Recently, Josh teased me, asking if all mommy bloggers sounded like single moms. Hmm, I smiled. I don’t know…why – do I? I asked him, already knowing the answer. Well, yeah, he shrugged and smiled back, kind of. Well, I’m just getting started, I told him, you’ll figure in soon enough. But we both also knew that, at least for now, there may be some truth to that impression, especially since Josh is teaching full-time and coaching varsity football, and I am not.
For most new parents, this shift in responsibilities is not uncommon, I suspect, once the dad returns to work after only a week or two of paternity leave. For the past few months, however, we’ve been living in a bubble – having the luxury to both be home with Dylan in his first months of life, while on our summer break. During that time, I didn’t wash a single cloth diaper nor clean a single bottle. Josh was up for every nighttime feeding/pumping with us (because Dylan was considered a preemie, we needed to wake him up to feed every three hours and it required a team effort to figure out what the hell we were doing). Josh walked the dogs on a daily basis, prepared every meal (even if it meant just heating up food friends had dropped off), and did all the laundry. Aside from feeling a bit like a host to my baby parasite, I was a kept woman. Now, the tables have turned. I have the continued luxury of remaining at home with Dylan until the end of the first quarter, but Josh does not.
Because he’s a morning person, and because he wants to beat the traffic, Josh leaves for school at 6am every morning. Dylan and I have usually just finished a random “nighttime” feeding at that time, and I am deliriously willing the child to go back to sleep when Josh kisses us goodbye. On nights that he just has football practice after school, he’s home around 6pm; if there’s a game, he’s not home before 10pm, which means that we do not see him for 12 – 16 hours per day. And when he does get home…it’s usually Dylan’s witching hour. Seriously, Dylan sometimes seems possessed as he cries or whines for no reason whatsoever, precisely when Josh is home to hold him. It seems unfair, and yet, I know it is also temporary. Once Dylan is old enough to realize that he has a really fun daddy who wants to play with him and teach him things, the perceived disconnect will dissipate. I just don’t know when that will happen, exactly. Until then, as I become the one doing more of the “single parenting,” I realize more than ever that I could not do it without Josh.