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Raising a young child is exhausted. Should we rethink the nuclear family? | Sophie Brickman

NSMy husband, Dave, and I welcomed a third child to the family in July, relying heavily on a network of relatives and paid support, and swung the children back and forth with a NASA-level strategy. door. The other morning, Dave was on a business trip for the first time in almost two years, so he scrambled eggs for kindergarten and fed his baby while stopping preschoolers from smoking marshmallow scratch and sniff markers. I noticed that I was there. Skillfully transferring the eggs to a plate and lightly steaming the back of the baby’s head flashed back to the conversation before the baby was born.

At that time, in the early days of the pandemic, we moved with our parents. Something was decided after my parents’ doctor prohibited my mother and father from passing through the side pillars of the door. We quarantined separately and then crouched together for the next 6 months. Despite its complexity, the experience was great for all three generations, especially for us in the middle, who can always use extra loving hands for baby wrangling. When I learned that I was pregnant again, the imminent tsunami of 3 to 2 parenting was on my way, so I wanted to see how others are doing it. I started poking around.

That’s how I found Avary Kent. She is part of the Alt Parenting movement, which seeks to redefine traditional family structure, raising two men and a daughter, Tavi, in Auckland. ZekeHausfather, her husband, Tavi’s real father. And David Jay, an asexual activist who always wanted a child, but didn’t know how to give birth until he became friends with Kent.

The trio has been featured in various mainstream outlets, often centered around Jay’s story, but I was more interested in Kent’s experience. Mothers tend to reflexively take on most of their parenting responsibilities. Can the command actually be divided equally, biologically or culturally? Can you devise a system that frees you from two parenting responsibilities, and to be honest, usually one primary caregiver? I was wondering.

“Of course,” Kent told me when I contacted her by phone. And that started to happen, she told me, shortly after birth. “Sure, I had to feed her every two hours, but I always got fresh support because I traded off every other day for the boy to rest overnight. He jokes that it saved his marriage to Sieg, as he never hits the point of stress and tension that comes from lack of sleep. “

I’m in the midst of nursing again, but more importantly, I’m afraid to be anxious and semi-wakeful from the beginning of 2020. Did you flip the lid over when the “Bacon Strip” Halloween costume arrived? It was one size too big from the Amazon (kindergarten children asked to go for “breakfast”), and then in the name of gender equality Does Dave demand that the rest of the night be spent searching the internet for better pork products? Did his normally stable attitude begin to fray? Maybe.

Not only is Kent’s warmth and candidness reassuring and friendly, especially for those who consider themselves as basic and mainstream as they come, her message makes perfect sense. Kent told me about the night when Tabi wasn’t comforted for hours.

“It felt like eternity,” she recalled. “So David and I were sitting together by her bed while she was blasting. She’s crying, and I’m crying, and he holds my hand It was huge because I knew I was with this other person. “

It was so hard to hear my daughters cry during sleep training, so I had to leave. The moment I closed the back door and went outside, I was relieved, but I was also guilty of Dave doing this particularly tough job alone. If he was with someone else, I would feel much better unless someone else was going to have sex with him after the baby fell asleep.

OK, but what if you happen to be unable to find a completely devoted third parent who is asexual and therefore do not introduce the inevitable tensions that result from throwing the dynamics of charm and power into the mix. Do you? Kent is unique in her situation, pointing out that mainstream parents can still learn from her path only by recognizing that other paths exist and orientation is important. I admit sex.

The trio created the contract before Tabi was born. AltParenting substack.. Some of them are read like the Military Negotiations Handbook. For example, there are weekly meetings where each party can “block” the other when it comes to important decisions, but the point is that the huge task of nurturing successful people is often diminished. Without guiding principles, in a series of decisions that many parents reflexively attack like a logger.

The closest thing my husband and I have to a parenting contract is to sing Billy Joel’s lullaby repeatedly until the girl falls asleep after I write the third “last book.” When he collapses completely, he begins to burn clothes that he hasn’t cleaned up. But aside from Brock and the weekly meetings, Kent cautioned that she, Jay, and Housefather didn’t think they were doing anything new.

“The nuclear family isn’t that old, it’s badly flawed, and it’s very broken,” she said. Villages, communities, multi-generational living environments: they are the way we have lived for thousands of years and are deeply rooted in our core. literally. Without them we would not have survived as seeds.

“We believe the three of us are back in a much more traditional family form,” she said before hanging up. “We haven’t invented anything new.”

Dave has returned from a business trip. I can now care for my baby while he scrambles the eggs. Thank you for the third handset? absolutely.

Raising a young child is exhausted. Should we rethink the nuclear family? | Sophie Brickman

Source link Raising a young child is exhausted. Should we rethink the nuclear family? | Sophie Brickman

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