So I read this article online about jealousy between parents when it comes to bonding with baby. The core message was that moms still feel they need to be “the savior” when it comes to parenting. What does this mean exactly? As moms, we should be more intuititve, instinctive, nurturing, wise–basically, parenting should just come natural to us. And if it doesn’t, we feel guilty.
True? Maybe. For the most part. I’m sure it’s different for everyone. For me, I’m still really new to this parenting thing. Ashtyn is only 9 weeks old. I’m not sure I gave a lot of thought to my expectations about mommy and daddy roles before she was born, but now that she’s here–I’ve thought about it. From day one, Jeff was super involved with taking care of Ashtyn. And from day one, I was exhausted and emotionally spent. Breastfeeding didn’t quite work out the way I thought it would. Healing and recovery took longer than expected. It’s taken a while for me to finally feel like . . . me. And Jeff jumped in to be that extra help I needed. So where are we now? Definitely on equal ground when it comes to taking care of baby. Some moments one of us has more patience and therefore can seem to gain more ground with Ash. But it’s a team effort almost every step of the way. That can cause all kinds of mixed feelings. I’m the mom, right? Shouldn’t I have some innate perspective on what my baby needs? I don’t know. I do know I need Jeff’s help. I can see where all the guilt about motherhood stems from. It’s almost as if we’re expected to have all the answers when it comes to our children. And when we don’t, or when we’re too tired to feel anything–guilt, come on down.
I’ve never been one of those people who’s just crazy about kids. Babysitting was not my favorite past-time. But when I was about 14, my youngest sister was born. And from the moment I held her, I was hooked. She was small and beautiful and I loved her. And so when it came to having my own baby, I wasn’t too worried. No, I’m not crazy about all things childwise. But I had a feeling when it came to holding my own baby in my arms, I’d be hooked.
And I was right. She’s tiny and beautiful and she needs me. And it didn’t take long before I realized that I need her. I miss her if I’m away from her for too long or if I haven’t held her in a while. I still definitely need time to myself, but I need time with Ashtyn too. So can there be jealousy between mom and dad on who’s bonded more with baby? Who does baby reach for? I can see the potential. And the importance of avoiding that sort of thing. So what can I do? Remind myself that I’m so, so lucky to have a husband who wants to be so involved, who’s fine with getting up and changing diapers in the middle of the night, and who can’t seem to stop telling me how beautiful our baby is. Remind myself that even Scripture tells me that two are better than one. I need his help. I’m not supermom. I don’t need to do everything by myself. Remind myself that I was a little girl once with a daddy who adored her–actually, I’m still a girl with a dad who loves her and would do anything for her. Even fly in from Afghanistan to be there when she has her own baby. And what has that meant to me? Everything.
So I’ll just keep remembering how blessed Ashtyn is to have both a mommy and daddy who love her. And not waste time worrying about whether or not one of us is doing a better job. This new life is a big enough adjustment without adding jealousy into the mix.