Let the record show that long-term relationships offer plenty of opportunity for sacrifice. It can range from big things (“Oh, we’re moving to another state so you can go to grad school?”) to little things (“I’m just crying because you have no idea how much I really wanted spaghetti tonight.”) Once a baby, or babies, are added to the mix, there’s much more to be done and many more sacrifices to make for your parenting partner that are, in fact, totally worth it.
I'm somewhat hesitant to use the word "sacrifice," as it has such negative connotations. I mean, it's valiant and people tend to hold "sacrifice" up as a sign you're selfless, which is also revered as a desirable quality. But it also sounds unfavorable and, you know, "wrong." Like you're being "forced" to do these things for someone else. However, in my experience, when you share your life with someone and you have a baby (or babies) with them, what is considered a "sacrifice" is really nothing more than a logistical necessity. Of course, every relationship is different and I don’t want to assume the dynamics of my own reflect what everyone else experiences. However, now that I have a toddler, I would guess that there are a number of situations that are pretty common for most parents of small children.
Actually, come to think of it, if anyone has found a way around any of the following sacrifices, please let me know. In the meantime and for the rest of us (without an army of assistants and nannies) it’s on us to balance our kiddo’s needs, our partner’s needs, and yes, our needs. So, with that in mind, here are just a few sacrifices you'll make for your parenting partner that are, in the end, completely worth it:
When You Keep Up With "Normal" Life, Even When You're Pregnant
For the record, my husband was far more accommodating when I was pregnant with our son than I was. However, that doesn’t mean there weren’t days when I dragged myself out of the house or did my normal chores or smiled and nodded at events with him, when all I really wanted to do was crawl back under the covers.
When You Trade In Your Sleep For Theirs
I confess: as the heavier sleeper in my relationship, my husband is often the one who stirs first and allows me to continue sleeping. However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t tried, and that the stars haven’t aligned at least a few times to allow me to do the same for him. Especially when our son was a newborn, since all bets about normal sleep patterns were off.
When You Take The Time To Actually Shower
It’s happened on more than one occasion that my sole motivation to bathe was so that I was more pleasant company for my partner. Sure, it feels good to be clean, but priorities when a newborn's around don't exactly involve "feeling good."
When You Manage Tough Baby Moments So They Don’t Have To
Specifically, those tough moments that occur in the early morning hours and involve coercing a newborn back to sleep. Or, that involve poop. Or both.
When You Make The Same Sacrifices You Made Before You Were Parents
I tend to handle the majority of the laundry in our household. I’m not trying to toot my own horn in any way since, mind you, since my partner does plenty around the house. It’s simply how we’ve divided up chores, and it works best for us.
Once our son arrived, and our laundry increased exponentially, I’ve still kept up the (mostly) same routine with it.
When You Take Over Key Kitchen Duties
My efforts to handle breastfeeding and the regular cooking were short-lived, but there were times when I was able to show love to my partner by making him a meal.
Nowadays, though, he handles most of the cooking, I try to do my part and help with prepping the morning coffee, or at least keep the dishes under control so he has the space and tools he needs to do his thing in the kitchen.
When You Do Extra Chores. All The Extra Chores.
I cannot keep up with my husband’s tidiness. He’s much more inclined to keep things neat than I am, so I often have to give myself silent pep talks and mental recitations of my marriage vows in order to keep up.
However, as previously mentioned, the one area where I don’t need to apologize (OK, rarely need to apologize) is laundry, which I work super-hard to keep under control in our family. When I see that sexy look in his eye that tells me he’s about to get the vacuum out, I immediately go to the hampers.
When You Volunteer To Handle The Time-Consuming Baby Duties
I think both my partner and I would agree that getting our son to nap isn’t the worst of parenting duties. It often involves the couch and books and snuggles, so really, we have nothing to complain about. However, added up over the year, it’s hours upon hours of solo parenting time, giving the other person free time, the penultimate thing for new parents.
When You Dig Deep For Motivation, Even When You Don’t Want To
On more than one occasion, my husband’s had a work event or some other commitment that’s arrived at an inopportune time for either me, or our son, or both. However, we almost always manage to pull it together (even that lunch thing he had the day after that bout of mastitis that struck when our son was just a 3-week-old newborn).
When You Show Them Affection, Even When They’re Covered In A Bodily Fluid
At some point, spit-up and baby pee just don’t really faze you anymore. A small shirt smear or pants stain can easily be avoided when an extra moment of attention for one another is at stake.