Friday, June 18, 2010


I got to thinking the other day about how, while I'm not living the life I wanted to or expected to be living, I also probably wouldn't have gotten what I wanted even if T hadn't died, at least specifically around shared parenting and balanced personal time. Sure, it's an old story, and just about all women struggle with it. I would do well to remember, when I fantasize about other women's happy, intact families, that I would probably still have had a lot of weekend time with just me and B. T was a very active dad to his son D, which I was very much in favor of. I was proud of his dedication and commitment, and pleased to support him. Except when I wasn't... because there were occasions when I resented the time he spent on D, away from me and B. He mentioned once that it wasn't really fair -- if D were our child, instead of just his, he would be getting all sorts of brownie points from me for coaching basketball and baseball, going on cub scout camp-outs, taking D to birthday parties, and the like. Instead, as much as I wanted to be gracious and generous, it sometimes felt like he parented D and I parented B, and I didn't like it. In the very early days after B was born, I felt like we started developing a family identity, but somehow the coming and going of D (we had him every other weekday, and every other weekend) diluted the sense of wholeness, the sense of all being focused on the same thing together.

It also meant that often enough, on the weekend, T would be off coaching, or camping, and I would be home alone with B. Or at a mom's group play date -- I belonged to several because having company in the new world of parenting ended up being very important to me. And when we vacationed, it was the four of us. Other than those very early days and weeks when T was a very hands-on, equal partner in figuring out the newborn stuff, I don't remember much that involved just the three of us. Maybe things would have changed as B grew, and D's needs evolved as well, and again, I wouldn't have wanted T to have been a less involved parent. I guess it seemed to me at the time that he was more involved with D than with B, because he counted on me to carry the load with B, and as a much older child, D's needs were more time-consuming, or at least time-specific.

I raised the issue not long before T died. I felt a little petty doing so, because I was asking T to be more of an equal partner knowing that he had a whole additional responsibility in D. Maybe if I hadn't felt somewhat under-appreciated by T in general, I would have had more capacity to be OK with the lopsided situation. However, after that conversation, T started getting up in the mornings while I was showering to start B's morning routine. I would take over, usually during or just after the diaper change. It was a small thing, but it helped. I don't know what would have helped with the weekend situation; and it doesn't matter now.

But I do recognize that some of my grief is in recognition of what I didn't have, along side the pain of losing what I did have.

1 comment:

  1. I get where you are coming from. In our case, my husband co-owned the family farm and spent many, many weekends there while I held the fort .... and the kids.
    It was only last week when I was moaning to a workmate about having to take the kids to the school fete AGAIN by myself and she said "you know, you've really always done these things by yourself anyway, so it's not that much differnt". Much as I hate to say it, she was right.