I'm confident (not to mention, lucky) in saying that my parenting partner and I have a pretty great relationship. While we're not married, we're fully committed and equal partners in parenting and life and we're constantly communicating to make sure that our relationship is the best it can be for ourselves, and our child. However, and obviously, we're far from perfect. I mess up and my partner messes up and we mess up, together. I've definitely thought the things every new mom thinks about her parenting partner, but doesn't say out loud, because it's simply easier to have some internal, often screaming dialogue in my head instead of sit down and discuss any fears or concerns, with my partner.
When your relationship is tested by the choice to become parents (and make no mistakes, it is somewhat of a test) it can be difficult to give your partner the time, consideration and honesty that they deserve. I know that, for me personally, I have experienced a few (read: many) moments when I simply decided to remain silent about my feelings, rather than talk to my partner, because I'm too exhausted to entertain a conversation for an extended period of time. I've also been so tired and overwhelmed and frustrated, that I've suspended rationality in favor of unmitigated rage. Because I know that the "problems" I have with my partner are unfounded (I mean, really. He doesn't absolutely have to wear that Seahawks jersey to prove that he loves me.) I will keep them to myself until I've come to my senses.
Some of these thoughts are hilarious, while others are unfair. Some are simply the bi-product of zero-to-absolutely no sleep, while others are because I'm failing to communicate the way my partner and I usually do. Either way, having a baby and raising said baby with another human being is hard, so whatever it is you're thinking about your partner (and as long as you're not crossing into Gone Girl territory) it's probably normal and, usually, a simple convo will clear everything up.
"This Is All Your Fault"
I love my partner and the decision to have a child was a decision we both made, together. However, that didn't keep me from thinking (especially when I was in labor and pushing another human being out of my body) that this entire situation was his freakin' fault. When the baby wouldn't stop crying and there was nothing either one of us could do, it was his fault. Is that at all accurate? Nope. Is it even fair? Absolutely not, which is why I didn't voice this frustration at all.
Sometimes, it's nice to direct your exhaustion and fear and self-doubt at someone else, which is what partners are for, right? I'm extremely thankful that I have a partner I can lean on, even if it means simply chastising him in my mind for no fair or just reason.
"I Can't Believe I Birthed This Kid And They Look Just Like You. So Freakin' Unfair."
Honestly, why is this even a thing? I'm the one who grew the kid. I'm the one who felt him kick and jump and jump on my bladder. I'm the one that was sick and constipated. I'm the one that went through contractions. What happens at the end of it all? The kid looks exactly like my partner. I give up.
"You Just Don't Understand"
There are certain things my partner just doesn't understand, and it's not for lack of trying; he simply can't. As a dad, and because we live in a society that views dads differently than they view mothers (with expectations for fathers are staggeringly, offensively low) my partner doesn't understand the pressures I'm under. He doesn't understand what it's like to be a working mom, and have the love I feel for my son questioned because I also value my career. He doesn't get that, now, I'm defined as a mother, first and foremost and before everything else. While he gets to still be viewed as a well-rounded, complex human being, I'm nothing more than a woman who decided to procreate.
It can be difficult to feel like I'm alone in these feelings and under that much stress, which is why I value my mom friends (and non-mom friends) so very much. There are things my partner just can't get, and that's OK. That's what the incredible women in my life are for.
"I Don't Know What I Would Do If You Left"
I mean, I do. I would survive, to be sure. It's not like I am completely dependent on my partner. However, there are moments when he picks up the slack and does more than his fair share of the parenting and the cooking and the cleaning and all the things it takes to live a life together as a family, and I'm just in awe. When I'm at my lowest and tired and overwhelmed and stressed, I look at him and think, "He can't leave. I would be doomed."
Those are usually the moments that make me take pause and be grateful that I have an involved parenting partner who sees raising our son as a task we both share, equally. Not everyone is so lucky.
"...Like, You Could Mess Up Royally And I'd Still Find A Way To Make It Work"
Look, I'm not advocating for parenting partners to just be horrible human beings or treat their partners like garbage because they "can," but I've definitely had my fair share of moments when I look at my partner and think, "He could cheat on me and I'd get over it, as long as he takes the baby tonight when he inevitably wakes up, so I can get some sleep." I mean, sleep is important you guys. #Priorities.
"You Need To Be More Involved"
Of course, there are also the moments when I feel like I'm pulling more than my share of weight and while I don't like to "nag" or be an ass, I really want to just scream and tell my partner to get up and do something. These moments usually occur when I've lost sight of all he really does accomplish during the day and, instead, simply focus on what I've done. It can be easy to get caught up in all that you do, and fail to appreciate the things your partner does.
"I Couldn't Do This Without You"
Again, I probably could. I mean, women (and men) are raising their babies by themselves all across the country. I could do it, but I definitely don't want to. Especially when I'm working 13 hours days and I'm barely able to function, let alone make dinner and clean and read the million books my son loves to read before he goes to bed. Those harder days make me acutely aware that parenting would be exponentially harder if I didn't have my partner to do it with.
"You Should Have Been The One To Get Pregnant And Birth Another Human Being"
Look, science. We need to have a talk. You can come up with a pill that helps mens' penises grow and/or enables men to get and keep an erection, but you can't figure out how to help women share the burden of pregnancy, labor and delivery. You need to get it together.
"Why, Oh Why, Can't You Lactate?!"
If you're a breastfeeding mother and the responsibility of feeding your child rests solely on you, you've probably thought (on more than one occasion) about how incredibly unfair it is that your partner can't breastfeed, to. Like, can't you lactate? Can't this be a Meet The Parents type situation? If Greg could milk a cat, I'm sure I could milk you and get some milage out of those nipples.
"I'm Not Thanking You For Something You Should Instinctively Do, As An Adult..."
Look, what a mother does in a day (with little to no recognition) is what a dad is endlessly praised for, ad nauseam. Our society has such low expectations for fathers (it's really sad) that simply changing a diaper becomes some "event" worthy of a parade, or at least a Facebook post. No, I am not going to thank my partner for parenting the way he should parent. I'm not going to thank him for "helping," because he isn't "the help." He's one of the parents.
"...But Thank You For Everything You Do"
Of course, it also doesn't hurt to just say thank you every now and then for everything your partner does, whether it's big or small. While I won't praise my partner for simply being the dad our son deserves, I do make an effort to stop and thank him, because recognition is nice and, in the end, I like being thanked for the things I accomplish in any given day, too.
"I Love You"
You really just can't say it enough, so why not say it more, right?
"Now, If You Let Me Sleep I Will Do Unimaginable Things To You. Eventually. Some Day."
Seriously, parenting partner of mine. I will do dirty, dirty things to you if you just take the kid and let me sleep and don't bother me for a solid three hours. Thanks so much you're the best OK go away, bye.