As a Mom there are definitely more than a few more things that seem to land under my job description compared to my son’s Father. That being said, our job to raise our son is equal. Sure I am the one who shops for my sons clothing, I am usually the one who makes all of the meals (conveniently because my husband burns everything – smart way to take yourself out of the equation), and I take our son on most of his playdates since they tend to be with the children of my girlfriends. When it comes to everything else like teaching him how to ice skate, dropping him off or picking him up from school, or our new venture of potty training, my husband and I split these tasks down the middle.
So why is it that when I have a dentist appointment after work, I ask my husband if he can babysit? It just sort of pops out of my mouth without me thinking. Babysitting to me implies that someone like a grandparent or relative is filling in or watching your child when you can’t, but that really isn’t what I am asking my husband to do. I am really just letting him know I won’t be home and he’s on his own. He isn’t taking over my role – he’s just doing his own alone.
My husband hates it when I slip up and call it babysitting. It offends him, and says me not being home does not mean he is babysitting – he is doing his job.
He’s totally right. From day one he has been very involved with everything when it came to our son. Every feeding I did for the first three weeks after my son was born my husband would come with me just to keep me company. When he went back to work after those three weeks he would still sporadically pop in for a 3am feeding to check on us. He couldn’t exactly help me out with the feeding, but he wanted to be there to help me with anything I needed. His favourite line is always “what can I do to help?” when I am turning around in circles in the kitchen trying to get my life together.
So why is it when I want to take my son to the zoo on the weekend I ask him if he want’s to come instead of planning it with him? This also drives him crazy. It’s like I have this idea burned into my brain that my job is to do everything, and if he can help out or come along it’s a bonus.
What I think I have figured out is that from the time I became pregnant things already weren’t split between us 50\50. I had to carry a small little human inside of me for 9 months, and don’t think for a second I let him forget it. I gave up some of my favourite things to eat and drink for the sake of our son’s health, and then there was the whole giving birth thing, and as soon as that was all over I had to breast feed.
A part of me must have decided from the beginning that this whole parenting thing was mostly up to me since I was already doing more than my share of work.
What I need to do is get that chip off my shoulder. My husband does everything right – as long as he’s not working he goes to every birthday party with me because he says he wants to help me out, he may not cook for the family but he does all of the dishes, he often packs our son’s breakfast snack for school (we have been in a competition to see who’s snack our son likes better), and he steps up do some of my usual responsibilities when I can’t.
It’s not fair to think that everything is my responsibility when he has quite a bit himself, and what he doesn’t do is likely because I am the one who wants to do it! The least I can do is put myself in his shoes and treat him like the equal partner he is and consider the way he feels when I ask him to “babysit” or make plans and invite him later. I know I would be more than a little upset if he did the same to me. I know Mom’s have a lot put on their shoulders, and often it seems like it’s too much, but when I sit back and think about it most of what I have on my shoulders I may have decided to take on myself because I wanted to.