In the beginning there isn’t a ton that can be done that doesn’t come from the mother, especially a breastfeeding mother. It should be pretty expected that the baby’s life on the outside is quite attached to the mama, the lovely term “4th trimester” comes to mind. I wasn’t going too far from Archie for awhile, and aside from diaper changes and holding or swaddling the babe between feeding or sleeping sessions, there wasn’t a lot Rupert could do, but the older Archie gets the easier it is for help to step in and for Rupe to contribute.So without further ado, here is how we’ve struck a balance that is working for us. To outline it simply, I’ve broken up our average workdays into morning, day, and evening.
Morning: Most mornings I get up when Archie gets up (around 6/6:30). I breastfeed him first thing and then pass him off to Rupert and he takes Arch for what we call the morning shift. He changes him, makes him breakfast and plays with him until around 8:30. This gives me enough time to either catch some extra z’s or get some work done.
Daytime: Three days a week I have a nanny come to the house and look after Archie during the day (you can read more about my work balance here), but even on those days I make his lunch and make sure to keep things (naptimes and feed times) on schedule. The other two week days, I have the little nugget all to myself.
Evening: Most evenings Rupert is home in time for an evening walk together and then he will take over for bath time and the bedtime routine… pajamas, books, etc. and then he’ll pass him back to me to nurse him and put him to bed.
So this is a typical day/week, but there’s always the atypical… Rupe tries to schedule client dinners or late nights at work on days that I have the nanny, when possible, because he is thoughtful (most of the time) and because chasing around a toddler all day and then doing the bedtime routine and sorting out dinner makes for a LONG day. The bedtime routine and evenings with Arch are a delight if you haven’t already been thoroughly exhausted from a non-stop toddler rearing day. And then there are days when I have an evening out (which is way more rare), Rupe still gets nervous about being the one to put him to bed but now Archie gets it, the routine is ingrained in him and without me it usually isn’t a problem.
On weekends, when we are both around, we share the load pretty equally. Rupert still does his morning shift and the rest of the day is usually spent all together. Diapers, meal times, putting archie down for a nap, chasing him around making sure he doesn’t put rocks in his mouth or our phones in the dog bowl… we both do it all. When a need arises it usually ends up being whoever it is most convenient for at the time, we are both on duty.
Even though we both work, I am home more and my schedule is more flexible. I am able to work odd hours and fit things around Archie’s day so I am the keeper of his schedule, the shopper, the meal planner (except breakfast), the activities planner, the grocery getter (which has now been changed to delivery thanks to instacart), and the milk producer. Rupert works more regular hours so he isn’t around as much during the weekdays but makes up for it in the mornings and evenings, making breakfast, taking Archie (and the dogs) for walks, and doing bath time.
The best thing about co-parenting is that if I have to leave for a day or two there isn’t a huge palaver. Archie is just as comfortable and familiar with Rupert and the nanny, so it’s a fairly seamless transition. It always bugs me when the mother is out of town and someone refers to the dad as “babysitting”. Rupert doesn’t babysit, he parents, and he’s pretty damn good at it. So how do you guys divvy up the duties?
And check out my previous posts from the series here.