As 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)