This conversation is sponsored by PlaytexBaby.
Before you get huffy and judgy about the phrasing of my title or the perceived intention behind it, I invite you to open your mind and forget everything you have been taught or that you think you know to be the “norm” about parenting. What I love about my little corner of the internet is that it’s a space to come together and revel in the authenticity of parenting. The messy and unconventional conversations in motherhood are where growth happens and love grows. With that said, I want to jump into a big part of my motherhood journey: the stark differences between my husband and I and how it translates through our parenting. If you are a new parent who is just beginning the adventure, this is especially for you.
Let’s start with the societal norms in our culture. We’ve long been conditioned to believe that the actual mother (the female who carried/birthed the children) is defined a certain way. She is calm, pleasant, long-suffering, organized and nurturing. She is ever so maternal and gentle and radiates peace. (We can probably thank Hollywood for that image.) I strongly believe that that description of a mother is dangerous. It’s unrealistic for everyone; therefore, it sets us up to feel inadequate. Are we missing a gene? Were we raised wrong? Are we “not cut out” this mom thing?
Then there is my husband.
The father of my children whom, for lack of a more humble title is a saint. He’s the calmer one. He’s the more pleasant one. He has 10x the patience I do. He’s more likely to make breakfast on a lazy Sunday. He can handle more hours with all three kids than I can. (At least it feels that way.) He’s not a better human or parent necessarily, he’s just equipped differently.
When I go out for a networking event or a girls night out, I am almost always met with the same question. “Your husband is home with ALL your kids?” (or another variation of the same sentiment.) I usually reply with “Yep! Tyler’s a better Mom than I am!” Naturally, I don’t mean that literally. I am the only mom they will ever have. I gave birth to all three of them and I am biologically wired to be their mother. However, even though it’s 2017, it seems that society still isn’t used to the idea of Fathers being “nurturers” (or Mothers being anything but).
At least twenty times a day I question if I’m a good mom. I get angry too fast, I don’t go above and beyond enough, I don’t have enough craft ideas or meal plans. I am tired of people touching me by 2pm and sometimes I clench my teeth until bedtime. I used to think this was a malfunction in my mothering mechanisms, that maybe biology slighted me somehow.
I don’t anymore.
I was in my late twenties and two kids in before I settled into the confidence of my role in our family. I’m 31 now with three children and I’m finally at a place in my life where the opinions of others don’t make me feel inferior. While I will always try to be the best parent I can be, I know who I am for them and it’s exactly what was meant to be.
If I have one piece of advice for you, it’s this. Take your strengths as a couple (if you have a partner) and use them. Don’t use them the way movies tell you to, tradition tells you to, or social media tells you to. Be who you are, even if people ask questions, roll their eyes, or give unwanted feedback.
My kids have what they need between Tyler’s eternal patience, my sense of structure, and everything else that we give to them as a team. There’s no rule book that says I should be a certain prototype of a mother or Tyler as a father. We are both bringing our strengths to the table and giving it all to these kids. Sometimes that may look like our roles are reversed to outsiders and I’ll be honest, that’s OK with me.
Playtex Baby™ has helped both of us give our kids #forbetterbeginnings from feeding to diapering. With our arms always full, one of the things we can’t live without is the Playtex® Diaper Genie® Complete. It was one of the items we skipped with the first two, thinking we didn’t need it. (Spoiler alert: we DID need it, ESPECIALLY with two in diapers.) Diaper Genie® Complete contains a Built-In Odor Controlling Antimicrobial AND double-air tight clamps to help seal in odors, which is crucial in the small space we are all living in right now. My favorite thing about the pail is that it comes FULLY assembled. All you have to do is add the liner. Any baby gear that doesn’t require assembly is high up on my favorites list. It can be fully operated with your foot, so you never even have to touch it. It’s the best!
I would love to hear about how you share the roles of parenting in your home. Is your partner more involved? Less? Equally? Let’s chat in the comments.