• Mon, Mar 24 - 2:00 pm ET

You’ll Probably Suck At Co-Parenting Until You Pop Out That Second Kid

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It wasn’t until I had my second kid that I was forced to become an actual co-parent. Let me explain.

My husband and I have a unique situation because we both work at home. My husband has always been a very caring, hands-on dad, but as any new parent knows, you have no clue what you’re doing for the first year or so.

When my first son was born, I was working at home. I’ve explained before that I wasn’t sure if I was going to be a full-time stay-at-home mom, a part-time work-at-home mom, or a full-time work-at-home mom. I ended up going with the latter. I eventually started working full-time from home again and splitting all of the childcare duties with my husband—because I love my job, and it gives me balance—but the decision didn’t come easy.

When I was only caring for my first son as a baby, I tried to do it ALL. Both my husband and I were raised by stay-at-home moms in the 80s in Christian homes. My husband has a very equal view of our relationship and always calls us a team. But it was me that felt like I should master all aspects of childcare and juggle clients part time without ever asking for help.

Having my second son was wonderful, and it was also a blessing in disguise. It wasn’t until my second child was born that I realized how little I had been asking for help. I was on the fast track to becoming a mommy martyr because I had convinced myself I had to do it all. And how could my husband help if he didn’t know help was needed?

Don’t get me wrong—he pitched in a lot when our first son was born. But I was still toeing the line between a stay-at-home mom and a working mom. Once we had our second child, it was literally impossible not to share all of the child-rearing duties. I’m only one person. There’s no way I could change two diapers and feed two kids at once and keep them from crying at the same time. It wasn’t going to happen.

Some people may have co-parenting skills going into a relationship. I didn’t. It took two kids to tip the balance and make me realize I needed help. It took two kids for me not to feel guilty about asking my husband to split baby duty right down the middle.

(Image: wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock)

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  • VĂ©ronique Houde

    See, with me it was the opposite! I knew that my boyfriend would be an amazing dad, and it was so important to me that my daughter and him get the chance to bond since he worked full-time, that the minute he would be home, I would encourage (and maybe even push it too far) him to take care of her as much as possible. It led them to be super tight when they were together. And when it was just Lea and me, we were super tight too. But when all three of us were together, she always wanted daddy.

    I realized at one point that maybe I was unintentionally sending the wrong message to my daughter – and maybe she felt like I was pushing her away because I didn’t WANT to take care of her. Whereas what I really wanted was for my boyfriend to feel empowered in parenting and to have as great of a bond that we had, perhaps I was going too far.

    It’s really not easy to make things 50/50 and to seek balance so that you’re really co-parenting, and not trying to take control of things (or give up too much control). I have to say that Lea now most always wants me when she’s upset now, so the pendulum ended up swinging in the other direction now – perhaps because when my boyfriend is home, I’ve been stepping it up. Or maybe she just goes through phases where at one point she’ll prefer the comfort of her daddy’s arms and at another point she’ll prefer the comfort of my arms… Hell you’re right, baby number one, we really do not have any idea what we’re doing!!!

    • Bethany Ramos

      That really is interesting! I love hearing about how everybody does it differently with pretty much the same results. :) Thankfully, I don’t have to find out what it will take to co-parent three kids ha ha…

  • Robotic Socks

    hm… Wonder if co-parenting has anything to do with #2 being a CnD dancer…

    I blame your hubby!

    • Bethany Ramos

      LOL!

  • The Kez

    This was us too. When my son was a baby and I was back at work I was always the one getting up in the middle of the night and pacing the floor trying to get him to sleep. I’m sure my husband could have done it but at the time I felt like it was my responsibility or some stupid shit. 2 years later and when either kid wakes at night I stir enough to say “you better go and sort your kids out” before pulling the blanket over my head and going to sleep. He manages just fine.

  • Kelly

    We must just be awesome. We only have one child and we don’t suck at co parenting. That’s kind of a bitchy thing to say. I’d rank it right up there with, “You only have one kid, but what if it dies? You won’t have a backup!”

  • airbones

    You are convincing me to have a second kid.

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  • Psych Student

    My wife and I have talked about this and my control issues. I’ve already given her permission to remind me that she is just as capable of doing whatever needs to be done as I am and just because she does it differently, doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It’s a really good thing she’s got a strong spirit because I *know* she’s going to have to stand up for herself a lot when we have kids. But she can do it.