Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Co-parenting

Growing up in a household with just one parent is all I've ever know. Although I briefly lived with my father as a child, I grew up most of my life with my mother. Regardless, I was only with one parent. My parents divorced when I was about 5 years old, and most, if not all of my friends that I had growing up grew up in a similar household setting. Very rarely did I come across a friend who was able to complain about both parents being unfair or if mom said no they'd ask dad. What mom always said goes. Her word was the final word. There was no consulting in another person or "let me ask dad first". Although my mom went on to marry someone else when I was about 16, it was still her way or the highway when it came to the decision-making.

When I found out that I was pregnant, it didn't hit me that I would be co-parenting until our son was born. Before JAM was born, Mahal and I would make up random scenarios that our son could come across in life and see how we would handle it, but it doesn't become a reality until you're actually in the situation. For the most part, Mahal and I are usually able to come to a compromise on how to handle a situation, but this was still all new to me. It was honestly hard for me to step back on certain things. I was so used to growing up where everything went my mom's way that I seriously didn't know how to react when there had to be two opinions to take into consideration when it came to our son. Mahal and I grew up from different backgrounds, different morals, and different values. We had a lot of stuff in common but sometimes you don't take your partner's upbringing into consideration when prepping for a baby. Mahal grew up with things a little more lenient and laid back where everything wasn't a big deal while I grew up with 10,00 rules, crazy discipline and everything always seemed like the end of the world.

Regardless, we agreed that we will always have each other's back just in case JAM decides to be sneaky and ask the other parent for something low key. Our first major co-parenting incident that I can remember had to be the weeks before JAM was born. I always knew that I was going to breastfeed my son, and taking care of all my little cousins it only seemed natural to circumcise my son as well. I honestly didn't even think to bring it up to Mahal because this seemed like a natural process to me. Somewhere down the line of my pregnancy the topic was brought up. Basically, Mahal was telling me that he didn't want me to breastfeed because he wants to be the first one to feed the baby and he won't be able to do that since I'm the one with the boobs and milk. He also said he assumed we weren't getting our son circumcised because no one in his family is circumcised and that was pretty typical for Puerto Rican boys. WHAT?!

We went back and forth for DAYS on the pros and cons of it all with a few minor arguments in between. We basically agreed that I will breastfeed and the baby won't get circumcised, but with a few stipulations: I will pump so that Mahal can be a part of the feeding process, and JAM can stay uncircumcised as long as Mahal teaches him proper hygiene as JAM gets older. If at any point in time does JAM incur any issues with his boy parts because of him not being circumcised, he will be circumcised with no questions asked and no matter what age he is. Phew! 2 situations down, 7 billion to go. Mahal and I continuously talk about different scenarios that JAM may come across and how we would handle it all just to see each other's point of view. I think that even though Mahal and I both grew up in single-parent households that we've done a great job trying to make co-parenting work. Like I said before, we're both Leos so it's pretty easy for us to butt heads from time to time, but I think we can always come to a compromise as long as we continue to put personal feelings aside to see the benefits of the situation for JAM.


What was a co-parenting scenario that you had trouble making a decision on or where you wouldn't budge on your opinion of the matter?