The time my parenting became a competition

When did it become so important that my husband understood my 'sacrifice' to stay at home with my son?

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  • "At least you get to go to work!" I told Mr. Adventure, one day. "I don't ever get a break. You get to eat lunch by yourself! In the morning ... every morning you get to shower alone without asking anyone to hold a baby, or waiting for a baby to cry because he is tired of you being in the shower..."

  • Mr. Adventure looked puzzled. "What do you mean?" He said. "You get to stay home all day with Reuben. I would love to do that."

  • And that's when the fight began.

  • Whose job is harder? I think we argued about it for a few days before I gave up in exasperation, chalking it up to him just not understanding how difficult staying at home with Reuben actually was. Now that I think about it, I suppose he felt the same?

  • I remember one thing he said quite vividly. We were sitting on the couch watching Reuben play, and Brian candidly said, "Watching Reuben is easy. Look, he's just playing by himself."

  • I think my pot boiled over at that point. "When you watch him, you just hold him." I said. "You don't have to try to cook at the same time, or do laundry, or go to the supermarket or..."

  • "I never thought of that." He said. "But it doesn't sound too hard."

  • Ugh.

  • But really, I don't know when I got into this mindset that parenting was a competition. Why does it matter so much to me that my husband acknowledges what a "sacrifice" it is when I watch our son every day? Why is it important that he understands how my day is so much harder than his?

  • I must have a huge ego problem.

  • I decided to change my thinking. Instead of thinking about how long my days were, and how I rarely get time to myself anymore, and how much I'd love to spend more than 5 minutes in a shower - I decided to think about every day as a gift. Because every day is a gift. One day Reuben will be in college or maybe living abroad and I won't be able to cover his face in kisses every morning and tickle his feet.

  • And I just don't want to think of raising him as a chore. Yes, it's hard. Yes, it's impossibly hard sometimes. But he is a person, and worthy of love. I don't want to spend my years pining away for my personal freedom - I want to spend them learning and growing with Reuben. He is a gift from God, and I am not worthy of him. And he didn't take away all my freedom and time! Instead, he filled my heart and life with happy smiles, warm cuddles, and an occasional poop-filled diaper. I chose to bring him into this world and I couldn't be more happy that he is finally here.

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  • When I started to think of this, my attitude improved greatly. Not only did Mr. Adventure start to arrive home to a happy, smiling wife instead of a grumpy, dissatisfied and worn out wife who demanded attention and freedom, I started to actually enjoy most of my day. Is it still really hard sometimes? Yes! But instead of letting this fact totally overwhelm me, I just think about how much I love my son and how precious this time with Reuben is when he is small and how I'll never get it back and it helps put things into perspective. I love him. He loves me.

  • I could care less now whose job is "harder." I don't think that term even applies to what we are doing. We are both raising a wonderful son, and working on a wonderful marriage. Mr. Adventure is doing what he can do, and I am doing what I can do. We are both blessed. And there is no prize like a bowl of ice cream in the evening to celebrate getting through a day. I don't need praise from my husband, and I don't need him to kowtow to the many "sacrifices" I make as a mom - I just need Brian to support me and Reuben, and he does. And he doesn't need me to remind him of all the awesome things I do. I just need to do them without complaint.

  • Instead of looking at what I think I should have, I now look at all I have.

  • And my arms and my heart are so full.

  • Editor's note: This article was originally published on Kitty Adventures. It has been republished here with permission.

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Mommy to Reuben after two years of infertility. Loves to knit and crochet and eat yummy paleo food while bloging about the happy struggles of motherhood.

Website: http://www.kitty-ears.com

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