I can’t think of a better way to begin Brandon’s birthday celebration (he is 30 something today) then to bash him as a father. Happy Birthday, babe! Well, just a little bashing anyway. Let me start by saying, he is an amazing father… it just took him, as it does I am sure a majority of men, a little longer to reach their full potential. Let’s face it, us women have 40 weeks of “bonding” time with our babies prior to their world arrival. To the men, they are simply an alien looking creature that periodically makes your belly look like a scene from the movie Aliens (movie buffs, is this correct?). You know the one when the alien is moving around in the belly and eventually rips its way out, only to then dance on the counter of a diner. Not to mention, they are the reason they no longer get to cuddle with you while sleeping, have S-E-X, are forced to eat weird things for dinner, and have to make late night ice cream runs unbenounced to them. Can you blame them for taking a little longer to have that love connection? Yes, I did. I mean, they are still YOUR child. You should want to spend time with them, and help out. Again, Brandon is great with our children and especially at “processing” our children. He puts me to shame when it comes to bath-time, stories, prayers and “head stories” (just ask my mom, she can attest to this). A ritual that Elle has created, where we tell her made-up in our head, stories about topics she chooses. Though adorable, we are starting to run out of our creative juices with these. I wanted more though. I wanted the doeding father who couldn’t wait to scream from the roof tops his devout love and commitment to his daughter. Reality check, he is not that kind of guy anyway. He is a humble, quiet, patient and loving man who internalizes his feelings. This is truly a hard concept for me to grasp because I wear ALL my emotions on my sleeves. So for me, I really struggled with the concept of what I have termed “The Great Divide”. This is the reality that women, mother’s especially, do 70 percent of the household chores, child rearing, and carry the emotional weight of parenting…and men and/or fathers are only doing about 30 percent. Now, I am sure there are super dad’s (clearly the overachievers) that are doing more and have from the beginning. You are the envy of all women! I actually had to hear about one of these dads on a daily basis (you know who you are, friend). It really made me question and resent the sanctity of my marriage. I was struggling. Struggling with my baby blues, myself, the new me, and my new role. I just didn’t think I would be doing, what I perceived anyway, everything on my own. Now, my husband, if asked about this, will say that he changed every diaper for the first 2 weeks of my daughter’s life, and he did. I was still painfully recovering from the slice and dice delivery. However, I was looking more for the bonding and the emotional part of parenting. In that department he was somewhat checked out, which by the way, if asked, he would admit to that too (eventually his bond grew, and grew). I wanted him to rush home from and WANT to hold our daughter, not just reluctantly do it because I handed her to him. Please tell me someone else experienced this? Actually, I know there are. I would here them cry about it alongside me in my support group. I just wish someone would have warned me about this beforehand. Why do people only talk about the good? Clearly, I talk about it all, which is why I feel that I have something to offer to the parenting community. My guess too, is that mothers working outside the home, might not experience these same feelings? Please speak up and comment at the end of this blog. No matter what type of parent you are, the outcomes are all the same. Life is not perfect. You are not perfect. Your husband is not perfect and as you will discover soon, your child is not perfect. So why do many claim to be?
A norwegian study recently reveled in Forbes magazine, that marriages that are not equally divided in household chores are LESS likely to end in divorce. This debunks many other claims of the healthy relationships are the ones split 50/50. Maybe I am on to something with this 70/30 ratio. Once the bitterness and resentment wears off, a healthy marriage is actually revealed. Again, I would likely to strongly reiterate that I love my husband, and he is a wonderful father. The reality is, he will not appear to be as emotionally invested in his parenting role because of his internal wiring structure. He will not being doing as many of the household chores because he works outside of the home..I do not. It is all about expectations people. Again, I just wish someone had told me not te expect the 50/50. There is nothing wrong with a 70/30 (I mean, this is how I take my drinks), especially if the expectations are just that. Be realistic in your expectations and you won’t feel resentment. Spare yourself the unnecessary tears. When in doubt, just make yourself a drink to remind yourself of the great divide. Cheers (or Prost, as we say)!