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.