Usually, my blog posts focus on a parenting topic de jour, highlighting the funny things my kids said or the challenge I’m currently facing. However, after my previous post about becoming a mom for the third time I realized that there’s a big part of being a parent in my family that I haven’t focused on in a blog yet – my husband. Hence, this one is for him.
In one of my first sociology classes in college, we read a book called The Second Shift. The book focused on the role of the working mom who spends a full day in a professional setting and then comes home to work her second shift – taking care of domestic duties, caring for the children, etc. The author argued that working dads may have some additional responsibilities upon returning home from work but they aren’t “on” all the time the same way a mom is.
Clearly the author of that book hasn’t met Jason.
When Jason and I fell in love, I often imagined what our life would look like down the road. I’d ask myself questions like: What kind of home would we build together? What would be the roses and thorns of our relationship? How would we raise our kids? …And so on. I’d catch myself daydreaming about our future together, 110% sure of that future without knowing how the specifics would all shake out.
When it comes to many things, Jason and I have very different taste. Whether evident while moving in together for the first time, planning our wedding, or redesigning our kitchen, anyone close to us can attest to our very different aesthetic preferences. Where I like modern, he likes traditional. Where I like vibrant, he likes conservative. These seemingly trivial differences have caused many discussions (read: fights) that have taught us how to communicate about issues bigger than light fixtures. During these “discussions,” it’s harder to see that as a silver lining. But now I realize that learning to communicate and see things from each other’s point of view has become especially handy when it comes to parenting and taking care of our home.
From the beginning we have had an equal partnership in sharing the responsibilities of house and home… We balance each other’s habits (I create organizational systems and he attempts to maintain them; I bring in the mail every day and he sorts it and pays the bills) and we have a similar tolerance for clutter and mess (relatively high, unfortunately). But over the last few months, as I grew from pregnant to “really uncomfortably very pregnant” and then transitioned to “holy crap I just pushed a baby out of me,” our equal partnership went out the window. Jason took on an entire “second (and third) shift” of cooking, cleaning, laundry, taking care of the kids, taking care of me and doing pretty much anything that needed doing in our house, while my second shift (and sometimes first shift, too) consisted mostly of eating ice cream on the couch.
Love is a funny thing. I fell in love with Jason during a relatively carefree time in our lives – we went on dates, traveled, and built a foundation for our relationship. And that love runs strong and deep. But this love, the love that comes from seeing your partner take care of you and the life you’ve created together, is its own breed. And I count my lucky stars every day to have it, and to have Jason. I love you.
And, just for fun… here’s schmoopie.