Because My Husband Didn’t Have To Endure Breastfeeding Hell, I Also Rarely Changed Diapers

originalAs long as people have out the pitchforks to go after mothers who share parenting responsibilities with their spouses and childcare responsibilities with their other children, you may as well go after me as well because I did the same damn thing as our Anonymous Mom yesterday. Even though I was the one who “spread my legs” (as one commenter so eloquently phrased it yesterday, eye roll ) and let a man put his penis inside of me which resulted in me having children, I fully believe that it takes a village to raise a child and my own damn village just happened to be the other people who I see on a daily basis and who have a tendency to eat most of the ice cream and leave two bites coagulated in the carton at the bottom of my freezer.

I nursed all of my kids and even though I feel they were all champion breastfeeders and I enjoyed my nursing experiences, I had slight  to not-so-slight complications with all of them at first. From a torrential let-down that almost drowned one of my newborns to a kid who had such a ferocious latch-on it was like breastfeeding a piranha. A raging case of mastitis. Things that could be solved with the aid of a good lactation consultant and things that took so much trial and error and repositioning and breastfeeding pamphlet reading that it became a full-time job. And never once did I change a diaper. My husband would change the babies, I would feed the babies, he would change the babies, lather, rinse, repeat. All I know is that when he wasn’t at work or out of town, it was his job. And he didn’t mind doing it. And at no point did I ever feel like I was a BAD MOM for “letting” him help in the raising of the children he had so graciously deposited in my womb. And at no point did I ever feel the need to “check” to make sure he did it correctly like one of our commenters yesterday. I fully trusted that my own grownass husband was fully capable of changing a full diaper. Call me crazy, call me “abusive” but I’m one of those moms who always felt like childcare could be handled by a parent of either sex. Because I had the breasts in the family, it was a given that the most important job, that of feeding our child, fell on me. He handled the dirty work.

And don’t even get me started on the times when he was out of town, because I can guarantee as soon as my other kids were old enough to toddle around my house they were fetching me diapers and wipes and anything else I needed when caring for a baby. My older kids helped change their younger siblings, they helped bathe them, they sat there for 15 minutes while the baby was in their carrier or swing amusing them so I could fix a meal or take a shower. It’s just how we did things in my house. Everyone helps, everyone takes care of each other.

And you know what I have now? I have a teenager who offers to help his younger siblings with their homework if I am busy doing something. I have a middle son who could change a diaper on a baby at any time, who doesn’t balk at pouring his younger sister a glass of juice. And I have a daughter who is fully confident that her daddy is more than capable of picking out an outfit for her and doing her hair. These people belonged to all of us, and we belonged to each other. Asking each of them to take part in the childcare duties was never something I considered an improper thing to do.

I’m done having my own babies, but when my kids grow up and if they decide to have kids, I will have two boys who are fully capable of helping their partners care for a child and a daughter who fully expects her partner to help her raise a child and share the responsibilities equally. And I have a husband who knows that he was always active in the care and raising of these humans, because even though he couldn’t breastfeed these babies, he could change a diaper even better than I ever could. I feel terrible for moms who can’t say the same thing about their own husbands.

(Photo: Twitter via the lovely Rachelle)

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    • LindsayCross

      My husband wasn’t really around for feeding and changing the diapers. But Eve, I could not agree with you more about wanting your daughter to grow up believing that it is only natural for parents of both genders to be involved in every aspect of parenthood. Doing her hair isn’t a mom job. Putting together a shelf or bookcase isn’t a dad job. We’re a family and we all contribute to whatever needs doing.

      Awesome piece, my dear.

    • Noelle

      I’m with you on everything but picking out clothes. Unless I want my daughter wearing mismatched or out of season clothes, I match them myself. My husband is great, but choosing clothes and fixing hair on my daughter are not in his capability level! On the other hand, he chose circumcision with our first son and I flat out refused to change a diaper until everything was healed. Parenting should absolutely be a two way street.

      • Michelle

        Haha that was my dad. I’m sure my preschool teachers were always entertained with my wardrobe and hair styles when my dad was in charge of getting me there!

    • alice

      haha, great pic

    • Brittany Anne

      I’m the oldest of six children (I’m 22 and the youngest is 6), and I spent many years happily helping to care for my younger siblings. My husband also comes from a family of six children and had a similar experience. We’re expecting our first child in a few months, and guess what? We both know how to change a diaper, swaddle a baby, bathe a baby, burp a baby, etc, etc. Now that I’m about to become a parent myself, I couldn’t be more thankful for the experience I’ve had with children, and I wouldn’t trade that confidence for anything in the world.

    • Amanda

      The response to that article yesterday was crazy! Mad because a mom didn’t change a diaper? What the what, there are some nuts people out there. My husband also knows he’s on diaper duty when he’s home. And swaddling duty. And bed time duty. Frankly, he takes over almost all parenting when he gets home, I just make sure everyone is fed and watered (still breastfeeding a baby). And here’s the crazy thing: He LIKES it. Even though he’s been working all day, he has missed his kids, and enjoys taking care of them when he gets home.

    • Michelle

      Around the house I hate filling the dishwasher, so my husband does that. He hates cleaning the toilette so I take over that. Why in the world can’t child rearing be the same? Do I seriously have to like every task associated with my child? Of course if I’m alone with my baby I will do everything needed, but if my husband is home why not give him the tasks I don’t like and he doesn’t mind doing.
      I’m 4.5 years older than my brother so while I wasn’t really old enough to change diapers when he came along, I was old enough to babysit him all the time when I turned 13. It’s part of your responsibility living in a family. Give me a break sanctimommies.

    • Allison

      I’m so glad you wrote this. The reaction to Anonymous Mom’s piece yesterday was redonk. There are so many other things that need to be done in caring for an infant that not doing absolutely all of them yourself is not a reflection whatsoever on your capacity to either a. Be a mother or B. Be a GOOD mother. Thanks again!

    • Blueathena623

      Count me in as another gal who doesn’t have a husband that “helps” — he takes care of our child like I take care of our child. Equal genetics, equal duties. I’m a SAHM, so pretty much as soon as he gets home from work, baby becomes his responsibility so I can get chores and dinner, etc. done. I have never once thought that I was “letting him help.”

      • Justme

        Yes! I hate it when I’m out by myself and people ask if my husband is “baby-sitting” our daughter. No….baby-sitting is something I hire the teenager down the street to do. My husband is just being an equal-opportunity parent.

      • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

        HAHAHA, babysitting. what about when you catch yourself or another mom saying “would you mind watching them?” Like, we need permission to shower? I nipped that in the bud after I noticed my husband never asked me that

      • Justme

        I did that a lot in the beginning because I felt uber guilty about leaving my child for any length of time. I would come home from a 45-minute trip to Target and apologize for being gone so long. He, of course, didn’t care.

      • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

        I think it’s such a universal thing and such a stupid thing too because yeah, we um, both made this baby, and men don’t usually say “would you mind watching the kids while I go shower?’ They just do it

      • whiteroses

        Yeah, pretty much. A friend said to me, “Oh, your husband’s babysitting!” when she saw me out and about. My response was, no, he’s not babysitting. He’s watching his child. You know, the one who looks suspiciously like him, the one he’s responsible for.

    • http://twitter.com/DecaturFlora Flora

      I’m laughing– I was six when my brother was born and a total know it all. I’m pretty sure that if I was around, neither of my parents ever changed a diaper because they weren’t “doing it right” according to me. Now? I was the only person who didn’t get totally grossed out by my goddaughter’s epic diapers.

      Diaper Changing — Not just for moms anymore!

    • Justme

      I said it yesterday and I’ll say it again – raising a successful family is like coaching a sports team. My husband is the captain of the team, but we all have our specific duties and roles that contribute to the overall functioning of our family.

      I am the main one in charge of cooking, but not because it’s a “woman’s job” but because I enjoy the act of cooking. But that doesn’t mean my husband can’t pitch in with slicing vegetables, setting the table or helping clean up afterwards. The same rule applies for laundry, yard work, general housekeeping and home maintenance. Even my toddler understands how to help empty the dishwasher, switch loads of laundry and how to clean up her toys.

      The old saying is true – many hands make for light work.

    • Ellie

      Darn right. My husband is as much a parent to our kids as I am, and he is just as capable. He’s even better than me sometimes, mostly because he functions better without sleep than I do. :)

    • Justme

      And on another note – yesterday sure was a bucket-load of crazy, wasn’t it? I was frustrated at first with all the multiple people chastising the author, but then that frustration soon turned to glee when I realized that Kate/Kelly/Kristen/etc. WERE ALL THE SAME PERSON. Hilarious. Thanks for the laughs gals.

      • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

        Um, have you checked the comments on it, like within the last few minutes? THE CRAY CONTINUES!

      • Justme

        Seriously? Kate/Kelly is like a dog with a bone….can’t let that shit go.

      • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

        I am talking about the chick and her threatening to punch the author in the head !

      • Justme

        I just saw that…I was kind of hoping that the crazy train of Kelly/Kate/Katie would pull back into the station though – she was hilariously angry.

      • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

        Hahaha, pull into the crazy station on the crazy train!

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jen-Clark/100000568225513 Jen Clark

        Seriously? I’m going to have to go back to that article if I can find it. I didn’t have time to read all the crazies last time.

      • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

        It was a doozy!

    • Rachelle

      Two words: BOO YA.

      • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

        hahaha, yay, the artist!

    • AlexMMR

      When my husband is home, he is the primary care giver and I become the helper. It makes sense, he’s only home for about 1/4 of their awake time so he wants to make the most of it. He gets up with the girls in the morning and let’s me sleep in, then he comes back to bed during their first nap. Again, it only makes sense because I have trouble falling asleep at night so by the time they wake up, he’s already gotten more sleep than I have. On days that he works early, I have to ask him what the girls morning habits are since I’ll be taking that shift for a change.

      Ugh, my vagina does not endow me with magical baby knowledge. He’s been a parent exactly as many days as I have and there’s simply no reason for him to have any less knowledge or experience caring for them as I have.

      • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

        HAHAHAH I LOVE THIS COMMENT AND YOUR MAGICAL VAGINA!

    • Jessie

      *standing ovation* BRAVO!
      Dear lord, the response to that Anonymous Mom article was CRAY CRAY. What is this, the 1950′s? Why should the mom have to do EVERYTHING or else be labeled a bad mom or child abuser if she asks/semi-hoodwinks the older children to help out? Geebus. I know if I ever have a kid, my husband WILL be just as much of a parent as me, save for the obvious things he can’t do like carrying/delivering the kid and breastfeeding.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shelly-Lloyd/826469442 Shelly Lloyd

      I love you Eve! This is the most bad ass article on here.

      • 1256

        If this constitutes as “bad ass” then you have a pathetic life.

      • Gangle

        Pfffft! Or maybe a really awesome, laid back, chill life.

    • Helen Hyde

      I haven’t changed a poopy nappy in as long as I can remember!!! And I love it!!!!!!!!!

      • Helen Hyde

        I should add, because my husband changes them, not that my kid doesn’t poop.

    • Ittakestwo

      Blah, blah, blah, blah. Please explain why this article even had to be written? Does anybody really care who changed the diapers and who breastfed your kid? Really? Write something of importance.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jen-Clark/100000568225513 Jen Clark

        Yes actually, I care and many others do. Most of these articles are about reaching out to other women, sharing stories they can relate to, and in this case, saying yes child rearing and houskeeping can be a family thing and you don’t have to feel bad for co parenting or needing help.

    • Ittakestwo

      “The most important job” oh gag me. All you “mommys” need to get over your sanctimonious breastfeeding drivel.

      • lea

        Ahhh, way to misinterpret what was said with your own massive chip on your shoulder.

        She said FEEDING the child was the most important job. Right here, see?
        “the most important job, that of feeding our child”.

        Do you disagree that feeding a growing baby is one of, if not THE, most important jobs?

    • amanda

      YES!!!!!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jen-Clark/100000568225513 Jen Clark

      I think it’s ridiculous how appalled people seem to be when you aren’t juggling kids, cooking, cleaning and 100 other tasks at the same time by yourself. Like *gasp!* HE made breakfast? HE changed a diaper, HE took care of her while you dared shower, eat, clean up?! For shame. As if sharing responsibilities or enlisting help of any kind somehow means I never see or take care of my child ever. People need to get a grip.

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