Welcome to the February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Love and partners!
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month we’re writing about how a co-parent has or has not supported us in our dedication to natural parenting. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
Sometimes I feel like a movie star (minus the designer clothes, personal chef, and big paycheck). After all, I have an entourage that follows me everywhere – even into the bedroom.
Ah, the family bed. I wish I could say I love every moment of cuddling up next to my peaceful cherubs, but then I’d be lying and might end up in the gossip column. Snuggly babies are one thing, but lanky 5-year-olds and toddlers who think Mom is a mattress and cuddle right on top of her leave me feeling more claustrophobic than lovey-dovey at times.
But I remain committed to my fan club.
My husband, on the other hand, loves his nighttime cuddling with his girls. In some ways, I think it’s a way for him to make up for lost time with his daughters since he works long and unpredictable hours. He’s also sensitive to the fact that I’m a light sleeper and that sometimes after a long day of being emotionally and physically present for our little ones, I need some space.
So my husband often volunteers to sleep with the older girls in order to give Star Mommy some time away from the limelight. We’ll have couple time together while all the girls are asleep, and sometimes he stays in bed with me until I fade away into that blissful thing moms spend more time dreaming about than actually doing called sleep.
In the middle of the night, I’ll stir and find an empty space beside me. Sometimes, after I’ve nursed the baby, I’ll peek into the girls’ room where I’ll find three of the people I love the most piled together like puppies. The girls’ legs and arms are jumbled together like challah bread and there’s my six-foot-plus husband wedged in that heap of all things girl. Whenever I see them like that, the same thoughts run through my head.
First, it’s so nice to have a co-star to occasionally take the spotlight off me.
Second, I know my husband isn’t only snuggling with our girls as a favor for me. The same as I know that when he “watches” the girls for an hour, so I can write or exercise, or pray, he’s not thinking of it as a babysitting gig but rather a chance to soak up some one-on-one time with his girls. He is a real partner in this parenting journey. He works long hours to support us and to allow me to be an at-home mom, but when he comes home, he doesn’t just want to be a father figure; he wants to be a hands-on dad. As soon as he walks in the door, he gives each of us a kiss and then he scoops the girls into his arms, tickles them, and asks about our day. He wants to hear all that he’s missed – the funny things they said, the genius I discovered in their crayon scribbles, the baby’s milestones, and how in the world did that orange-hued stain the shape of a Rorschach inkblot end up on our carpet?
He also recognizes that my being a mom is my primary job. In fact, he’s the one who is constantly reminding me to be less. “All you have to do is be a good mom,” he reminds me when I’m stressed about some other “obligation” I’ve forced on myself. “That’s all that really matters.”
He’s been a hands-on father from the moment I was pregnant – quite literally during labor with my first. I was experiencing deep, burning pain in my back, and he remembered what he’d learned in our Bradley classes and bore his fist down onto me to help relieve my labor pains for hours at end. And he never complained until many days after when we were home ooooing and ahhhhing over our baby girl. (He knew better than to mention that he was tired or sore to a laboring mom!)
When he was changing a diaper of our first newborn, I remember how big and capable his hands looked holding her tiny, bright pink feet in the air with one hand and grasping a wipe with the other. My reverie was interrupted when meconium started bubbling out like lava from a volcano.
“Whoa!” he exclaimed. But he didn’t panic. He took care of the mess and actually seemed proud to have witnessed this milestone. “Look at that,” he said, proudly as if to say, “She works! Our daughter works!”
I knew then that the husband I loved and admired had transformed into a father who would always take care of his girls. Even when life got messy, he’d keep his cool and would be here for us.
Once I was in the waiting room of a doctor’s office when a woman commented on the fact that I had three girls. “Well, I hope your husband at least has a boy dog or something.” I smiled politely, but comments about our surplus of X chromosomes annoy me, especially when people assume we want more babies simply because my husband is pining for a boy.
“I wonder if we’ll have a boy next,” I mused recently.
“I wouldn’t know what to do with a boy,” my husband said.
I’m sure we’d do just fine if God sees it fit to give us a boy someday, but it’s true that we have this whole girl thing down quite well. When I see my husband sleeping in a tangle of pink and purple blankets, blond hair and dolls and stuffed animals, I can’t help but think that he sure knows what to do with his girls: He takes care of them. Nothing less, but a whole lot more.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- A Thank You to my Husband — Lactating Girl at The Adventures of Lactating Girl thanks her husband for keeping her grounded and giving her unwavering support in the face of discouragement from within and without. (@lactatinggirl)
- My Reverse Traditional Husband In the Wild — Paige at Baby Dust Diaries gives us a lesson on how dads in the wild parent their young. Can you guess which male animal actually nurses its young? (@babydust)
- February Carnival of Natural Parenting — TopHat at The Bee in Your Bonnet tells us how the patience of a partner can make a difficult breastfeeding relationship succeed. (@TopHat8855)
- Parenting Together — For Alison at BluebirdMama and her husband, parenting is simply an extension of the way they live. (@childbearing)
- If We Had A MIllion Dollars — Melodie at Breastfeeding Moms Unite! and her husband would both agree to be crunchier parents if they had a million dollars to ease the way. (@bfmom)
- February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Co-Parents — Dionna at Code Name: Mama has written a letter to her husband, thanking him for his incredible support in every aspect of their natural parenting journey. (@CodeNameMama)
- Natural Parenting Fathers — Sarah at Natural Parenting is balancing being all there for her son with being present for her husband. (@considereden)
- Just Wonderful: Love and Partners and Natural Parenting — Zoey at Good Goog let her husband lead her to babywearing and cosleeping. (@zoeyspeak)
- All that stuff I don’t get comes so easy to him — The Grumbles is taking this opportunity to say thank you to her husband for his mad parenting skills. (@thegrumbles)
- The Power of Having a Supportive Co-Parent — Chrystal at Happy Mothering and her husband started with vaccinations and moved on from there. (@HappyMothering)
- February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Love and partners — Lauren at Hobo Mama makes do with babbling incoherently about how her husband practices natural parenting in such an effortless fashion, with bonus video. (@Hobo_Mama)
- Love and Partners — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog shares her husband’s moving account of her birth story, and his testament to the power of a woman. (@myzerowaste)
- labor support… — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children is thankful that her partner has provided her immeasurable labor support through each of their last three unassisted homebirths (and will again for their upcoming fourth!).
- What co-parent? On prams, routines, ideals, sickness, and finding my way alone. — Ruth at Look Left of the Pleiades describes life without a present co-parent: making new choices and taking care of things herself. (@brightravenmum)
- Parenting With Support — How many people can say that their husband talked them into cloth diapering? Darcel at The Mahogany Way can! (@MahoganyWayMama)
- Co-Parenting Support — Summer at Mama2Mama Tips knows the importance of being supported in the face of criticism. (@mama2mamatips)
- Natural Parenting Carnival: Love and Partners — pchanner at A Mom’s Fresh Start has been blessed with an incredibly involved partner. Her husband loves to take part in every aspect of parenting! (@pchanner)
- Daddy’s Little Girls — Kate Wicker at Momopoly finds her husband right at home in a tangle of girls. (@Momopoly)
- How do I love my parenting partner? Let me count the ways. — Sybil at Musings of a Milk Maker is thankful that she and her partner co-parent fluidly and gracefully. (@mamamilkers)
- Interview with a Daddy — NavelgazingBajan brings us a highly amusing peek into her husband’s perspective.
- Being Supported in Natural Parenting — Sarah at OneStarryNight has witnessed both ends of the parenting spectrum, and is grateful she found a father who is comfortable with natural parenting. (@starrymom)
- Moments in time: a love letter — Arwyn at Raising My Boychick will make you cry with the beautiful way she describes the complete relationship between father and child. (@RaisingBoychick)
- Natural parenting converts — Jen at Recovering Procrastinator brought her reluctant husband around to cloth diapers, bed sharing, and time-ins as a discipline method. (@jenwestpfahl)
- Breastfeeding Father — Amber Strocel at Strocel.com describes how her husband helped her overcome the breastfeeding challenges she encountered with her premature daughter. (@AmberStrocel)
- A Natural Parenting Village — Acacia from Art, Body & Soul, in a guest post for Jamie at Suddenly Stay at Home, broadens the term “coparents” to embrace supportive extended family on both sides. (@SuddnlyStyAtHme)
- A Natural Dad — Shana at Tales of Minor Interest doesn’t have a husband who merely supports her — she has a husband just as dedicated to natural parenting as she is.
- Love and Support From My (sometimes pantsless) Man — Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch Momma describes life with the sometimes bumbling but always lovable Pantsless Man. (@kitchenwitch)
- G-O-T-E-A-M! — Jessica at This Is Worthwhile made sure her future husband agreed with her parenting choices early in their dating. (@tisworthwhile)
- how we come to parenthood — Michelle at womanseekingmother dances with her husband around the subject of cosleeping. (@seekingmother)