Sunday, January 31, 2016

Anyone Can Be a Father, But it Takes a Lot to Be a Daddy

“As baby is crying in the middle of the night, my husband rolls over and tells me that his doctor insists that he needs a full eight hours of sleep a night. Are you freaking kidding me????” 

“Last night my three month old was still awake at 11:30pm and I wanted to go to bed. I gave him to my husband (who had been playing his Xbox for the past couple of hours) and I went to bed. Fifteen minutes later, my husband brings our baby to me and says, “He’s kind of fussy and spit up on me and all that fun stuff so yeah, sorry.” He lays our baby next to me and goes back to playing his game. Our son immediately starts crying so I get up and eventually rock him back to sleep. Do I have a right to be mad or should I just get over it?”

“All day my baby has been fighting his sleep worse than ever. When my husband texted me asking how my day was going, I said not good considering our three month old was literally screaming and crying because he was so tired. When my husband got home, I made dinner early and then told him I was so tired after today and last night (where my baby woke up every hour) and that I was going to go to sleep when the baby did which was going to be around 6:30pm. Well, I got baby to sleep but then my husband comes in the room all loud and careless and wakes the baby. Now I’m still up with a crying baby and my husband is snoring. How do you keep yourself from wanting to fully explode?”

“How do I deal with my very non-supportive husband? He is very against my choice of breastfeeding and so is his family. He is saying that he will not allow me to breastfeed my child past six months. I’m having a really hard time. “

And finally... 

“Dear Husband, 

As you snore soundly and happily in the other room, I can’t help but imagine myself coming to your bedside and slapping the shit out of you with your son’s freshly pooped butt. It’s 1:29am and I still have not had a break all day. Yet here you are, snoring off to dreamland while your teething three month old son keeps crying and your 21 month old daughter is laying on half my body. 

My breakfast was a cup of tea that had been warmed up in the microwave three times before actually drinking it at 11:00am. My lunch was your uneaten dinner from last night and I inhaled it today at 4:00pm. Dinner followed at 10:00pm, a bowl of leftover spaghetti with olive oil and salt (all I could muster with my remaining energy) which was consumed in seconds over the sink as soon as it popped out of the microwave. All the sustenance I could consume before your son decided to wake up. You, of course, had walked in the door about 30 minutes before my “dinner” from a bar where you got to unwind with some beer and pool after finishing your work day. Naturally, you’re on the couch and actually pick little man up only to hand him over to me five minutes later because he “must be hungry”. 

I seriously hate you right now. How do you not wake up to the sound of either crying child? When the fuck am I gonna get a break and just pass the fuck out without having to constantly wake up to cater to someone? I swear I should rub that mustardy goopy diaper on your face right now. 

Always yours,

Your Loving Wife. 

These are just a few of the many rants about significant others I find posted in one of my mommy forums on Facebook. I was pretty hard on Johnny during the later months of my pregnancy because I thought he was doing some pretty stupid things. And then the first two months of Xander’s life, I kind of hated everyone except my baby. However, four months into parenthood and we are both getting into the swing of things. And one of the biggest things that has gotten me through my struggles as a first time mom is Johnny. 

I can’t imagine him being as inactive a parent as some of these women claim their significant other to be. Whether it’s diaper changes, feedings, soothing, dressing, dropping off/picking up at Grandma’s while we go to work, or simply just interacting and entertaining our son, he is so much more than I could ever have asked for in a Daddy. He would never pass off a duty because he didn’t “feel like doing it” or felt it was my responsibility as a mother. Obviously, if I’m awake and baby is hungry, we both prefer for him to go on the breast. But if I’m not available or he knows I’m getting sleep that I need, he has no problem warming up a bottle and getting it done. 

In fact, he appears to ENJOY all of this responsibility. Crazy, right? 

Many people, myself included, say that they don’t (or didn’t, in my case) want children because they were too selfish. You have to give so much of yourself - like, ALL of yourself - to your child. That’s an extremely intimidating idea. But as it turns out, it’s not the most difficult thing about being a parent. 

I have to keep so many people happy now. The “like it or fuck off” attitude that I have at times doesn’t really work when there are so many people involved in your child’s rearing. 

I have to keep my work happy since now I’m one of “those servers” that may have to call out because my baby is sick or who doesn’t make it to work on time because baby decided to throw up all of his lunch on himself and me before walking out the door. Or maybe I can’t work that banquet you asked me to because I didn’t arrange a sitter for that night. Now I’m a label at work and I have to make even more of an effort to keep them happy so I don’t get put on the back burner when there are money making opportunities (for example, I’d like to go out for bartending once I finish breastfeeding). 

I have to keep my family happy. My mother is our full time babysitter. Both my brother and I pay her to watch our babies so that she doesn’t have to go out and get a job. This is a very good situation as she gets to be around the grandkids all the time and we both get peace of mind that our children are in the best hands possible when we can’t be with them. We are very lucky to have this. However, there are challenges when your parent also becomes, in a sense, your employee. And I learned the hard way this week how important it is to keep those relationships separate. In my continuing effort to keep them happy, unfortunately details have to be kept out. Not my style, readers, I know. 

I have to keep my friends happy. I need more favors now than I’ve ever needed before. I have to be less snarky with my Facebook comments so as not to hurt anyone’s feelings. I may need them to like me in the future. Not to mention, I need adult company more than ever and my friends - especially those I consider to be close ones - are so important in the keeping of my sanity. I also need to be sure I keep my mommy friends happy as their advice and opinions get me through so many struggles and questions. Not to mention a lot of them give me free shit.  

And of course I have to keep baby happy. The most important way is keeping him well fed. Recently I have been experiencing a drop in milk supply, probably a result from going back to work and not being able to pump as much as I want. And also from treating myself often to a cocktail after work, which can affect milk production (this child really gets in the way of my alcoholism). So this week, I’ve cut out the cocktail, increased the water consumption and basically have had a pump attached to my breast whenever I possibly can. Marathon-pumping, they call it. I haven’t experienced sore nipples like this since I first started nursing. I have to think about it all the time, I’m constantly watching the clock to see when my next pump/feed should be (I should totally be pumping now instead of writing but I am unable to pump hands free). I find myself so worried about making time to pump that I miss out on moments with Xander. Mom fail. 

All these people to keep happy. Then I read these comments and realize that the person I’ve been neglecting the most is Johnny. And he is, by far, doing more to make me happy than anyone else. He completely adores our son, he never complains that I barely cook dinner for us anymore or that I don’t keep the house as clean as I used to. He still tells me I’m beautiful and sexy, even with this awkward mom-body that lives in pj's and yoga pants because it doesn’t fit into anything the right way. He still looks at me with unconditional love, even though my hair is literally falling out in huge clumps and I’m having to learn how to Donald Trump my hairstyles for work to cover up the thin patches. He brings me anything I need/want without ever asking questions. He never brings up our lack of sex even though I know it must drive him mad for me to be so uninterested in it. And he lets me sleep. For the love of all things good in this world, the man lets me sleep. 

We are not perfect, but we make a great team. I may have my moments and need to rant myself, but it will never be about his parenting. And for that, I am eternally grateful. 

So, one more person on the list to keep happy. But definitely the most important. Because little boys need their mommies. But little boys and young men need their daddies. And Xander is lucky to have one like this. 

So is his mama.

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