PARENTHOOD | Third Wheeling
Well hello there! It’s been a long while. Every time I try to sit down to write, I get distracted or something or someone pulls me away. The number of drafts and partially written blogs are starting to pile up, this one included and I’m finally getting the chance to complete it.
It’s early Saturday morning (approximately 6:30 am and I’ve been up since 5:30 am). Why you ask? Our son has been sick the last couple days so I stayed with him in his bed last night to keep him company and I wanted to have some cuddle time, just me and him. He woke at 5:30 am calling for his DAD, who comes swooping in, picking him up and leaving with him, thus leaving me…alone again. Todays blog topic is a bit of an uncomfortable one, but I hope there are other parents out there experiencing and feeling the way I am now. I’m writing this because I hope in doing so, I can feel better and be reassured that I am not the only one. I also would like to preface, I don’t have any answers, this is purely an emotional purge.
Here is the question: Do you feel like the third wheel in your family? The one on outside between your partner and child or children? Am I getting a few nodding heads? Well, I’ve been struggling with this feeling since I went back to work from maternity leave. You see, my husband is a freelancer, works from home and has a super flexible schedule, so he has the wonderful opportunity to be around our son a lot more than me. Something I’m super grateful for, it’s a HUGE help both financially and mentally. However, there is a piece of me that aches and perhaps there is jealously because I want to be the one that can be around our son more. I want to be that mom that gets to be at home and not have to be sitting in an office 5 days a week.
Here is where the conundrum lies, the one half of the parent that works full time and having to be away from their child gets the least amount of time with them. I come home most days and I feel like a bit of an outsider. Sometimes I even get the “mom go back to work" and it crushes my spirit. I get it in the mornings as well, “mom leave, go to work”. I try, I try so hard to get in between, everytime he asks for daddy I offer up ME, “mommy can do that for you, mommy can come with you.” But no, I get shut out and am left feeling, unwanted and unappreciated. Unfortunately what this does to me is I start to pull away. I don't intentially but it's a natural way for the mind and body to defend itself from rejection.
I always knew that the bond between my husband and our child was going to be a strong one, one that would be impenetrable. I knew the first day I met my husband many moons ago “he’d be a great father one day”. When we found out we were pregnant and then found out we were having a boy, my heart immediately felt warm and full.
Because I was always told from other mom’s of boys that a boy’s bond with his mother is like none other.
Well, I am not sure of the above statement (as of today) and I have nothing to compare it to because our son is an only child. Maybe it’s a phase (this is what most people are telling me), maybe it’s not. The relationship between father and son will always be different from mother and son. Thou grateful to have the most helpful partner in the world and most involved father in our son’s life, I can’t help feeling like I’ve become that third wheel in the relationship. When you are two that become three, one will always be left behind in some way.
So here is the thing, the thing that I repeat in my head and in my heart. The story and the messages I need to tell myself and remind myself and perhaps when our son is old enough I’ll have to remind him too. I had something that my husband will never have. I carried our son in my belly for 9 months, felt him grow, felt him move - held him, cradled him, felt his heart in my body. I was the first the HEAR his heart beat during one of my routine check ups, this was both magical and emotionally overwhelming. I kept him alive and nourished him with my body twice, first because we were literally attached by a tube and then 11 months of breast feeding afterwards. These are the stories I have to continuously tell myself and I need to remind myself that I have to not forget to fill my own cup with self love.