An Open Letter to the Other Partner

Let me first say that this one is going out to my husband, Derek. However, I realize that there are so many more figures in a child's life than just a mom and a dad. So, this is an open letter to the other partner-- whether that be a grandpa, husband, adopted dad, uncle, another mom... to all of you who help us moms get through this crazy, wild ride of motherhood. It doesn't matter if you're the biological father or not. Whatever your circumstance or situation, if you're hands on and attentive to raising a child and helping the mother, you need to be thanked, regardless of your label.

To the Other Partners of the World-

Thank you. From a person who has been a stay at home mom, a full-time working mom, a full-time graduate student while stay at home mom, a part-time working/full-time student/stay at home mom, let me be the first to admit that being a mother is the hardest job I have ever had the privilege of working. I have been a teacher, a substitute teacher, a pharmacy technician, and in numerous different retail positions. I have worked while being a full-time undergraduate student and graduate student. I have owned pets. I am a sister, a daughter, a wife, an auntie (my second favorite job-- shout out to my amazing nieces and nephews!), a granddaughter, a volunteer mentor, a friend... NOTHING compares to what being a mother entails. It is dirty. At times it's mentally, physically, emotionally painful. It can be draining. Sometimes you feel hopeless and almost always feel exhausted. You question your decisions, fear that you're permanently damaging your children, and try with all your might to not be hurt when one of the very beings that you baked for 9 months and physically muscled out of your body in horrifying muscle cramps has the audacity to say they are going to go find a new mother. You feel bad for wanting to scream, "I BROUGHT YOU INTO THIS WORLD AND I CAN TAKE YOU OUT OF IT" even though you only mean the first half of that statement. It's a hard gig. Do you know how many grocery carts I've left half-full, stranded in the cookie aisle because Tornado Tucker (my son's nickname... if you know him, you get it) decided to behave like a poltergeist and I had to high-tail it out of the store? No, sweet baby child, you cannot have those delicious, chewy, chocolaty morsels when you're behaving like a terrorist. Now kindly quit rolling on the floor and screaming or we are leaving.

Ah, I'm sorry-- I digress.

The point is-- it's hard. Most of the time is it a thankless job, even though you wouldn't change your role for the world.

Before I became a mother I used to always hear the phrase, "It takes a village to raise a child." I thought it was complete and utter bullshit. I would think that if somebody couldn't take care of their own child then they don't deserve to have one. I know-- harsh, right? Insensitive and ignorant. But now, I thank my lucky stars daily for that village.

Without that village I'd have nobody to ask advice or questions to. My kids would have nobody to play with. I'd have nobody to watch my children while I do any of the necessary things for myself: doctors appointments, interviews, work, funerals, date nights, getting the car fixed, shopping for the kids, shopping in general (kids suck in stores)... You have no idea how hard life can be with kids in tow when doing regular, everyday things.

Without my husband my hands would be peeling from continuous bath nights. My back would be broken from picking up every single crumb, noodle, pea, spilled drink off the floor and from putting both kids in carseats every single time. I would probably smell continuously like any number of child bodily fluids. I'd struggle with taking showers, or sleeping, or even eating. I'd get absolutely no cleaning or chores done, despite the fact that I am consistently at least five loads of laundry behind. I'd be crazy and, without a doubt, even more exhausted and dirty. My kids wouldn't have the balance they do-- my husband is the science nerd, outdoorsy, wrestling on the ground, and throwing in the air parent. I'm the literary, snuggling, park-going, flower-planting parent. That is just our dynamic, and our kids benefit from having that.

Whatever label your other partner has, tell them thank you. I know I for one focus on motherhood because I am the mother. There are many unsung heroes out there, though, that help make up that village. If you are one of them: thank you. We appreciate you. We need you.

And if you're a single parent without a village-- can I please borrow some of your superpowers?

Lucky little babes


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