Having been together for 10 years, Sunny and I have always believed in equal partnership. It’s never been battle of the sexes nor has it been a competition to see who has the best career or salary. We have the same belief we have when it comes to parenting, and that is making it work, together.
When I was expecting Bear I could not envisage what sort of parents we’d be. It was great looking after other people’s kids but that didn’t really give me an idea on how I was going to handle my own. What worried me the most was having to do it all on my own, especially with Sunny’s job at the time, he could have been anywhere in the world.
Luckily I wasn’t alone. Bear was born and Sunny was able to find a role where he could work from home. From the minute Bear was born, Sunny embraced her in his arms. He was the first to do skin-to-skin with her, and they truly built a bond. This set us up for what was to come.
I had heard friends talk about how their partner did the night feeds and they got some sleep. For me that didn’t make sense. Sunny would work ridiculous hours and then for me to expect him to be awake at night to feed Bear was not fair. I was breastfeeding too, and wanted to exclusively do so for months.
This is where we shared our responsibilities as parents during the day. It made better sense because of Sunny’s home-working. He would listen out for Bear during her morning naps so that I could have a decent shower. He would change the nappy, play with Bear and even cook the evening meals. All this helped. It helped me to recover post-partum, it helped me adjust to having a new member in the house.
As Bear grew into a toddler, we never stopped sharing our role as parents. We both bathed bear, we both read her a story, and then each one would take in turns to put her to sleep. That’s if Bear wasn’t crying for one particular parent, usually me. We like the routine of things, it meant that we both knew what had to be to be done for our child, and we could switch from mummy to daddy at any time.
now, this isn’t to say that I’ve always had Sunny working from home, or being around all the time. During Bear’s first year Sunny has holidays with the lads, he also moved to a role where he had travelled to India. Although it could be difficult and tiring solo parenting at times, I knew that when he returned, he would pick up from where he left off. I would do exactly the same when I had to work away in London.
Since the we have a new little member of our family, Boo. This puts great pressure on us both to share responsibilities. And although I call it responsibility I should rather say sharing what we do for the kids, because taking the kids out for a day trip is not something that is a need that we are responsible to meet but instead it is something we want to do. So sharing those tasks too is important.
Why? Because parenting is not easy. No one child is the same. Tired parents don’t make happy parents, and we know that. Once we adjusted and shared our parenting of Bear, we argued less. We understood one another better, especially with Boo. She wasn’t the easiest of babies to settle once she’s annoyed. But we both experienced it, and we both shared our ways of calming her. Seriously, we do talk about our methods. It works. Because, when you have that one night when the kids just don’t want to settle down and you’re on your own, you can refer back to those chats.
The little things Sunny and I do for one another count. We respect that we each need “me-time” and try to give that space. Like the last weekend. Sunny talked about eating how food and drinking his beer in peace, how good it felt, would it be great if I could do that. When I said ” I’ve not had that experience in ages” he told me to call a friend and go out. Just like that. He would hold the fort with the girls. Do you know how much that meant to me? A LOT!
So shared responsibility, isn’t all about sharing the chores, it’s about understanding. it’s about working as a team. We live in a world where work can be anywhere, and quite often both parents have to work away. We’ve been through it ourselves. It’s not easy but if you work together and make things fair and balanced it does work out.