S and B were over with their 6 week old last week. It’s always interesting to meet other new parents who have similar social moral values and codes as you. It gives you so much to reflect on and decide on where your own daily parenting is concerned.
However, that’s not the story here. Something S said caught my attention. He and k were discussing work and timings and hours and basically catching up (they have known each other years) while B and I did the whole baby routine. How are the nights? Are you breastfeeding? Do you miss work? Does he respond yet? Sleep patterns, poop patterns, us as stay-home moms, missing work routine, other moms, pre-schooling- basically the whole thirteen yards. I had just finsihed saying to B how despite working from home and all, it was difficult because no matter what you are doing, it is like a part of your brain now always belongs elsewhere. You cannot help it. You cannot shut off, even for a few minutes. It’s like being permanently on red alert. The guys stopped their talk to turn to listen to us and then S, walking to where his baby was lying down, picks him up, and turns to k and says, “No matter how much we are part of this, it’s funny how we can still manage to shut off. Do our thing. I mean like life has changed but if I have to do my own thing, I can. B can’t anymore.”
It’s true, I realized. K is a wonderful dad in the making. He does nappy changes at night when I am too pooped (literally!) to move. He does night feeds when I can manage to wake him for them. There is boys’ playtime (read: my showertime), boys’ s naptime (read: my internet time). He is great to have around. He even makes dinners on the nights when the hobbit (our live-in all rounder) goes away for her weekend. I couldn’t ask for more. But yes the truth of it all is, he can shut off. Go to sleep. Have his down time. And we, the women, cannot- atleast not without extensive prior planning. And even then the mind isn’t ours completely to do with as we please. It’s a mom thang.