As I mentioned in my last post, we now have two kids and both my husband and I are at home – him because he’s a stay-at-home dad and me because I’m on maternity leave (thank you, Canada, for a whole year off!). This post, however, isn’t about whether I am “less” a mom because I have a husband who takes half the load (or more, at times). It’s about that oh-so-tricky dynamic that has to be navigated when your family structure changes.
We went through this when our first child was born – trying to figure out who does what in the new world of parenting a newborn and working and keeping house and walking the dog and all those things that must be done. The world doesn’t stop just because you’ve brought a beautiful new soul into it.
The funny thing is, I remember this feeling – of trying to adjust, of being tired, of wondering when it will all feel normal. But I don’t actually remember how we navigated it.
Our newest is now a month old, and we have the very active four-year-old as well. Have I mentioned he’s very active? And he gets bored easily, especially when his parents don’t quite have enough hands to keep him occupied 100% of the time.
So yes, there’s tension. I get annoyed when the four-year-old throws things when I’m trying to feed the baby. He gets frustrated when he wants someone to play with him and right at that moment there isn’t anyone. My husband loses a little of his usual calm when the baby cries and won’t be soothed (breasts FTW!). And the dog is not a fan of missing his walks.
Ah, life with a newborn.
Our outward responses to this vary. In addition to throwing things, my older son has started making what I’m assuming is a dinosaur noise and roaring in our faces. And if we ask him not to do something, he says, “Ah ah ah!” – the scolding sound every parent knows. It’s maddening to have it thrown back at me.
My husband is not a yeller, but he does have a distinctive short-tempered voice.
I can get very cranky very fast. It’s becoming my signature response to the rough moments of this motherhood gig (sigh.)
The dog just pees on things.
We’re all tired (except the dog, who has very little to interrupt his naps). And yet it’s a hard thing to talk about. It’s hard to say, “I’m exhausted and the noise from the preschooler and the TV is too much and the mess is getting to me and if I have to unload the dishwasher one more time I’m going to just stack all the dishes on the counter and make everyone re-use them.”
Instead we appreciate the quiet, tidy, dish-free moments and count the hours until at least one of the children will be asleep for the night and we can break into the ice cream. Because that’s the way of the modern family. It takes a village, but in the absence of one we’ll settle for dessert.