Changing diapers, giving fun baths, bottle-feeding, doing daily house chores… what’s not there to like about parenting?
Any parent would admit that it’s fun and exciting, well, at least in the beginning… but not until that day when we realize that, in all honesty, it’s damn exhausting doing the routine day in, day out. Reality bites.
Real parenting is far from the tranquil evenings when you sing lullabies to your baby to put her to sleep. You don’t retire to bed just like that. On some nights, you’d find yourself more like Bonnie Hunt out like a light in Cheaper By The Dozen.
But don’t get me wrong. There’s certainly a lot of fun and happiness involved in parenthood. I love my daughter to the moon and back. But things aren’t all that easy as you think, and to think that I haven’t gone yet to the phase where I need to cancel other appointments for school recitals or pick her up from dance class.
I’m glad I have a supportive husband, and this is the key to surviving long nights and early wake-up calls to prep her breakfast. Yes, sharing responsibilities with my partner does wonders.
We try to stick to some sort of schedule so that we can both have our much-needed breaks. I know it’s not always possible, but when we do manage to get a breather, we feel recharged and ready to face another day of parenting.
In the end, it all boils down to communication and teamwork. As parents, we need to be on the same page so that we can better support each other. And when it comes to parenting responsibilities, gay dads are no different.
Our decision to raise a child was mutual. I made sure during our first date that I wanted a family. Right from the start, we made sure we’re a team. We’re in this together — committed, steadfast and sincere.
While not all parents have the same parenting styles but, in our case, we try to be as nurturing and supportive as best as we could. Now, that doesn’t mean everything’s on easy street just because there are two dads in the house. But after a full day at the office and doing the house chores, it can also wear us out. Playtime is a lot of fun, but when it’s nap time for Maya, we still have to make sure no trail of tiny toys is left on the floor (plus there’s the laundry, the dishes, the clutter).
But because we’re a team, we’ve never felt stuck in a rut. That’s why sharing parenting responsibilities works for any family. We try to build a sense of security at home and hopefully make good role models to Maya. Fulfilling our responsibilities makes our home more positive and influential to her upbringing.
Our partnership is grounded on mutual love and respect, and this has made it easier for us to do our fair share of our responsibilities at home.
We don’t keep score of who did what, but we do try to be as considerate as possible of each other’s time and energy. If one of us is lagging behind, the other would try to pitch in and help out. That way, we can both focus on giving quality time to our daughter without any sense of resentment.
Parenting is a team effort, whether you’re straight, gay, or anything in between. And sharing responsibilities is one way we can show our support for each other. So if you’re a parent out there reading this, know that you’re not alone in this journey. We’re all in this together.
So how do we make it all possible?
My husband and I see each other in a good light. So, if there are things that we can’t easily agree upon, we always go back to the foundation why we started our family to give us perspective. When you know why you’re doing the things you love, you’ll learn to easily shrug off things that won’t contribute to making your family life a little better.
Through the years, we’ve learned to express our thoughts, feelings and emotions with each other. We keep our communication open and honest so it’s easier to validate our feelings and honor each other’s opinions even if we don’t fully share them together. I’ve long acknowledged that my husband has different perspectives, and I respect that. Although one feels differently on a parenting style, we’ve learned through the years to agree to disagree.
And because our communication is open, it’s easier for us to work together on our needs and that of our daughter. It doesn’t always have to be 50-50 when splitting the tasks. It’s a give-and-take relationship every single day. We both know that it’s okay to ask for help and support when we need it.
No one has his daddy mindset turned on 24/7. That’s why it’s important to support each other’s personal space. We allow each other to engage in self-care to recharge our minds and find that balance between being committed to each other and personal freedom. So, when Stefan has to spend time at the gym or be at a wellness spa, I’m ready to take care of everything at home (and I get to have more fun time with Maya too!).
Adapting to each other’s needs and concerns is one of the best ways we’ve done when planning on sharing our parenting responsibilities at home. Remember, it’s not smooth sailing every day so by compromising, we can remain true to our values and come to a fair middle ground. As we discover more and more of ourselves as gay dads, we also learn about adjusting to the changes happening around us.
Working full-time takes up most of our schedules, so we’ve decided to create a plan on how we can each fulfill our family obligations. From preparing Maya’s meals to grocery shopping, we keep ourselves on top of everything to make sure we’re organized.
With more companies allowing a hybrid work setup, many of us can easily blur the line between office work and family life. As much as possible, we limit our take-away office work if we can and put our working hours behind us. If it’s that time of the day to spend with Maya, we don’t want to get easily distracted by email notifications or requests related to work. We turn off the work mode button and switch to being active parents through phone-free weekends. Of course, we have to make sure everything’s completed before we shut down our devices for some family bonding time.
Waking up early helps us avoid the morning rush and manic stress. We can get a lot done before our little bundle of joy gets off the bed. It sure makes us a lot more prepared for the busy day ahead.
Parenting is a complex job. That’s why it helps when we get support from fellow lgbtq parents or even just our closest friends and family. We also make sure to take some time off with our other gay dads to share stories, tips, and strategies that help us become great role models for our kids.
You can be the best active parent but you’ll always be far from perfect. Having someone by my side makes dealing with setbacks all worthwhile. And this has only made us closer to each other. So yes, I’ve long given up on getting that perfect, ideal parenting life that we see so much on Instagram and Facebook. Instead, I expect to grow closer with my husband when we share our parenting duties through ups and downs.
Our relationship is a partnership. We’ve got each other’s backs when navigating the wonderful world of parenting. And because we can’t play the role of doting fathers 24/7, supporting each other’s needs has made us fulfill our roles as fathers to Maya a lot easier. When it comes to family obligations, finishing off our to-do lists is a piece of cake, thanks to sharing responsibilities. After all, parenting is a team effort. And with that in mind, Stefan and I always come back to why we first decided to be fathers: for the pure love of it.
So if you’re a lgbtq dad out there juggling between work and family life—we feel you! It’s time to take a break and plan out how you can share your parenting responsibilities with your family. You’ll be surprised at the amount of quality time that you can save for yourself, as well as for your partner or other lgbtq parents!
Balancing work and family life is a challenge, but it’s not impossible. So enjoy this journey and don’t forget to soak in all the love.