Division of labor

Just an update on the daycare situation….

Every day seems to be improving.  Curly is learning to sleep better and the past 2 days, he’s taken all 3 of his bottles there.  We are really finding our stride with regards to our new schedule.  Here’s a sample of our weekday:

7:00 Alarm goes off. Nutella wakes Curly, changes him, and gives him his first bottle.  Strawberry hops in the shower.

7:30 Strawberry brings Curly downstairs for some playtime, makes coffee, feeds the dog, and prepares breakfast for Curly.  Nutella takes her turn in the shower.

8:00 Curly gets breakfast from either Strawberry or Nutella while the other one prepares his bottles for day care.

8:15 Nutella warms up her car, Strawberry gets Curly into his coat.

8:20 Nutella loads up Curly into her car and takes Curly to daycare.  Strawberry heads to work.

Nutella generally gets to work just before 9am, Strawberry is at work by 8:30ish (yes, we both have short commutes)

4:30 Strawberry leaves work and picks up Curly at 4:45

5:00 Strawberry and Curly get home, change as needed and into the crib for a nap. Nutella leaves work. Strawberry washes that day’s bottles and nipples.

5:20ish Strawberry feeds the dog. Nutella gets home, makes dinner and the mommies eat.

6:15 Curly is woken from his nap. Plays a bit and then…

6:30 Curly gets dinner, then straight into the tub, followed by a little bit of playtime, one final bottle from Strawberry, and then back in bed for the night at 7:15

7:30 Quiet household chores together, then chill time.  Some nights we take turns going out to do an activity/ hobby or shopping (for personal sanity)

The thing about our parenting style is that we have always striven for equality, and that equality has come very naturally to us. In our relationship, it has always been Nutella cooking and Strawberry cleaning because that follows our inclinations. Now that Curly is here, it’s no different. I enjoy cooking dinner, meal planning and grocery shopping, as well as preparing Curly’s food. Strawberry’s goal is to keep the house in order and she enjoys doing the laundry. In the summer, we share yardwork duties and our bills are split as evenly down the middle as possible. We have separate bank accounts, but another shared one for special savings. We’ve never really had to have a discussion about splitting things like this- it always felt comfortable to us, although it helps that for the past couple of years, we’ve made roughly the same salary.

There’s been a lot going around in the blog/forum world where one parent feels more left out in the parenting relationship for whatever reason…one of the biggest reasons being that the non-gestational parent is not breastfeeding. For us, this was never an issue, but it was important for us to figure out why, when it seems like such a big issue for so many other couples. We think it’s in part because breastfeeding to us meant feeding the baby, and that always fell under my preferred responsibilities. For me, it was more about providing nourishment for Curly and not  just the emotional bonding. Strawberry never felt threatened by our breastfeeding relationship, or left out (well, she was left out of course, but didn’t mind). When he was upset and we wanted to soothe him, he was not offered the breast unless he was truly hungry. It would be up to whichever one of us was feeling more mentally capable of handling his baby meltdown at the time. Strawberry did more diaper changes and loved dressing him and I felt fine letting her take the lead on those things.

As you can see in the schedule above, we try to make sure duties are split and care is equal. We consider ourselves lucky that our natural likes and dislikes matched up so well. It works for us and we hope it continues to do so.

16 responses to “Division of labor

  1. Glad you guys are getting into your stride. Things are “equal” in different ways around here.

    Typical day for us (if Holland sleeps until we wake him, which he hasn’t done the past 2 days) –

    5:40 – alarm goes off and I get up and eat break, make my lunch, take the dog out, feed the cat, get a bottle warmed up.

    6:00 – Greta gets up and gets in the shower

    6:15 – I get in the shower while Greta gets him dressed

    6:25 – I get dressed and ready while she feeds him his bottle

    6:40 – I feed him his breakfast and Greta leaves

    6:55 – I start to get him ready for daycare and get all of our crap out the door

    4:00 – I leave work and pick Holland up and we get home around 4:30

    Half the time Greta gets home around 5:30 and half the time she doesn’t get home until after 8 so I’m on my own a lot of the time.

    Oh welllllllll

  2. Hi- I am an avid reader of your blog. thanks for sharing all your experiences with us. I have a question about how you did maternity leave. I remember reading *i think* that nutella took the first 3 months and strawberry the second? how did this work exactly – did strawberry also take time right when miles was born and then take an additional 3 months later? this is my source of great angst as i am the NGP and I don’t want to have to go back to work right away and leave my baby with DP, but on the other hand can’t imagine my work will give me a month when baby is due and then another substantial leave a few months after. (we are actively TTC now). it seems like the maternity leave / SAHM situation is what can really make things feel unequal. thanks for any insights you (or other commenters) have!

  3. sounds like a dream schedule to me! i live about 40 mins away from work so my schedule starts at 5:30am usually. miles is an adaptable little man :] he is doing great because he has two mommies who work so well together. you are a beautiful couple and a lovely family

  4. Every sign of a great team! Tiff and I are much the same and even though I am breastfeeding, she takes a feeding every night with milk I pump to feed him and allow me to sleep. I can imagine this joumey is very hard without good teamwork and a great partnership.

  5. It is wonderful that you are able to work so smoothly together. It is such a great strength to have as a couple. I have to admit that it is something that I think about… not so much worry, but THINK…How are we going to split the work (and the love) especially because we have fairly different schedules and Speedy can’t take time off for parental leave. It is going to be a real challenge (if, inshallah, we get there.) But you have worked out a great system & that is a source of inspiration!

  6. love the photo:)

  7. You guys are great together and Miles is a lucky boy. Its great to hear that he is getting used to his daycare situation and taking all 3 of his bottles now… no more food strike for him!

    Love the pic by the way, you make a beautiful family! Even if all we see are the backs of your heads!

  8. Miles is one lucky little boy to have you two for his Mommies. Keep up the great job!

  9. You function very much the way we do. I never had any issue with my partner breastfeeding our sons either. I always did our first son’s baths which I felt was a great way to bond because it’s a fun time. Now with two, we function more on a “who’s-not-too-tired-to-do-this” basis, including bath time. LOL. But generally we take turns. I do Ian’s bath one night while she does Erik’s, and then we switch next time. We also take turns reading to our older son at bedtime. Both our kids have very strong bonds with both of us.

    You’re doing a great job!

  10. Thanks for sharing this. S. and I are still wading through the sharing of baby responsibilities, since she’s at work full time and I’m home. You two seem to have things down pat!

  11. Just wanted to say that things were very different when one person was home from work (first Nutella for 3 months, then me). I know that taking care of Miles all day long took its toll on us, and as soon as Nutella walked through the door, I’d hand Miles to her and she’d handle most of the evening care.

    Now that we’re both at work, it’s both easier and harder. We’re able to split things much better, although in exchange, we both see him less 😦

  12. We also treat feeding primarily as feeding (though recognize it does come with built in bonding time, and strive to make sure a similar quantity of bonding time for NGP comes in other ways).

    LizL regarding leave, if you are in a state with second parent adoption, you are entitled to 12 weeks of leave available anytime during the year after the adoption is complete (likely unpaid). If you are not in a state with adoption, you are dependent on the good will of your employer or your stash of vacation time. Many employers will not make you wait to take FMLA leave until the adoption is through, but some will, which can cause delays.

    Here’s how we did it for our second kid (I birthed): I took my 10-ish weeks leave right away. My wife was free of teaching duties (as an academic) for the summer anyway, so we both had about 2 1/2 months together. She used FMLA to reduce her teaching load and take three days home for the first year (doing some work on those home days). I work from home two days and do three long days at the office. It’s a juggle, but it mostly works. By all means, take leave as an NGP, even if it means giving up pay, if there is any way you possibly can. I did so as NGP for our first and it was really important for our family.

  13. First, thanks for the comments everyone!

    LizL -here’s how it worked for us. I qualified for up to 18 weeks of “parental bonding time” leave, of which 6 were paid out at 100% from short term disability for my vaginal birth (would have been 8 for a c-section) the remaining weeks were paid for out of my accumulated vacation time or were unpaid. I ended up taking a total of 12 weeks (6 on STD, 5 on vacation, 1 unpaid).

    Strawberry accumulates a lot of leave very quickly at her job. She was qualified to take up to 12 weeks of FMLA within 1 year of his “placement in the home” because she was legally adopting Miles. She took 3 weeks of regualr vacation time right after his birth, 1 week of FMLA when he was 10 weeks old (to go on vacation as a family), and then 11 weeks after I went back to work. All of it was paid out of her accumulated vacation or sick leave. Her boss was very flexible in allowing this and she did work a few hours a week from home in those last 11 weeks. Had our gestational roles been reversed, my company would still have allowed me up to 18 weeks, but I’d have used up my vacation and then the majority of it would have been unpaid.

    Schroe (can I call you Schroe?)- I know that this type of leave wouldn’t work for Speedy, but maybe she can do an adjusted schedule similar to Gail and Lyn?

  14. Wow, guys, thanks for all this helpful info! I am worried that my FMLA wouldn’t kick in (as the adoptive parent) till the adoption goes through, but it sounds like in some cases as soon as the baby is at home it might be possible. So even though it is FMLA, the actual rules are very much dependent on the employer – is that right?
    Also, why is there such variety in whether you can use sick/disability for a maternity leave? my employer – a NYC agency – won’t let you use sick or disability. its so frustrating and ironic since i work for the child welfare agency!

  15. I love this post. It’s reassuring, on many levels, to see that you’ve arrived at this fairly equal and natural breakdown. It sounds so reasonable and manageable and you seem so angst-free about it all. I haven’t yet felt very worried about my role vs. Uno’s b/c we are so egalitarian in general, but the more I read, the more I start to wonder if I *should* worry. Must start planning, I suppose. Thanks for sharing this and that photo! I love his little face peeking out, not to mention the colors – it’s quite an amazing shot.

  16. I love that you two can pull off team work even in the morning!

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