Being a co-parent instead of the traditional single mom and dad with established visitation means that in some ways, you have to function like a marriage.
Since Toyin and I decided to go the co-parenting route, this means three things. One, I often refer to myself as single-ish when I’m talking to other parents because I don’t like the stereotypical image of saying I’m a single mom. Two, I have to consult Toyin on things like when to take Annika to the doctor and how often she brushes her teeth. And three, I still don’t have time to date. The latter has more to do with the fact that I’m still breastfeeding and co-sleeping and I have other things to do when I am without Annika, but that doesn’t mean I won’t make an effort to blame Toyin for it.
Anyhoo, last week Annika was sick and when she gets sick, the dys in our dysfunction flares up and man, does it itch like crazy!
We tend to disagree on how to treat illness. I tend to take the more laid back attitude of, “Well, we’ll see if the rash goes away on its own. If it starts dripping puss, then we can try rubbing some raw garlic on it and if that doesn’t work I’ll take her to the doctor.”
Toyin on the other hand, well, I’ll just put it this way. I’ve taken her to the doctor twice for one cold because he was determined that she was going to die if we didn’t inject her with something that ended in dryl or drine and had lots of ingredients that I can’t pronounce.
So, yeah. Last week she was sick. She wasn’t dripping puss or running a fever, but she was highly uncomfortable.
What was wrong with her is irrelevant, and I’m going to be vague about it because I think this particular problem crosses the line into her privacy and what could potentially embarrass her.
But I thought I had it under control and instead of asking Toyin for advice, I gave him a list of items I needed from the store and assumed he would show up with them.
Instead of getting all of the items on my list, he got two out of the seven items and then some stuff that was actually counterproductive (in my opinion).
I was all, “WTF Dude! Are you fucking kidding me? Don’t you have a cell phone? Check in next time.”
And he was all, “I don’t need to check in with you. I have a mind and I can think for myself. Quit being a beotch!”
Okay, okay, he didn’t actually use the B word, but I could see it hovering in his mind. When you get to a certain age, you can almost feel the B word and the C word inside the head of a man. They don’t actually have to say it. They just think it and all your lady parts stand at attention ready to retaliate.
Then over the weekend Toyin and I got into a discussion about education, as in, what Annika’s education will look like as she is growing up.
Once again, I got all huffy with him and I ended our discussion with, “I can’t talk about this right now.”
Oh christ. Did those words just come out of my mouth? I am for sure turning into my mother. I just hope I don’t forget how to check my voicemail and start doing crossword puzzles.
Since I learned that I was pregnant, I formed a pact with myself that I would not impose the exact same negativity on my child that my parents did with me and my siblings.
My parents fought insanely my entire childhood. Even when they weren’t having major blowouts, the bickering was constant.
That was something I never considered as a possible problem. Toyin and I weren’t getting married. Sure, we argued sometimes but except for the time when we were an actual couple, the fights were rare. For the most part, we got along.
Then we moved in together and spent the first 18 months as parents under one roof.
I’d say that 80 percent of the time, it was at least, okay. There were some blowouts. It got nasty a few times. I chalked it up to normalcy. I mean, even loving couples argue. Passion often inspires heated moments between anyone and even though Toyin and I aren’t passionate about each other anymore, we’re still passionate and very, very opinionated people.
But after last week I realized something, our lives will be entwined for a long time. (I know, you’re going, really Martha, you JUST realized this?) Somehow I thought that once we moved into separate homes things would change and I would get to start making all the decisions without consulting him. Ever. Okay, no I didn’t really think that, but somehow I thought it would get easier. And it has, mostly. We are definitely getting along better again. But even though we aren’t married, our lives function that way on some level. We will always have to make decisions for Annika as parents. And boy howdy, the big ones haven’t even started yet.
So far, we’ve done alright. Our biggest decisions have usually started with me going, “I want to try some kooky new age crazy hippie thing.” Then he looks at me like I’ve lost my damn mind. Then I explain and explain and eventually wear him down.
Just kidding. Okay, not really. But most of the time we make rational decisions based on what’s best for Annika. And I think we’ll do just fine. I’m just looking for a way to do it with less “discussing.” And by discussing I mean arguing and bickering.
So, how do people do it? How do you make decisions without arguing? I am not a big fan of compromise, especially on big decisions. I mean, that just seems like you have to take to really fine ideas and then water one or both of them down so that nobody is happy.
If one person wins all the time, the other person is never happy. And really, in situations like this, nobody really wins because family members shouldn’t have to compromise themselves to make the other person happy. It’s probably one of the main reasons people get surprised with divorce papers. One person was happy and the other person was silently stewing.
So, that’s the end. Normally I would try to think of something funny to sign off with but Toyin is due back with Annika. So, go rub some garlic on it and we’ll see if it stops itching.