Today is the fourth annual Blogging for LGBT Families Day, where the LGBT community and allies come together in support of our families. Here is my post for the occasion.
Jeanine and I both work full time. Our son, Sam is nearly six months old. As working mothers, the trade-off is that someone else watches our son during business hours.
A few months before Sam arrived; I reviewed The Feminine Mistake by Leslie Bennetts. Bennetts believes that women have been oversold on the idea they must choose between being good workers and being good mothers. Using extensive data, she suggests that women who stop working even temporarily sacrifice much more than financial stability.
Many of the comments to that post pointed out that there are tradeoffs for either choice, be it stay at home or working.
Jennifer, another writer here at Queercents wrote:
Once you’re in the trenches, you’ll see how the best-laid plans of working moms get covered in sticky fingerprints… there’s no generic experience–as your kid develops, the issues change.
As Dana, host of today’s event at Mombian, wrote:
Parenthood forces partners to rely on each other in many new ways.
Another commenter thought it would be interesting to see me revisit the topic after Sam arrived. Consider this the revisit although this post isn’t really about Sam, sweet and adorable as he is. Why? Because when I’m with Sam, he gets my undivided attention and when I’m working, my career still gets my undivided attention.
The trade-offs and compromises have been more with Jeanine. With work, neither of us has missed a beat. Our childcare started in January and since then, it’s been business as usual. What did change initially was our relationship… and I wrote one post about that, but it’s already out of date because the disagreements stopped by month three.
That said, we’ve had to work really hard to keep things interesting and stay connected beyond Sam. I see how partners can become “buddies” after having a child and in my opinion, that’s the kiss of death in a relationship. Since we both work, our time with Sam is limited so when we’re not working, we want to spend our time as a family. This leaves little time to relate as a couple. I’m not just talking about sex — although that’s changed too… believe you me, we’re exhausted and this personally has impacted my drive. But it’s more than that. It’s about connecting as a couple and not just as a couple of mommies.
A friend recently told me that she thought women who want to work and have kids should only have one kid. She has observed that her friends with one kid do way better than her friends with two kids. Way better in their marriages or partnerships is what she meant by that. She happens to be recently divorced with two young children.
But six months into this, I see her point. If one child has changed our relationship, then I can only imagine what a second one would do to it.
For now, there’s a third person in our relationship (the verdict is still out about having a fourth) and it pulls on the twosome part more than I thought it would. I see why parenting magazines talk about the need for “date night.” As artificial as it sounds, it’s so important. In the last couple of weeks, we started sitting at the table in our formal dinning room for dinner. We light the candles and linger after the meal with our glasses of wine. Sometimes Sam is still awake and we pass him back and forth between our laps. Other times, he’s fast asleep. Either way, it feels like we’re relating to each other again as a couple and that’s a really important part of our family.
As an aside, in honor of Blogging for LGBT Families Day, in case you missed it awhile back, be sure and catch my review of One Big Happy Family edited by Rebecca Walker. Families come in all shapes and sizes.
Photo credit: stock.xchng.