that whole co-parenting thing

Lots of people asked about what it’s like to be a “working mom” over this past year (and in the question box last week). In my post a few days ago, I alluded to the fact that we’re a working family and I’m not just a working mom. Does everything get shared exactly 50/50 every single day/week/month? No way. That doesn’t ever happen, but it can at least come close.

We both took 6 weeks of “bonding time” to be with Baby M. (Thanks to the wonderful family leave act we have here in CA that really works!)

Mr. M has morning duty. He wakes up Baby M (usually with a rousing song like the theme song from “The A Team”), changes her, dresses her, feeds her, reads and plays with her, gets all of her food ready for daycare, and then takes her with him when he’s headed off to work. On the weekends, he does the same, except daycare is just the living room.

I, in turn, always have bedtime duties. I change her, give her a bath, switch her into pajamas, read, feed her a nighttime bottle, and put her down to sleep.

Everything else is up in the air. Baby laundry, diaper dumping, morning/afternoon/evening playtime, puke clean-up, naptime, snot sucking, supply run, washing bottles, making food, settling temper tantrums, meal time, etc. We do what needs to get done by whomever can do it.

Chores around the house are a bit more delineated (and I suck majorly at anything involving cleaning.. really really suck), so my slack usually gets picked up by Mr. M. I usually cook dinner and do the grocery shopping, but it’s not any sort of exclusive job for either of us.

A recent study with lots of buzz seems to tell this tale: equally shared parenting isn’t easy. No matter if one person works and the other doesn’t or if all parents are out in the workplace. It can create extra conflict, as any power-sharing relationship often does, but you also get to share in all of the great things together instead of experiencing them second-hand.

I’m not going to lie… it hurts when Baby M starts crying if I steal her from her dad’s arms at the wrong moment, like my motherly soul just was crushed that she’d want someone other than me. And about a minute later (yes… I pout), I smile. Our daughter loves her Dad because of all the time they spend together, and I’ll take the maternal punch in the gut for that.


  • Maya

    I know I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating: you guys are such fantastic role models for working parents! Reading about the way you and Mr. M work together gives me hope for how H and I will manage when we have kids.

  • Michelle

    Great post! I’m going to star this in my reader and refer back to it. I love that Mr. M doesn’t “babysit” his child. He doesn’t “Watch” her. He parents! And it sounds like your system is a great model for working parents.

  • HamiHarri

    I totally agree with ^ Michelle ^ – Mr. M parents, you parent, you are both parents!

    I know my situation is a little different being from Canada (and getting a whole paid year off – which I just extended to 18 months (no pay for the last 6 though…boo). And that I’m desperate to be a SAHM, well, at least work only part-time. I digress.

    Hubby is just finishing up his 6 weeks of “Pat-leave.” It’s really parental leave, but his name is Patrick….

    Anyhoo, these last 5, going on 6, weeks of us both being off together and having 50/50 responsibilities for home and childcare have really demonstrated what an awesome parent he is (and would likely make a better SAHD in terms of housekeeping/cooking) etc. Which also goes to show you, that whether there are two working parents or two SAHP, it rarely is 50/50, but that’s ok. Life is all about give and take :)

  • EP

    J and I both read this article when it came out, and spent quite a bit of time discussing it. I was totally not surprised by the results. Most families/parents I know do. not. communicate. effectively. They each do their own thing, sharing duties perhaps, raising their child(ren), but when suddenly one does something differently than the other–bam! Major conflict. I see it *every* day at work. Because no one talked to the other. Or one person wasn’t listening.

    Luckily, I have a most awesome husband, who’s an equally awesome daddy, who talks and communicates with me on a daily basis about what’s going on, what to do about X and Y issues, and how we are going to both be on the same page about stuff. We can each do bathtime in our own fun (or not fun, in my case) way. But we need to make sure we are both having the same end result. Whether it’s having hair washed for both kids or not allowing cupfuls of water to be thrown out of the tub, and what to do if it is.

    Good job to you and C for having a routine that works for y’all. :D