Shared Responsibility

All parents have experienced it, the moment when you think “I’m not getting up this time he or she must go” lol. So in my house winter means cold nights, humidifier, nebuliser and waking up tired. This year is no different, we are trusting God that it will be better than last winter because they are older and hopefully soon we will not have this kind of challenge. So even though we have been going through this for four winters since Phopho was born and of cause second winter with Thando just took it to another level of exhaustion because when one realizes one is sick the other simply must join. Nothing tests your patience than sick kids, even the most patient of parents start losing it. Lack of sleep is enough to send anyone up the wall. So, how do you make sure your marriage does not get punished because of sick babies?

The trick is for both partners to find opportunities to lose to their spouse. That’s how your marriage survives this trial and many other trials like this one. What do I mean? Most of the time we keep record of who was the last person to wake up when the baby cried, who bathed the kids two nights ago, who has been doing bed time reading this whole week? The person who is always doing the most eventually starts resenting the one who pulls the blanket over their head when its time to check on a crying baby. The one who never offers to bath the kids and read a bedtime story starts thinking I have a grumpy wife or husband but the truth is you actually have a tired spouse who wishes you would share the responsibility of raising your children.

I am fortunate that when Thando cries she picks who she wants to comfort her so sometimes it’s mommy and sometimes its daddy. But it is important to note that a child will not cry for someone they don’t have relationship with. The world tells you that you must win at all costs, but the thing about marriage is you are on the same team so there is no winning alone. If she is sulking you probably  just scored an own goal. Can you imagine what life would be like if you both partners rushed to comfort the sick baby? or if your husband said  no I will go because  you  always wake up to get her? do you think that your spouse will be angry next time she has to go? definitely not, because when I see the sacrifice you make for me to get few extra minutes of sleep I will want to return the favor. When it comes to love language during child rearing ACTS OF SERVICE is what both partners need. Past weekend we were discussing shared responsibility under the topics (Finances, In-laws, Careers, and Children). For the purpose of this post I will discuss  some on the points under Children. Once upon a time it was okay for fathers to take care of their kids by sending money for food and new shoes because they were working somewhere faraway. But, present fathers do more than just feed and clothe the children. They teach the child how to tie their shoe laces, ride a bike and they  potty train. Yes, most women raised 4 to 6 kids with their husbands not playing an active role and they are probably don’t resent their husbands for it because they were doing what they saw their  mothers doing. I believe that most marriages were strained because of this and most kids never fully enjoyed a strong bond with their fathers because of this.

This new breed of fathers who throw each other nappy braai and know how much nappy cream costs are different,they are learning from their fathers mistakes and raising great fathers and husbands men with the assistance of God. Children are a blessing from God, a product of your love and affection towards your spouse. A living symbol of your love and a gift you get to give to future generation a piece of you and your wife. I don’t know about you but if I had to have someone represent me when I am gone  I would love for them to be a love letter about God’s love which they learnt and felt through me and my husband. May they not take only our genes, to the next generation but a portion of our love for one another. We have heard enough stories about how mothers did it all while daddy was sitting on the couch. I look forward to seeing what a generation of present/active fathers looks like.

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Tumi Tjale
27th May 2019 10:34

Oh what a great piece. I’m experiencing companionship in ways I never thought possible. My husband is so present in his kids’ lives. He took the cup when he spent two nights with the little one in hospital just so that I could go home and rest a bit. I get to go out while he offers to stay home with the kids just so that i can breathe a little. Night duty is still mostly on me but I don’t complain because when I need time out, he gives it wholeheartedly. The relationship in the house also makes our… Read more »