What were we thinking! promote confidence and reduce distress in parents with a first baby

Kelly and Zac at 10 months

By Kelly

Kelly and Zac at 10 months

We have hit the 10 month mark...I can’t believe how time has passed by so quickly.  My baby is no longer a baby – he is a little person now.  Everything is getting easier day by day.  I am back at work four days, my husband works 5, but we have finally got into a routine.  We have managed to both have flexible hours so I start early, he starts late.  He does mornings with our little man and I do nights. 

It’s a very busy time: I love having my Wednesday with Zac, and I am always looking forward to spending time with both of my boys by the weekend.  We are both tired but we are lucky we have found a great compromise that works for us both.

Expert response from What Were We Thinking! expert, Ann O'Doherty

Hi Kelly, It’s a credit to you and your husband that you have found a way to work cooperatively together in sharing family life, responsibilities and work.  We know in Australia that in most two parent homes that both parents are working at least part time. We also know that having a baby impacts more on a woman, physically, emotionally, socially and with work. Decisions around how our new family is going to work can be tricky. Sometimes, even beginning to have those conversations about how we share the parenting role can be difficult. We learn our parenting from our own parents or families and can sometimes have very different views from our partner about family roles and who does what. Sometimes we don’t even know how strong these ideas are until we begin making decisions about how our families are going to work. However, the earlier we can have these conversations the better. For anyone wanting some ideas on how to start a conversation with your partner have a look at the What Were We Thinking website for an interactive online questionnaire that will compare your separate answers and help get the conversations get started.

Kelly,  I wonder if you and your partner had sharing and caring family practices as you were growing up that have helped you in your choices.

Zac will benefit enormously from both his Mum and his Dad having an everyday active role in his care. Not only will his learning and development benefit from having two loving carers, he will have two confident skilled parents taking an equal role in planning, decision making and troubleshooting the challenges and joys that come with parenthood. Confident parents can contribute so much to emotionally secure well developed children. Some Dads have said that they are reluctant to take on a caring role, they worry that they just don’t do things as well as Mums. Giving Dads the opportunity ( even for short periods of time) to be alone with their babies and to develop their own ways of doing things has benefits for everyone. Dad develops a relationship with his child and confidence in his own parenting skills, the baby develops a relationship with their Dad and security and attachment in his presence and Mum shares the role and responsibilities and can depend on her partner for their support in joint decision making and has the freedom to take some time out for herself and feel confident while apart from her baby.

Men are now much more aware of the importance of forming strong early connections with their babies and children and want to share parenting roles. The Raising Children Network (a great resource for families) says, “Families that work well make time for talking and listening, show affection and encouragement, accept differences, share chores and decisions, keep in touch and make family time”

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