I realize that most people in today’s modern world are simply looking for a quick fix for each problem as it comes up as opposed to the more in depth problem solving that takes hard work, learning and true understanding to help avoid the problem from continually recurring in the future.We have passed out of the Age of Aquarias and entered into the “Age of Google.”
Accordingly I’ve posted the solution to the problem right at the top and then past the read more, the whole theory behind the problem under that. You can take the swift approach or you can struggle through the equivalent of 8 Facebook posts to get a better understanding of the problem itself.
I’m not judging or trying to be preachy. Really I’m not. I just know that while this might help solve today’s problem, understanding more about the problem itself might just save your marriage. That being said here goes:
HOW TO SOLVE THE “WHO DOES WHAT” DILLEMA
The basic problem in what most perceive as “uninvolved parenthood” is simply lack of laid out agreements between both parents. One parent might be completely content doing all the parental work providing that they get one day a month in a full luxurious day spa and a trip to Rodeo Drive. The other parent might be blissfully happy simply writing the checks every month and not having to change a single diaper.
While I think both of the above are being denied the depth of character and the true value of the life changing experience that parenthood actually is, who am I to judge? If that’s what happiness it is to certain people then you know what I say? Let them be happy.
But if suddenly that check isn’t written and that day-spa trip has to be cancelled and then someone has to change a diaper that wasn’t expected, then friction enters into the equation. But you know what? No matter how perfectly people think they have it planned, it is going to happen. Why? Because that’s how life works: unpredictably, with fevers that don’t fit into your monthly schedules and temper tantrums that weren’t on the daily planner.
Life challenges you and forces you to either grow or perish. And parenthood for some is the raw essence of life itself.
So how to avoid the unpleasantness and friction? Settle the agreements. You know “if blah happens so and so does blah.”
Ideally do it before you have the child. Because once you do, there is no going back. And if you won’t provide for that child, they will either die or wind up with real parents leaving you behind with the label of a “biological” one. Being a biological parent doesn’t make you a father or a mother. Even gods have to earn that right, and when they don’t, their children suffer and then eventually even the gods do.
To quote one of the most brilliant lines ever written in a screenplay: “Mommy is name of God in the mind of a child.” But so is father.
So what do you do? Sit down with your partner (ideally before you decide to conceive, but if it’s too late for that, it’s never too late to set things right.) and write out the following:
FOR THE 6 MONTHS FOLLOWING BIRTH:
1. If Mommy has Cesaeraen birth, who is going to help change the diapers and give baths and help feed the baby for the 2-3 weeks while mommy gains full mobility? (Daddy? Nanny? Grandma?)
2. Who is going to wash the bottles? All the time? Or just once a day? Or once a week? What? (If you buy 6 bottles they will need to be washed and sterilized once a day, less if the mother can regularly breastfeed)
3. Who is going to change the diapers? All the time? Most of the time? (Expect up to 8 diaper changes a day until they hit 6 months old. If you change less than they need they will get bad rashes and generally make life miserable because you were to lazy to do the work to change the diapers regularly. And just because life is like that, even if you do change the diaper often enough, they will also get rashes when you change the diapers enough anyways)
4. Who is going to wash the baby? All the time? Most of the time? Some of the time? 1 time a week? 3 times a week? (They will need at least one bath a day although if they don’t puke or pee or poop on themselves sometimes you can get away with a 48 hour gap)
5. Who is going to feed the baby? All the time? Most of the time? Some of the time? (They will need to be fed every 2-3 hours on an average for at least 90 days and possibly up to 180 days)
6. Who is going to feed the baby when they wake up 2-3 times a night? Are you going to trade from one day to the next? Do the parents have maternity leave to be able to deal with the exhaustion or can one stay at home while the other goes to work? If the partner who has to go to work can’t sleep and therefore can’t work, how are you going to solve this?
7. Who is going to get the baby ready for bed?
8. Who is going to read the baby bedtime stories?
9. What do you do when one parent is sick?
10. What do you do when the baby is sick?
11. What do you do when everyone is sick?
12. Who is going to take the baby for stroller walks?
13. Who is going to take the baby for walks in the park?
14. Who is going to do the grocery shopping?
15. Who is going to do the shopping for the clothes and accessories?
16. If both parents are going to work, who is going to care for the baby?
17. What is the agreed “girl time” for mom to relax and hang out with friends and take a short breather?
18. What is the agreed “guy’s time” for dad to relax and hang out with friends and take a short breather?
19. What are both parents going to do about “hobbies” they had prior to parenthood (because you can for the most part just kiss those goodbye. Seriously, donate that X-Box or playstation to your favorite family member.)
20. Who is going to look after baby when mom and dad need some “together time” because you HAVE TO HAVE THAT or you will burn out before the race is even really going. (Nanny? Grandma? Sister?)
21. DISCLAIMER CLAUSE: BOTH PARENTS MUST AGREE TO REVISIT THESE AGREEMENTS FROM TIME TO TIME TO ADJUST THEM BASED OFF THINGS THAT THEY HAVE LEARNED.
And pretty much anything else you can think of that might become a problem. You need to talk about it before it becomes one, or if it already is one, you need to talk it over until you reach a mutual agreement. And if you can’t reach a mutual agreement then realize you’ve hit a point of cancer that will eventually destroy not only the parent’s happiness, but the child’s as well.
You are entering into a life-long contract with a child, and often you enter into it unknowingly in a head first screaming dive off the side of a cliff with an undersized parachute strapped to your back. That again, is life.
And if you can learn how to deal with it, you can learn how to truly enjoy it. And if you think that was too long for your taste or cut a bit close to the bone, then don’t even bother clicking “read more.” But I do hope that helps and wish you the best of luck in enjoying the full depth and breadth of parenthood.