I’ve spent the last year being a stay at home mum. And in a way, I was my own boss. I had full control over everything about the baby. I changed the majority of nappies. I breastfed for a year and chose when to start solids and what she ate. I chose her clothes and what she wore. What toys she got to play with and what gifts were kept. I even became her bed for the first three months!
While my boyfriend a good dad, and enjoyed being one, we had very differing opinions on how to raise her, but ultimately, I was the major shareholder.
Sure, it was extremely hard at times. There was one night where she wouldn’t stop screaming, and I was so utterly frustrated and exhausted, I managed to bang my head so hard on our bedroom door, that it cracked!
But, we did manage to survive the first year relatively unscathed.
Over the last month or so, I’ve been actively looking for work, and it’s paid off. I’ve managed to score a casual spot in a lovely little Italian restaurant that’s just a 15 minute walk away. We both needed me to go back to work. Financially and mentally. My boyfriend works days, so the night shift turns out to be perfect right now.
It’s not as much pay as my last job, but then, it’s not half as busy. But it did mean that we could still afford to do the grocery shopping if a bill came.
Secretly, we had only just paid our electricity bill from the winter off. That heater that kept us from freezing, also cost a few months wage. (And a few phone calls to ensure they didn’t cut us off)
What I didn’t realise until just last night, is that it also meant I would lose the majority vote in all things munchkin related. Bedtime for instance. Our munchkin has always been a difficult sleeper. We’ve done everything we can and she is improving, but it’s still anyone’s guess if she will go down at 7 tonight, or fight it for hours.
Last night, she fought hard. After our whole bedtime routine was done, and she was lain down in her cot, drowsy and cosy, my boyfriend stayed in her room, in the dark, waiting for her to succumb to blissful sleep.
Sometimes this works beautifully, sometimes not.
After a half hour, he walked out. We watched her on the monitor. It took her ten minutes to notice. And then the screaming started.
Now, this is where I normally just go in and give her a boob to help her get to sleep. But, it hasn’t been working as easily as it used to. She doesn’t need it, nor does she want it, her belly is still full from dinner.
And there was this other thing…
What happens when I’m working nights and he’s here on his own with her? He has to be able to do this alone now, as I’m not going to be there every night.
I had to let go, trust that he had this. Sure enough, she was down half an hour later, and he went in every ten minutes to calm her down and tell her she was loved and it was bedtime. The bugger actually made it look easy!
But that moment, the stepping back, trusting someone else to do the hard parts of parenting, that was new.
Sure, he has taken over before, normally when I’ve hit my breaking point. This was entirely different. This was letting her go in a small way.
Just as I know I’m going to have to do more and more, little by little, as she grows up and becomes a separate person that’s all her own and not entirely dependant on me.
It’s more than just me and her now. She has so many people in her life now that love her and she loves back. It’s not just me any more.
And that’s OK. This is how it’s meant to be.