After my son was born I joined a group on Facebook where first time moms could support one another through navigating pregnancy, birth, postpartum life and so on. A community of women offering support where they could and strength where it was needed – obviously there were the thorns, the ones that beat each other down and made rash judgements…but I digress, why I bring this up is because there were many mothers who were frustrated that they were alone in parenting. I’m not talking about single moms who don’t have a choice, I’m talking about married or partnered women who had been led to believe that their baby daddy was going to step up and then he just didn’t.
Of course it’s easier to not get up with the baby and it’s better for your sleep levels to ignore the hungry cry. Yes you’re probably going to work and you’re tired and yes your limited time at home means you might not know your son or daughter as well as the parent who is staying at home for those first months but that little face that looks up at you with pure love needs both mom and dad.
I don’t write out of my wheelhouse so any moms who are doing it solo and thinking that your child needs the guy who ran away or walked out – not what I’m saying. I’m saying that couples in commited relationships who decide to start a family together must equally parent for the benefit of not just the children but the relationship too.
Equal parenting is important because….
1. You’re a team
It’s not easy and you’re tired but supporting each other through caring for your newest addition will bond you in a beautiful way. Your shared strength and reassurance will bring you closer as a couple and show your baby a unified love.
2. You’re setting an example
The world is changing in an exciting way where gender roles aren’t structured and equality is fighting to thrive. Having a hands on dad who doesn’t act like being with his baby is babysitting will show your daughters what dads should be and teach your sons how to be a dad.
Spending time with your children solidifies your bond with them. Yes dad might be the one working whilst you’re on maternity leave but this really comes down to quality over quantity and the time spent with baby is so important for relationships to develop between each parent and the child independent of the other parent.
4. Being part of the change
I took hubby to every single appointment with the midwife and doctor, every scan, every blood test and every baby related appointment (apart from two). In every one of these appointments, the baby and I were the sole focus of attention which is fine but we made such a point of hubby being part of every decision. Yes, my body and yes, I would be the one going through giving birth but my husband would be there every step of the way and every decision made that affected our baby we made together. By representing as a team from the get go, we felt like we stood as a team throughout the pregnancy and hubby’s role was as important as mine in our baby’s life.
We never wanted our son to automatically call for me over hubby. We never wanted our son’s nursery to call me first when he injured himself. We never wanted our son’s doctor to address only me when discussing our son’s well being. We never wanted people to automatically pass our son to me when he started crying. We never wanted my role to be more important than hubby’s. This may be pie in the sky for some people but we really want our son to grow up in a home where gender roles don’t define his parents. Mom can fix chairs and put up shelves. Dad can go grocery shopping and do the dishes.
I am not for one instant judging women who love the idea of the traditional stay at home mom or the men that don’t get involved with their children until they can talk – you do you!
I feel equal parenting is important not only for the relationship but for the child but that’s just me – I could be wrong, check back in 18 years and I will let you know how he turned out!