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?