You want to know one of my secrets to balancing it all?
His name is Matt. And I met him 16 years ago and fell in love with him quickly. I fell in love with his ease, his quirks, his intelligence and passion, and how he treated me. I fell in love with how openly and honestly he showcased his love for me.
I don't remember ever specifically thinking about how he would be as a Father, but I also never had any reservations that he would be a good one. At all. I was confident in our partnership and that it would reflect well to parenting.
And it has.
But the best part is, that I believe parenting our children has given Matt an opportunity to better himself.
And that is how it is supposed to work.
If you don't allow yourself to reflect, change and grow in your parenting than you aren't reflecting, changing and growing in who you are either.
And Matt is open and allows all that.
We often will sit for hours after the kids go to bed and talk about parenting. I'll give him feedback maybe on how we managed a situation. He'll coach me on letting go of feeling like I failed in some area.
We are always working on our parenting, and thus our partnership and relationship.
Parenting opens up a whole new chapter in a relationship. One in which you likely have to work even harder to communicate effectively, compromise for mutual wins and ensure you're always in alignment.
And I think it is critical to my achievement of balance as a Mother to have someone right next to me that is an equal partner.
I think we don't have enough Fathers like that in the world.
Fathers that want to learn and grow as parents.
Fathers that see their role as equal to the Mothers', while also appreciating and understanding that the mother will always offer something they cannot.
Fathers that can take a crying baby and not freak out, but use what they have to calm and soothe.
Fathers that are flexible, patient, kind and emotive.
Fathers that play, are playful, and consistent and gentle in their boundaries.
The other night Matt and I talked about going with the flow more, being more open to the moment and allowing our children to guide their play.
We also often talk about how our state of being can so easily change our children's state of being. If I'm stressed, my children can become stressed. If I'm feeling imbalanced, we all end up feeling that way.
Tuesday, on our way home, Emilio eagerly asked to do crafts. He specifically wanted to paint and as I imagined what our evening would look like I wasn't sure that painting could fit in to it. Matt isn't a huge arts and craft guy and he especially shys away from the messy crafts. I was protecting him and his end of day state, while also planning for what I'd have to be doing as I prepped dinner and what Emilio was seeking to do with his end of day time. Throw a toddler in to the mix and it can be a lot to balance in the witching hours of the day.
When Matt walked in from the end of his day, Emilio eagerly said to him, "Dada I want to do crafts!"
I winced a little waiting for the reaction and Emilio's push back that I assumed would come.
Matt responded, "Okay, what crafts were you thinking?"
I beamed. As I prepped dinner I happily listened to them craft together, all three of them. Ava coloring, Matt and Emilio folding paper to make creations from Emilio's imagination. And when Emilio wanted to switch to paint, Matt was game.
Our whole evening felt more easy and seamless.
And I felt balanced. I felt like my children were getting love and attention from their parent and engaging in fun activities while I was able to get dinner on the table.
What a joy.
I won't say I'm lucky, because it isn't about luck. It has taken hard work, effort, lots of open communication and patience. And we keep working at it everyday.
But, I will say, I'm damn happy that he's the man I chose all those years ago. My instincts are on point.