I woke up to the sound of someone calling my name. "Brittany, wake up. Wake up, the baby is crying." I blink my eyes, and glance at the clock. It is 2:00am. My husband stands over me and nudging my arm. The words suddenly resonate, as I hear the cries of our toddler in her room down the hall. I drag my body from bed and go to take care of her. Just Like I always do. Just like I have always done.
Our daughter slept in our bedroom, and until she slept through the night my husband had moved into the guest room. I cannot describe in words the extent of the isolation I felt on those long nights—the sleep deprivation and frustration over not being able to get our child to sleep.
Even after I had gone back to work full-time, our routine stayed the same. I discussed my angst with my husband. But I was exclusively breast feeding, and since I had to work full time, I did not want to use any of my pumped milk for night time feedings. So there was very little he could so to help. So he slept, in a different room, and it was just me and our baby.
I suppose we fell into a comfortable routine. One born out of the stereotype of what role a father and mother play in raising a child. Of how we were raised, and what our gut was telling us. To my husband I was the one that was to take care of our child, and he was to take care of everything else.
I know my husband loves our daughter very much, he is a good hard working man and a wonderful father. But he is not the type of father I thought he would be. He is not involved in her life the way I had hoped he would be, the way I wished the father of my child would be. Because of this he does not understand her the way I do. He cannot read her and know what she needs, and it causes both of them a lot of frustration.
I always thought it was all just the way he is. Part of it may be, but then the other day he told me that he will spend more time with her when she gets a little older, because he doesn't know what to do with her now.
I don’t know why I never thought of that.
For me motherhood just came to me like a second nature. From the instant our daughter was born, something clicked inside of me and I just knew what to do, what to try, how to do it. But it isn’t the same for all people, and maybe it isn’t the same for him. Maybe he doesn’t just know what to do. The reason he isn’t the kind of father I had hoped he would be is because he is still learning and growing. He may not be the kind of father I had thought, or hoped, he would be. but he is a great one. A kind and loving father that is always there when our daughter needs him.
Parenting is a lot of hard work. It is a lot of trial and error. As you grow as a parent, and learn about you child, you also learn about yourself.
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