I'm an LA-based writer who, after years of covering sex tips and diet tricks for magazines and the web, has recently discovered a new hard-hitting topic: Mommyhood! With two identical twin baby boys to raise (pause for audible gasp), I'm sleepless and brainless, but wow, am I in love. And like any smitten girl, I can't seem to shut up about these little guys, totally caught up in the highs and lows (cause yes, there are lows) of being a new Mommy.
Before I had kids, I'd look at my friends who were already parents -- tired and run-down, lacking any of that spark they had pre-baby -- and think, "Oh, I would never let that happen to us." It's what we all say before we become parents, as we make googly eyes at each other over a shared cheese plate and shake our heads at those poor, sad saps (the parents of young kids) at the next table.
When I was pregnant, we agreed to still make our relationship a priority. We would get babysitters regularly. And, since we were homebodies anyway, we wouldn't really mind staying in most Saturday nights, right? But what neither of us was really prepared for was the strain that having kids put on our day-to-day. Despite our best intentions, our babies put a damper on our relationship.
A gentlemen's lunchAt 15 months old, my twin boys are starting to transition to one nap, or so it seems. After a couple of weeks of listening to them babble and squeal at each other for an hour straight during their afternoon "nap," I started pushing it back. They don't go down until closer to 3:30 now. That would be fine, except their friends (you know, the super cool babies they met at playgroups who they keep begging me to hang out with) are waking up from their second nap right around the time that my guys are going down. My happy hour playdates -- over! Thanks a lot, kids.
I mean, it's not like I don't get together with my friends, because I do. But it's either because their babies' naps are all effed up too or they just kind of take naps whenever and wherever. So hallelujah for those mom friends who don't have the same rigid parenting philosophies that I do because I need these playdates. Playdates save my sanity!
My boy, before he dived off the couchSo, you know all those things they tell you about toddler boys being really active and wild and mischievous? You know those warnings from Moms of older boys, that usually come with that, "Oh just you wait" smirk? Well, I guess I really should have listened because now that my twins are upright, they've turned into pint-size stuntmen. God help me!
They're climbing on the bookshelves, hanging off the baby gates, walking up slides and racing up playground steps. I want to be cool about it, I do -- not hover, not panic, just let boys be boys. But, dammit, they're my little precious baby boo-boo's and they're going to hurt themselves! Am I really supposed to let them learn the hard way?
It goes without saying that we're all proud of our kids, not just because they're clearly math whizzes/Pulitzer Prize winners/CEOs/cancer-curing doctors in the making, but because, well, they're ours. But when your little baby suddenly becomes a capable little toddler, you start to see glimpses of who he will be, peeks at his character, this budding person-of-the-world. You get to witness these really telling moments, little acts of kindness or bravery that make your heart swell with pride, bring weepy, happy tears to your eyes. They're the moments you want to video and share with your friends and family. Oh never mind, you just put them up on Facebook because, hell yeah, you think everyone needs to know.
A couple of weeks ago, my 14-month-old twin boys started walking, and while I was obviously proud of those first steps, I was even more proud of the steps they took to get there.
All right, I'm just going to say this: The vast majority of Dads don't do nearly as much as the Moms do when it comes to child-rearing. Sure, they're devoted and loving and all of that, they take their kids to baseball games and out for ice cream and roughhouse with them on the floor. But when it comes to the day-to-the-day, I'd say that for the most part, it falls squarely on Mom's shoulders, whether you're a working Mom or stay-at-home. (Of course, stay-at-home Dads are rock stars when it comes to parenting, so they're not included in this discussion.)
You could blame it on women's natural impulse to nurture, and men's natural impulse to provide. But I call bullshit on all of that. I think the reasons why Dads don't often pull as much of the parenting weight is because we let them off the hook too easily. And then we resent them for not doing enough.