Today I'm so excited to introduce you to the ultimate internet support group of moms I admire. It's a series called Real Talk With Real Moms where fellow stylish blogger moms post about a different topic once or twice a month, and in that no-bullshit, all-out-on-the-table way that I love, respect, and flat-out demand for myself and for you guys as readers. When I first became a mom, I would read these girls' posts like the Bible and take in their wisdom and experience like a sponge. When I was having the breastfeeding pain those first few months, and then when I was wondering how I would ever learn to balance work and parenthood, reading their posts was like therapy. So now as a mother myself, I'm thrilled to get to be a part of this group and share my own experience on the topics as well as introduce you guys to these talented ladies if you don't know them already! Even if you're not a mom, you might still find all their stories interesting and insightful.
Today, we're talking about co-parenting with your partner/spouse. When I was growing up, I came from a more traditional family dynamic where my dad was the worker bee of the family (he was an airline pilot) and my mom stayed at home with me and my sister. In Ian's family, both parents worked. So we have a range of upbringings between us, but either way it's safe to say that the traditional roles have been redefined for today's generation. Work is something that is important to both Ian and I, and I never wanted to exclusively be a mom. My career/creative endeavors are key to my happiness, and becoming a mother wasn't going to change that (hence my initial hesitations about having our first baby - a story for another day).
But the one thing I was confident about was that Ian was going to be a hands-on dad without any coaxing. He has always been so excited for every detail - from picking out baby gear, going to pediatrician appointments, pushing the stroller around, playing Drake and having dance parties with her (which sometimes makes it onto Snapchat), making up songs to sing her (honestly that guy has so many well written silly songs in his heart) and yes - changing diapers. I can't imagine it being any other way in our family. We both work and we don't have a nanny (yet), so raising Sailor has gotta be a joint effort if not for logistics, then for emotional stability and general sanity.
Honestly, at 7 months of parenthood, it still feels fairly new and I wouldn't exactly call it clockwork yet, but it's definitely gotten much more effortless as time as gone on. In the very beginning, Ian was thrown into carrying a lot of the weight because breastfeeding took everything I had in me. If I wasn't feeding her, I was mentally and physically preparing for (let's face it - dreading) the next feeding so all the other stuff was basically left to him while I tried to cope. I mean, it was painful for me to even hold her so there wasn't a lot I could do while I was in this state. He basically changed all the diapers, swaddled her and put her down for all her naps, bathed her, Facetimed with the grandparents, gave her the last feeding of the day, and slept with one eye open to monitor her sleeping in the bassinet on his side of the bed (we called it "The Night's Watch"). To leave all those things to him was both painful for me as a mom because I was missing out and not learning a lot of things that he was getting good at, but also something I am to this day unendingly grateful for because I don't know how I could have gotten through those first few months without him taking such a big role. As time went on and breastfeeding started to get easier, his ability to jump right in and do those things was second nature and now we have a really good thing going.
When it comes down to the actual logistics, we do a bit of a dance between us, multitasking and passing her back and forth for different parts of the routine. A typical day goes like this:
Sailor is our alarm clock that goes off around 6 or 6:30 every morning. Ian goes to get her up, change her, and bring her to me in bed for the first feeding - a routine we've kept since day 1 (except it used to happen all throughout the night as well).
For the next 1-2 hours, it's a mad hustle between us because so much has to happen in a short period of time. While Ian gets ready for work and walks the dogs, I prep our breakfast and coffee (COFFEEEEE) while Sailor plays. Then one of us feeds her solids while we eat our own breakfast, then he goes to work and it's time for her next feeding and nap around 9. I don't usually get around to showering until after she's napping, which sometimes only lasts for 20-30 min, but hopefully I get an hour so I can also tidy up and do my makeup before it's onto the next round of mom duties for the day.
While Dad's at work, it's the Mom/Sailor/work juggling act. She hasn't been a big napper since about 4 months, but I try to get some solid work done whenever she is asleep because it's the only time during the day without distractions. It's best if we have an activity like my Mommy and Me class or a couple of mild errands to do because I feel like it keeps us both balanced, occupied, and happy. Around 5pm, I find myself watching the clock and sending a lot of "ETA?" texts to Ian. The other day it was "It's called 9-5, not 9-5:01." ;) Not annoying at all, I'm sure. But those late afternoon hours are brutal sometimes because she gets extra bored, tired despite refusing to nap, and I get more desperate for some uninterupted time to finish the work I need to finish before the day is over.
Ian doesn't usually get home until 7 at which point I'm definitely ready for a break and it's time for what we call Pumpkin Preservation (trying to keep Sailor from turning to a pumpkin before we're ready to put her down). She's fussy but Ian wants a little time with her before it's bedtime, so he'll do her evening routine - solids, bath (every other night), bottle, and PJ's while I try to finish my work or start dinner. Then it's time to hand her off to me for her final feeding and bedtime at about 8. While I do that, he takes over dinner duty. Then we eat dinner at 8:30 or 9 and... wine. All the wine.
Weekends are a godsend. No work means there's two of us to do it all full time, and I finally get a chance to do more "me time" things like nail appointments.
Right now for us co-parenting is all about the logistics of getting Sailor's needs met while still allowing each other as many of our personal priorities as we can. That's a challenge in itself but we haven't even gotten to the part of co-parenting that involves more complex challenges like discipline and being on the same page, making decisions about her schooling and future, teaching her lessons, etc. Some of the other moms are more at that point with older kids, so I'll be interested to read about what co-parenting means to them. Be sure to read their posts:
Jen from The Effortless Chic
Eden from Sugar & Charm
Rebecca from A Daily Something
Hilary from Our Style Stories
Caitlin from Sacramento Street
Amy from Parker Etc
Alex from Ave Styles
Erin from Apartment 34
I'd love to hear your co-parenting challenges and stories too so be sure to leave a comment and tell me all about it!
Photography by Heather Kincaid