Equity in parenting- except when breastfeeding

I feel like Sean is a partner.


I read articles or studies that look at how much housework or childcare men do. I am appalled everytime that equity is so unusual for so many couples. Sure we don't split things down the middle all the time.  I do most of the vacuuming, organizing, packing.  Sean does most of the cooking and cleaning up the kitchen.  He does most of the laundry lugging and I do most of the folding and putting away.  All in all, we mostly do our preferred tasks...

In parenthood, I feel that we are very equitable. We trust each other, we both discipline, we both play, we both do childcare, and diapers and feeding and all of us.  Sure we have different styles but share roles as parent rather than MommyDaddy.  In fact, Junia for awhile called us both Mama.

So this equity thing is do-able and awesome...except when breastfeeding.  So these days I am remembering how hard it is for both of us that we cannot share childcare in the same way.  We cannot comfort our child in the same way.  I am trapped by "the little muncher" and her clock.  After all, every two hours I am guaranteed to be "paged" and put to work for 35 minutes or so of feeding. If I am not with her I am hyper aware of time and going places with her in the feeding timeframe mean putting my body "out there."  And, to be honest, going places is such and endeavor that she eats more than every two hours because I usually end up soothing her after the car trip with a bit of "munching."  Sean on the other hand, is free to go to work, to get stuck for hours at the car dealership, or to run out and do tasks for the family.  I am jealous of his freedom. That is until he is sitting on a yoga ball at 3:00am dealing with the "muncher's" fussiness.  Or until he changes his 4th diaper of the day while she is giving him her newborn scowl.

The reality, I think is that even the most equitable partnerships are strained during pregnancy, labor and babyhood.  This isn't about gender as much as it is about the person who births the child.  (After all, lesbian couples must run into this as well.)  It's hard.  It's complicated...it involves decisions about formula, pumping and moreover it is wrapped up in identity...


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