Looking back at our son’s childhood has also made me aware of the changes in the relationship between my husband and son – and of course me and our son.
From being the only thing that mattered in my son’s life – feeding, changing, not sleeping, crying, (that could be me or Sam) – to suddenly being on the periphery. It was me that did the nursery runs, the cooking, the cleaning, the “Mummy” stuff – probably for the first year.
Then suddenly things changed. Walking, talking, progression – all aimed not towards me – but Mark, my husband! First word – “Dadda”; first steps towards… yes, you guessed it – Daddy! Baby can’t sleep – who gets him to sleep without trying? – there is a pattern here in case you haven’t spotted it.
But did I feel pleased and thankful for this status change? Definitely not! Angry and resentful – yes! But also, normal… bonding was taking place. That’s got to be good, right?
As Sam grew, I still felt like I was his world. School run responsibilities fell to me, birthday parties, arranging babysitters – you name it I did it. Slightly crazy, yes, but I really believed that Mark was not capable and NOBODY could look after our son as well as I did!
It turns out I was very wrong! Who taught Sam to swim? Daddy. Who took Sam to the ice cream Parlour on holidays? Daddy. Who taught Sam to ride a bike? Yes, it was Daddy.
This is how Sam’s life has progressed. Daddy does the cool stuff, mummy does what needs to be done. Camping holidays without me, cinema trips without me and now building computers and discussing programming – thankfully also without me (thank goodness).
Some might say we’ve got it wrong, some would say it’s right. For us, and more importantly for OUR son, it works. I think we have now found a balance. All it took was to realise the bits we were good at and concentrate on those parts, to get the best of ourselves and Sam.
We’ve just changed from being Mummy and Daddy, to Mum and Dad. Sam is now taller than me – not difficult- and seems to have accepted that in reality, Mum and Dad work together to try to get things right for him. He is OURS and whilst we all have things we would rather do together, there is definitely space in our lives for Mum time and Dad time.
They do gang up on me, I do feel excluded occasionally, but most of all, I am thankful that my boys have this bond. I am incredibly lucky.
Melanie Blackham is a mother, wife, dance-aholic and a ‘School Grounds Consultant’ – she designs school playgrounds! I worked with Mel for 5 years in my first job back in Bath (when Sam was 2!), and can genuinely say she is one of the nicest people I’ve ever worked with.