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Natural Parenting Fathers

by admin on February 9, 2010

Welcome to the February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Love and partners!

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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.

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Let me just start by saying that I have the most amazing husband in the world.  He has always been extremely supportive, especially so since Axel’s birth.  He’s been marching right beside me throughout breastfeeding, co-sleeping, EC’ing, cloth diapering, and all the rest of my “natural parenting” ideals.  I am 100% certain that I would have failed miserably at many of those things if he hadn’t been there to not only encourage me, but also to participate.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to put Axel’s undies on to wash, only to find that Patrick has already washed, dried, and put them away.  (That’s on top of him working 45+ hours a week!)  He is THE man.

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A lot of our parenting ideas actually originated with Patrick.  He wants to live naturally.  He wants me to stay home and raise Axel.  He wants to be a good example.  We have the same goals.  We have a unified focus.  I think that’s what marriage is all about.

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It’s not as if we never disagree.  That’s hardly the case.  We have differing opinions on many things, but we usually talk it over, and come to an agreement of some sort.  It just so happens that most of the time we end up with the same thinking on the issues we discuss.  (Although, I’ll admit, sometimes I am quick to throw out Patrick’s ideas, only to later decide that he was right.  I’m a stubborn woman.  Nobody is perfect. :))

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Luckily, Patrick isn’t perfect either.  He has jumped quite a few hurtles along this natural parenting road.  Co-sleeping is a great example.  Logically, he understands the concept, and truly believes it’s the best possible sleeping situation for our son.  I know that he would have a hard time keeping Axel in a crib, especially in a separate room. 

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Despite all that, he misses me.  Of course, that’s very understandable.  He had me all to himself before our baby boy was born, but now it seems like all my time, love, and above all, both my breasts, are devoted to Axel.  We don’t get to cuddle as much.  We don’t get to talk to each other at night after Axel has gone to sleep due to fear of waking him.  Worst of all, we don’t get to get down and dirty in our own bed!  As Patrick says, he “just needs some lovin’!”

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None the less, he has been the ultimate trouper.  I don’t think I’ve heard him complain even once!  I can sense his annoyance, though.  I don’t think it’s gone as far as him being resentful, but it has caused him some grief, which I hate.  He has been an amazing, and understanding daddy.  I want him to be as happy as possible, which is why I’ve started to find other ways of pleasing him (i.e. – getting naked).  Unfortunately, at this point, there’s not much to work with.  I’m really debating having my sister in law watch Axel for an hour or two every once in awhile, so we can have some time for just us.

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So far, I’ve only left Axel once, for about 2 1/2 hours, and it wasn’t at all planned.  My friend went into labor, and Patrick was unable to get home from work immediately, so I had to leave Axel with his sister.  It was horrid.  I’ve never been that anxious in my life. 

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Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way, but leaving my baby while he’s this young really feels unnatural to me.  I think he’s supposed to be with me right now, all the time.  I realize doing that isn’t even possible for most people, but for me it is, and I think I should take advantage of that privilege.

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I know Patrick gets that.  He trusts my judgement, even when it means he loses out on a little extra attention.  I am so blessed.  I know there are people out there who wish that their spouse was as understanding as mine, so I really need to step up and treat him well.  I want to be as good a wife as he is a husband, even if that means silently doing the deed in our 4 by 4 foot closet at 6am.  He deserves it.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated Feb. 9 with all the carnival links, and all links should be active by noon EST. Go to Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama for the most recently updated list.)

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Darcel February 20, 2010 at 5:04 am

I appreciate your honesty in this post. It’s all about balance. That can be hard sometimes. I love your comment about the closet. The bed ain’t the only place to get it on!

Zoey @ Good Goog February 13, 2010 at 9:40 pm

For us, we found a balance between us time and co-sleeping by being part-time co-sleepers. Riley goes to bed in her own room and then if she wakes up, she comes in with us. And of course there are periods when she will only sleep in our bed – sometimes it’s just for a night – sometimes it’s for a month – and that’s ok too. But I think that’s also a lot easier to do when they’re a bit older (she’s 22 months). It sounds like a cliche, but the baby stage is over so quickly. My husband used to wish Riley would sleep in her own bed from time to time, now he misses her and likes it when she comes in to sleep with us.

NavegazingBajan February 10, 2010 at 3:38 pm

I’m lucky in that I have a great babysitter for those times when I need to go to work away from home. I was also afraid to leave him for long the first time away but it’s worked out pretty well. I do however want to find a way to be home with him more often. Luckily I don’t ever have to work overtime or anything like that.

Oh and yes co-sleeping can definitely put a crimp in the lovin’ but then it just forces you to get more creative ;).

Rachel February 10, 2010 at 4:44 am

Seasons. There are seasons in life, aren’t there? The season you’re in can be so hard to make time to be together. Leaving the baby with a trusted person for an hour or two may OK soon. If it’s a date, you might even feel good about it. Or not. But you will eventually.

And who wants to have sex in bed?

Michelle February 10, 2010 at 2:15 am

Having not been a co-sleeper, I am envious reading about the struggles of finding a balance between marriage and baby especially at night. It is clear that you know your baby and your husband and have a great deal of support from him. I don’t doubt that your marriage and your child will thrive from all of your thoughtful decisions. It does seem impossible to leave the babies. We had some help in the early weeks but since then he is with me all the time. I don’t trust anyone with him even now and he is almost a year. It does just feel right.

Amber February 9, 2010 at 8:43 pm

It does feel unnatural leaving your very small baby. I struggled with this a lot with my first child. With my second, it was much easier for both my husband and me. No matter how many times you hear it, it’s hard to understand how FAST the early months and years go until you’re looking back on them. My first child is going to turn 5 in 10 days and it feels like just yesterday that she was born. This time around we know that pretty soon our kids will be bigger and have interests of their own, so it’s easier for us to just accept that the little one and I travel as a pair.

Although I will admit, I don’t particularly enjoy the closet lovin’, myself. But with 2 kids, one of whom will wake up and go for a walk, you do what you have to do. ;)

Jessica - This is Worthwhile February 9, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Finding balance is always the hardest part. Getting naked in the closet might be one of the easiest parts (hahah that made me laugh out loud!).

And like Lauren, I really appreciate your honesty about your struggles and your love for your husband. I know it’s an adjustment for every couple when a baby enters their lives and we all figure it out one way or another.

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama February 9, 2010 at 5:39 pm

I completely understand not wanting to leave your baby! We didn’t leave Kieran with anyone (and we are REALLY selective about who watches him) until he was almost a year old, and that was only for an hour so we could slip out to dinner. Even now I don’t leave him for more than about 2 hours at a time (although of course I understand parents who do leave babies with caregivers for work, etc.). Most of it is Kieran’s personality – he just prefers/needs to be with me, and we are in a situation where we can respect that need.

mandy @ living peacefully with children February 9, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Listening to one another is such a greta way to communicate! It also sets up a wonderful model for your son. Thank you for sharing.

the Grumbles February 9, 2010 at 4:38 pm

Ha! I love it. We have the same struggle with co-sleeping. With both like it and know it’s a great solution for our family but we miss each other, and talking in bed, and the sexytime action. It seems to be the one thing we struggle with most. But I totally agree with Lauren, this time with the babies being so little is pretty short, we can tough it out for them.

Lauren @ Hobo Mama February 9, 2010 at 4:08 pm

I love how honest you are about the struggles and blessings of co-parenting. It is hard! I know Sam and I have struggled a lot with resentment (not sure if that’s the right word — nostalgia?) at how much our lives have been turned upside down from our more carefree and selfish pre-child days to now. All I can suggest is that you both be patient with each other and the situation. I’ve found it gets easier over time. I was really depressed about seven months postpartum and felt a lot of pressure at that time to have it all together as a mom PLUS take care of Sam’s needs, and I just kind of imploded. In retrospect, I was putting most of that pressure on myself, and it wasn’t from Sam at all, but that’s how I perceived it. What helped was to be open about that with him and for both of us to air our frustrations and longings and then get on with life.

We also found ways to weave more of what makes us ourselves into our lives, such as writing and art. But it took awhile for me to have the mind space to do that and parent, because parenting is so consuming!

Another thing that has helped, though, is to remind myself that this time with young children is finite, and that as adults, Sam and I can stand to wait to have our needs met. That said, I totally agree about being respectful of his naked-time needs! ;)

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