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Friday, May 31, 2013

Partnerships (Week 5, Day 6)

While all the “Baby how to” books and doctors have warned Phil and I that babies are fussy at ages 4-6 weeks, and don’t start having circadian rhythms until after 6 weeks, we both seem to forget this ever night and wonder why Maddy get fussy and cries for no reason. Newsflash: she’s crying because she’s a baby, and sometimes they just cry!

After a battle to get Maddy to sleep last night, she is the image of happy sleeping baby all morning. Which means Mommy gets to eat breakfast, shower and even take a nap herself - all resulting in a very happy household.

It’s another gorgeous Chicago day, and we meet up with one of the ladies from my new mom’s group for lunch. Her baby was born 8 days after Madeline, and it’s refreshing and reassuring to compare notes and realize that there is another mom out there going through the exact same challenges as I am.

Something that struck me today more than ever just how great a partnership I have with my husband. I am a strong believer in the fact that every relationship is different, and every couple’s approach to parenting is different - not good or bad, but what works best for them and their family. I’m of course leaving out the child abusers, neglecters, and all around degenerate caste of people that really shouldn’t be raising children in the first place. I’m taking about you and me, your sisters and brothers, friends, and coworkers - upstanding members of society that have endeavored to raise children and care for them in the best way they can. Those people.

It’s interesting to hear about people’s relationships with their partners, particularly as you begin to raise children, as roles and responsibilities begin to be divided and established based on a mutual understanding. Sometimes this is communicated and agreed upon (We will both work after the baby comes, or one person will continue to work and one will stay home), sometimes this is organic (Since I’m leaving the house, I’ll take the trash out, be in charge of groceries, etc) and range from decisions big and small. I have friends that do ninety percent of the child rearing and household chores, with the understanding that they stay at home and treat the responsibility as their full time job. I have other friends that divy up the responsibilities as best they can between them based on work schedules and kid schedules.  What I find most intriguing is that we all have  different takes on how roles should be divided, and that in the end it really doesn’t matter who does what, as long as both parties are satisfied and comfortable with the arrangement.

But back to my husband. What strikes me as I talk to friends, family, and the women in the new moms group about who changes the diapers, gets up with the baby, cooks dinner, and all the other little things it takes to raise a child and maintain a household, is that while no one can be perfect, my husband is perfectly matched for me. We may not always agree on which TV show to watch at night or arrive at a decision that works best for us at the exact same time, but for all the big stuff - how we approach our marriage, our family, raising children, and generally choosing to live life - we are almost always on the same page. This has proven true as we planned our wedding, settled into our marriage, and now as we work to figure out parenting. I know that things will get harder when I return to work and we are both juggling work and caring for our baby girl, but I do know we will figure it out as we always do - with lots of laughter and as partners. And I couldn’t be more satisfied with that arrangement.