We all think about what type of parents we are going to be long before we actually become parents. During pregnancy, those thoughts and discussions with our spouses start to become reality, but it isn’t until we begin to face parenting’s many challenges that we really discover what type of parenting roles we will play.
In my relationship, it seemed pretty obvious that my husband would be more strict and disciplinary while I would be the more relaxed parent that was easily manipulated. In some ways, we do fit into these preconceived roles, but in others, we have surprisingly been the complete opposite.
For some things, as hard as we both try, our son seems to prefer one parent over the other… Dad is the playtime parent while I am the cuddly, comforting parent.
When it comes to diapering and bath time, we call dad the “Nascar pit crew” and mom is like “going to the spa”.
So how are we totally different than we ever thought we would be?
My favorite example of this extreme role reversal has been with schedule and sleep routines. In our pre-baby lives, my husband is more organized and schedule-driven than I am (which is somewhat hard to do), but post-baby, I find myself laying down the law much more than I would have ever thought! While I am relaxed on vacations and on busy weekends, I try to keep a basic routine throughout the week. My son has slept in his crib since around 5 months and prior to that slept in a bassinet in our room. On weekends, for some precious extra sleep, we bring him in bed for some morning snuggles. (Everyone’s schedule and routine is different, this is what works for us.) While we all LOVE baby snuggles, I did not expect to see my husband high-stepping into our room, sneaking our baby into bed around 3am one night (he was happily sleeping in his own room! And hubby was literally high stepping, looking like the “Grinch who Stole a Baby” and I am seeing this with a half-opened eye and no glasses on). When the baby fully woke up and realized he had been disturbed, this ended in mom spending over an hour between breastfeeding and rocking to get little one back to sleep! I constantly have to remind him of this when he asks me, should I bring little guy in bed?
Our biggest misconception? That we as the adults are in charge! We have quickly realized that since day one we have been in our son’s training program learning from him. It continues to amaze me how we learn to determine needs based on different cries or cues and that even with little to no words we know what our babies need. But, whatever your parenting style, the most important is to do what works for your family. As our children grow and our families continue to change, so will our parenting. Adapting to the ever-changing environment and doing what is best for our family is what makes all of us great parents (even if occasionally that means breaking our usual routine and bringing an inconsolable baby in our bed at 3 am to get a few more hours of precious sleep.) Hey, a somewhat rested parent is important for the functionality of the whole family.
What are some ways you or your spouse are different than you expected as a parent?