Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hey, Did It Get Easier? I Think It Did!

Today I was thinking about how much I don't have to think about equally sharing parenting anymore.

I went back to look at a post I wrote this time last year on the topic: Equally Shared Exhaustion. At that point, I had a two month old. I had just gone back to work. My daughter was nursing every two hours. My husband and I were dealing with the way our whole lives had been upended by our new responsibilities, rhythms, and interactions.

I tried really hard to stay positive, but there were times when I honestly wondered if we were cut out for this parenting thing.

It was so important to me, philosophically, for us to equally share parenting responsibilities that I sometimes felt like I was keeping a running tally in my head. Two loads of laundry: me. Two loads of dishes: him. Three pumping sessions: me. Three trips to take the trash out: him. Of course, I wasn't literally keeping track, but when you're exhausted, overwhelmed, and at your wit's end, you are bound to see inequities whether they exist or not.

Which is why I suddenly found myself thinking "Hey, I don't know what the tally is anymore. Isn't that great?"

At some point, my daughter stopped needing to eat around the clock. Much, much later, she also started sleeping longer than two hours at a time. She became an interactive little toddler, and things got easier.

The change wasn't all in her, though. We changed, too. We fell into new habits. We tried out new methods, discarded what didn't work, kept what did, and developed a system that works.

I'm not naive. I know that things will change over time. The toddler will decide she's not going to sleep anymore (I can already see her plotting this one out). One of us will have to go out of town for work and everything will get thrown into upheaval. The dog will get sick. The car will break down. The dishwasher will stop running.

And this doesn't mean that I'm just a bright little ball of sunshine who loves getting up in the morning and sprinting through a routine in the hopes of keeping it all together.

But the fact that I don't have to think about it so much? The fact that my husband and I just kind of make it work? The fact that I really feel like I have a partner who is going to help me figure it out when things get thrown into disarray?

I can live with that.

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