Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My Husband Thinks Parenting Is Really Easy

Tonight B and I went out to dinner (at the Monk's Kettle; it was delicious!) with some friends of ours. The wife is about three months pregnant, so B and I were discussing being parents on our way home.

During the conversation, B comes out with this statement, "It's really easy to be a parent." This is not an off-hand comment (or rather, it was, but that is truly what he thinks). He said something similar at dinner.

I wasn't sure to respond. On the one hand, sometimes I have thought this too. After all, most of parenting is just repeating a set of fairly mundane, simple tasks (feed the baby, change the diaper, dress the baby, put the baby to bed, etc.) over and over and over. Plus little R is an adaptable, healthy, cheerful baby and thus relatively easy to parent. On the other hand, his comment really annoyed me, for the following reasons.

1. I do basically everything child-related. B occasionally changes a diaper here and there, and usually gives little R her bath. Everything else is my responsibility: feeding her, dressing her, getting up multiple times in the middle of the night when she has jet lag, making rules for her and enforcing them, taking her to the doctor... Of course he thinks it's easy, since he doesn't do any of it!

2. Because I do all the child-related chores, B only spends time with little R when it's fun: playing with her, going on family outings, having dinner together. In addition, while he does spend a fair amount of time with her, I am almost always there too (or nearby, like in the next room). If she gets really upset or whiny, she returns to me.

This is partly a deliberate choice on my part: because B is not really a baby-centered person, I thought it would help him develop a better relationship with little R if their interactions were mostly positive. In fact, this policy worked really well: maybe too well?

3. Since all the heavy lifting and almost all the unpleasantness of parenting is done by me, I felt sort of slighted by B's remarks. If he thinks parenting is so easy, then presumably he thinks what I do all day is also really easy (he did not actually say this). Perhaps according to B, I am basically living the life of Riley while he slaves away in the coal mines of work. I admit parenting is certainly NOT the hardest job I've ever had: but it's certainly not the easiest either! Part of me feels like I just make it look easy, and because I am doing a fairly good job, B doesn't see the hard work that led up to the final result. Alternatively, he is just not very observant of what I am doing, since he is preoccupied with his own things.

Maybe I am being too sensitive?


  1. I think I'd have a similar reaction to yours, so I don't think you're being too sensitive. I'm guessing that you do make it look easy and that he's not that observant; I've noticed that my bf is not that observant :P

    Maybe it would be eye-opening for B to take care of little R for a day or two by himself?

  2. Definitely not being too sensitive. I'd feel the same way in your shoes. I agree with kuri--Give R to B for a weekend and let him to the heavy lifting.

    Plus, once little R grows into a not-so-little R, the challenges will completely change. He'll need to adapt to the challenges as she grows, and the only way for him to do that is to get involved with the hard stuff now--that way he doesn't run to you anytime she has a problem in the future.

  3. The roles recently reversed in our house and daddy stayed home with T full time. He finally realized how difficult it was. Also, though - T is different with his dad. Less clingy. WAY not too sensitive. All my friends husbands want babies now (with 18 month old toddlers) and my friends are like - um, of course you want one - you don't DO ANYTHING.

  4. I love that you just lay it all out there like this. I like reading your posts!

    I think you summed it up perfectly, and I agree with the other commenters in that you are not being sensitive. I think your reaction is spot on.

  5. Kuri and Mandy, letting B do it all by himself is a great idea. I haven't done it yet partly because he is busy, but largely because I am worried about his reaction. If he loves it and says, "Wow,that was easy!" I feel as if it would demonstrate that I truly am a whiner. If he never does it, then if he thinks it's easy I can just argue that he doesn't know what he's talking about. Obviously this whole train of thought is silly and I should just take your advice like a sensible person.

    Gigi, I wish I had a similar enough earnings potential to B that we could switch back and forth like that. It sounds like an interesting experience for all of you.

    Lindsay, I am glad you like my posts! Thanks so much for commenting: I love hearing others' opinions.