Equally shared parenting. It's actually a term and now there's a book for it too. In it, the authors stress that moms must relinquish "primary-parent status:"
If you want lasting and happy equal childraising with your partner, you will need to:
- Stop thinking of babies and children as your territory.
- Quit taking on more than half the childraising work and responsibility.
- Give up the right to be your child's most important parent. (60)
And that second year of Lilly's life, we did it, Leighton and I, sharing our days writing and being with her, playing, cleaning, shopping, cooking.
Correction: the sharing was never equal. I still nursed her day and night. And up until only a couple of weeks ago, I've been the one sharing my bed with her with her body
I am still slightly resentful for how Leighton and I stuck to a schedule where we'd each get a couple of mornings to write (seeing that's the preferred writing time for both of us). On the days when it was my turn to write in the afternoon, I'd still linger after lunch, trying to nurse her down for nap. Which would ultimately eat up half my writing time, leaving me brainless for the rest of it.
I don't know why we held on to that arrangement for so long. The idealism of it. Why I could never suggest we change things up a bit.
Secretly, I've had this deep dark force in me that embraces my mama-power that exceeds the power of the boob. That I'm the one needed in the darkest hours of the day. It's actually a bit embarrassing to confess. Which perhaps explains why I held on to that idealism. Trying hard to pass off as a bigger person. Or maybe holding on to the arrangement was just another side of martyrdom.
Now I've lost the power of the boob. And my magical mama-powers appear to be dwindling too. I've been the one putting her down for nap and night forever. But just this past weekend, her papa got to put her down for nap in an effortless swap of whose body was lying next to her in bed.
And now yesterday, for the first time, she asked to have her papa put her to bed at night even, lying next to her the way I've been doing. Just like that. A quick fix switch.
What's going on here? What's coming next? Where will this leave me? A shriveled up case of retired mama, depleted and hung up to dry?