Today I am getting ready for our first roadtrip as a threesome to Massachusetts for the week. This is a trip Michael and I have been making six to eight times a year, but never with a little one. Making lists of everything we need for Vedder, I feel like we are packing the entire nursery!! But as first time parents, I'd rather be safe than sorry. ((Even though I know that packing stuffed animals for a seven week old is a little much, but I just cannot seem to get myself to take them out of the bag.))
Taking a bit of a break this morning, I picked up my Parenting Magazine and began to read. Skipping over some articles (("Family Unplugged," because I'm denying all thoughts of how my attachment to my blackberry may be borderline unhealthy)), I came across a page titled "The Okay Dad." Written by a father, it talks about how most fathers just consider themselves to be "okay" at parenthood. In a big orange circle in the middle of the page, reads a very frightening statistic: 6.5 HOURS - AVERAGE TIME MARRIED FATHERS SPEND CARING FOR THEIR KIDS PER WEEK. This makes me so sad!!
The article also pointed out the fact that the percentage of fathers who do not live full time with their children has sharply risen over the past 50 years. This statistic made me even sadder!! Both my husband and myself grew up in what some people call "broken homes." Divorce, custody battles, visitation, splitting holidays, fill memories of parts of our childhoods. Fortunately, my mother remarried to a man, uniting two families and fixing our "broken home." ((Little Known Fact: At the age of 13, I went to court to legally change my last name from Turner to my "step" fathers last name. More Widely Known Fact: I hate writing "step" because I consider him to be the only father I have ever had.)) I also think this is why both Michael and I put alot of pressure on ourselves to be the absolute best parents we can be. I especially think my husband is his worst critic.
Getting back to the article, it also stated "More than half of dads say fathers are replaceable by mothers and other me." MORE THAN HALF!! I see my husband everyday interact with our amazing son and to think that he could be replaced my anyone upsets me. Especially having a son, I consider the father's role to be even more crucial. I think already the time he has had with his son is critical to the growth of both Vedder as a child and Michael as a father and man.
After this vacation in New England, we will head back to New York and I will head back to work. As much as I am going to miss my daytime with my already chatty newborn, I am very excited to get back to work, even if it is only parttime. Whenever this topic gets brought up, the first questions people ask are "Where will Vedder go? Will he come to work with you?" I respond with "He is staying home with daddy." As awful as it is having opposite schedule from my husband, it allows us to save on childcare and offers the opportunity for Daddy Daycare three days a week. It warms my heart to know that we have been giving the opportunity, for atleast Vedder's first year, that Mama and Daddy will be doing the raising. I know this is not the case for most families ((my job is being a daycare teacher)), that is why I feel so fortunate to have our situation. It makes me so happy after reading this article to know that Michael will be be blowing the daddy care time statistic out of the water. Three days with Daddy, four days with Mama, six nights together as a family. I am so excited for the childhood memories that will be made with both of us and Vedder, together and separate.