A few weekends ago we decided to make the most of a sunny Sunday and head out to our local beach for a little fresh air and family fun.
Seeing everyone outside and enjoying themselves always makes me feel really happy, and seeing parents interact with their kids whilst playing is probably the highlight. It makes me slightly sad to see a parent on a mobile phone at the side of the park, ignoring their kid.
It got me thinking: I truly believe that raising kids should be a partnership between the people that brought them into the world, where ever possible.
Now don’t get me wrong, I won’t take anything away from single parents whom by choice or circumstance raise their children alone. My own mother raised three daughters on her own for many years, and to be honest, for a lot of the time whilst still married.
But I think if you’re around, if you chose to bring children into the world, then you need to put in your fair share.
I’ve seen and heard many a story of the mother doing all the work, and the father coming home from work and expecting the house to be clean and tidy, the child to be well behaved and a happy wife getting dinner ready. And to be honest, it just doesn’t sit right with me.
Sure mama might have been home all day, but does that mean that dada can’t do some parenting too?
I think we have a pretty great balance at home with how we parent. That’s right, Dann parents too, he doesn’t baby sit so I can do other things, he parents, just like I do.
We split bedtimes between us, with Dann actually doing the majority of bedtimes, only leaving me on nights when he has training. I tidy and wash up whilst he does the bedtime milk, or vice versa if I’m doing it, before he goes out. He also does most of the night feeds too (Henry only has one a night currently, and this has been since he stopped breastfeeding at night at three months) so I can catch a teeny bit of extra sleep. He also takes him for milk in the mornings so I can stay in bed and wake up a little slower (I am not a morning person, no matter how hard I try). I cook dinner most nights, so Dann and Henry can have some play time too. Dann will baby-wear if we go for a walk, he takes turns pushing the pushchair. He’ll help give him dinner and we do bathtime and PJs together. He even does nappies, even the ones he’d really rather not!
The thing is, although yes I am very grateful for all this, a part of me also expects it too.
We’re parents together, so why should I be the one to do all the care-giving? As with almost all challenges we face (sorry Dann you can do the TKD on your own), we face them together, and that includes the daily challenge and journey of raising a child. We both wanted a child, which means we both get to take part in the highs and the lows of parenthood.
Sure things will undoubtedly change again as I returned to work, and we will have a whole host of new parenting challenges to face. But we’ll face them together, because we’re a partnership, and that’s what partners do.