Here in Spain (and I’m talking about Spain because it’s the reality I live daily) there’s a questions that everybody asks when they see me dance at the salsa disco or run on the paseo. When I tell them I go to my dance classes in the evening. When they find me in the supermarket all by myself.
Who did you leave your son with?
It always sounded to me like a strange question, especially when coming from people who know that neither my husband nor I have family here.
At the beginning I replied, He’s with my husband. Until Alex himself made me notice that Oliver is not with your husband, he’s with his dad, which should be the most normal thing on earth. But maybe not here in Spain as what I often get in reply is, “You’re so lucky!”.
Lucky, yes, I guess I am lucky. But not because I can leave Oliver with his dad. Not because Alex sacrifices his work and comes home early on Tuesday to let me do my group class and on Wednesday to let me get to my ballet class. Not because when he gets back from the office after a long day, he stays with Oliver, bathes him and cooks to let me have a break/breathe/rest. And not because he actually knows how to bathe him, where his clothes are and where to put them back, how to entertain him, how to calm him down when he cries. Not even because he takes turns with me to get up at night now that Oliver is not sleeping much.
Honestly, it might sound exceptional to some mums, but it’s rather normal to me—to us. It’s called parenting.
I’m lucky because my husband asks me to leave Oliver with him. He wants to be with his son after a long day at work.
Because he understands that my blog, my dance and my job (currently in that order) make me me and help me not to turn into a biting monster (not often, at least).
Because he’s not afraid of some crying—all babies cry, you just have to deal with it—and doesn’t handle him to me at the first tear, he actually often takes him from me when he cries.
Because when he’s alone with him, he finds ways to take care of him by himself and doesn’t call me for help—like I don’t call him.
Because he knows that he can deal with him like I do even if he doesn’t have boobs—although I do admit boobs make it so much easier, so I’m really proud of him for doing it all without!
Because even when he doesn’t know how to do something, he learns by himself, little by little, like everything and everybody. In Italy we say, “Nessuno nasce imparato” (nobody is born knowing everything).
Because he’s involved into his health, upbringing, education, well being, and even if he forget the day of the injection or he arrives late to a paediatrician visit, he know as much (or more than) I do about our values and principles, montessori, baby led weaning, sleep cycles, vaccination, colds…
I’m lucky because my husband wants to be a present figure. And because he understands that we are a team, that we are two very different and independent people who will learn to know Oliver using different methods, making different mistakes, in different ways—that maybe will seem wrong to the other at times. But always together, as a team.
Because after all, Oliver has two parents, not just one.