The Business of Even

Kristen Chase
Love & Sex
7

Co-parenting relationship
Flickr photo by hans_s
It only took a few years for me to come to grips with the fact that my husband and I will never have the co-parenting relationship that I had always envisioned.
 
I know. I'm a super fast learner.
 
Regardless of how much he did when he got home, it would never make up for the fact that I was alone for however long I was alone for with all the kids. Doing everything. With no time off.
 
And so the same argument ensued. If you're a sometimes single mom, this might sound familiar:
 
"Work? Please. That's easy. You're enjoying a hotel room, adult dinners, heck, a drive alone in a rented car with no Cheerios stuck on your thighs."
 
Then he attacks back:
 
"I know you think my job is easy, but there's no down time. It's not like I'm out partying the whole time. I eat, sleep, and go into work."
 
You laugh. He sighs. And you end up huddled on your own side of the bed seething. 

You obviously think he's got things way better than you. And he thinks you have it better than him, or at least, he thinks his job is definitely not the Carnival Cruise you make it out to be.
 
Either way, there's never any resolution. Just resentment, bitterness, and score-keeping in an effort to make things even.
 
Yeah, good luck with that.
 
Since keeping tabs is in my nature, it's been hard to let that go. But to be honest with you, it's made life a lot easier. Of course, it's helped that we've both made an effort to be more in tune with each others' needs. Painful and humbling as it was for both of us, we've resigned to the fact that neither of us actually have it easier; our jobs are equally challenging and tiring, in their own way.
 
And it helps that I've been able to get away too, which is something he encourages me to do, not just for my sake, but for his too.
 
I'm no longer mentally tracking diaper changes, bedtimes, or how many meals I've made. Cripes, my poor husband would be cooking for the rest of his natural life if I tried to make him pay those back.
 
That doesn't mean I don't grit my teeth when he comes home and proceeds to take a nap. Or decides to sleep in when I'd just as soon keep my head under the covers until noon. And as you might have guessed, we still sometimes go to battle over the same old argument.
 
But instead of flying off the handle, I tell him what I need. And I make sure that instead of holding on the resentment, I channel it into frequent visits the the nail salon.
 
But most importantly, I've let go of what I think my parenting relationship be. And I'm starting to accept it for what it is. Uneven. But still pretty darn awesome.

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