As this year comes to a close and we get ready to start a whole new one and a pretty different one at that, I have been taking some time to reflect on this past year. 2017 has been one of the most challenging years and also the most rewarding. This year Daniel and I worked completely opposite schedules and learned how to take care of a baby completely alone with the exception of a few grandparent visits. This schedule was absolutely a good thing and a choice we made so we didn’t have to find childcare for Elijah while he was so young. It’s been great for him to bond with us individually and for our peace of mind. However, it was the hardest year I have ever had. I know that it is not actually like being a single parent, but I think it gave me a taste of what that would be like in the sense that a single parent leaves the baby at daycare or with a nanny while they are at work and comes home to care for the child and take care of household duties by themselves, and there were many days that we had a five minute exchange at home or in the parking lot at work that made it seem a little bit like the single parent life. (so many kudos to single parents out there – your job is insanely hard and you probably don’t get the credit you deserve for your hard work)
Any mom or dad knows that babies need a lot of attention and are a lot of hard work. The couple of nights a week we had together we so much easier to be able to take on separate tasks, and just to have someone to talk to because babies don’t talk back.
That’s the other thing with this schedule and past year. This kind of an opposite thing is such an isolating experience. Just me, and a baby alone. Just waiting for Daniel to get a break and call so I would have someone to talk to for part of my day. This isolation combined with no sleep because Elijah slept great until three months and he has not slept since, makes for some rough times.
However, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and I now could not be any happier than when I am with my family and knowing that I have spent this past year getting to know my sweet boy one on one and working through so much together is amazing. I watch him now walking all over the house and saying dog, duck (which sounds a lot like dog – and means any bird), and nana(banana), and hear him say mama when he hears me on the phone and my heart is just so unbelievably happy.
The other thing that has been so incredibly awesome to watch with us being alone this year is how great of a Dad Daniel is. There is no challenge he hasn’t taken on with our little boy, and many times he has taken on more than I have when I have needed him to be that rock this year and fill in the holes. I feel like it’s custom and accepted for dads to sort of sit in the background while mom does most of the daily things like bath, meals, etc. but Daniel had no choice but to be “Mr. Mom” (which I think is a totally stupid thing – moms and dads should have equal responsibility), and he has done so great. I love love love to see how excited Elijah gets whenever Daniel walks through the door after work. He practically jumps out of his skin to get to him he’s so excited.
I think this year has proven to us that we are stronger than we know and we can get through anything. While hopefully we will get back to some extended family sooner rather than later because it would just make life that much better, our little family of three (plus Allie dog) is all we really need. This year with the same schedules is going to be such a breath of fresh air getting to spend time together as a family, and I couldn’t be any more excited for 2018.