I spent last week with my in-laws, who were visiting and helping with our baby. My wife had returned from maternity leave and gone back to work, and my mother-in-law knew that we (I) were going to need help. Plus, our baby is possibly the cutest baby to ever grace the earth, and I’m sure that helped make her decision.
My mother-in-law is great with children. She works at a preschool, and has for as long as my wife can remember. Having her around to hold the baby while I was able to do things like cook dinner or vacuum was great. Both my wife and I were able to get a good amount of sleep, despite me picking up shifts throughout the week (one of the other bartenders injured his back).
The problem, though, is what do I do Monday morning when my wife goes to work and I’m with the kid by myself. I’ve spent time alone with her, but it hasn’t been more than about two hours. I’ve been able to feed her, I change her diaper, I’ve gone though infant CPR training, etc. On paper, I should be able to do this.
But why does it make me so nervous? One part of me wants to quit my job so I don’t have to try and do this parenting thing tired. The other part of me realizes that I will go (more) insane if I don’t have people to be around. If you’ve read any of my other posts so far, you’ve probably gotten the sense that gender roles aren’t particularly important to me. My wife making more money than me isn’t irksome. We could be financially secure if I didn’t work. (Plus, I figure that someone will eventually read this whole blog thing and start sending me checks. Pampers, Huggies, Costco, Ford, etc., I’m telling you right now that I’m willing to let you guys get into a bidding war over me.) Does this make me a bad parent, the fact that I want to get away and work (a job I really enjoy) when I could stay at home? This is honestly a question I’ve asked myself. I think the pressure, from all sides, to conform to this ideal, which no one will actually tell you what it is, of parenthood is really rough. I’m no expert. I’m basically going into week one trying it this way. I’ll see you on the other side. Hopefully, with some interesting stories with a joke or two thrown in for good measure. And a paycheck from a corporate sponsor.