office is in a separate room, gated off from little guy for safety). All I ask is, when I have a load of work to catch up on, that he take over for a couple hrs at night so I can make a paycheck (which we need). Needless to say, last night little guy went to bed about 10 and spouse followed shortly after. I, on the other hand, was up till after 1am trying to get some work done. I have to keep reminding myself that this is his first marriage and he is much younger than me. I try to be patient but sometimes I just want to strangle him and say WAKE UP- DO YOU NOT SEE THE PIECE OF GOOVNAD ON THE FLOOR YOUR SON IS ABOUT TO EAT (which, by the way, you just dropped and left!)--- obviously touchy subject at the moment- 4 hrs of sleep will do that to you.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I hear you. And that's why I'm a working mommy. I'm not strong enough to be a stay at home mommy.

Anonymous said...

Even though I'm not a mom yet, I can get tiny glimmers of the last-mentioned behavior when he's *watching* me do dishes and points out how I'm doing them wrong. I'm like, "BITCH PLEASE." Lol, not really, but I usually hand him the dish and rag and walk out of the room.