My Inner Feminist Cries In The Night

For months and months and a year and more I was in charge of 90% of all night wakings because our baby is breastfed and I wear the breasts. And, if I might say, I wear them quite well.

These days she generally doesn’t eat/drink at night, so the torch of night wakings has been passed to Dave. We made this agreement during daylight hours with use of logic and it makes sense.

And yet I find myself justifying it. To myself. To Dave. To anyone who is listening, although I get the sense that no one else really cares.

I did this for the first 15 months of her life. Dave doesn’t have to go work all day long right now. We agreed to this, together, both of us. It’s fair. It’s fine. It was his idea too. We want her to get used to it for when I’m away overnight (not that I want to leave her, I don’t, but sometimes I do, but I don’t, but I do but I’m confused so please stop asking me). He wants to help. He’s a good husband. We’re an egalitarian family. I’m not making him do it. I’m a nice wife. A good mother. I work hard.

It’s hard not to hate myself for this justifying and explaining because OF COURSE IT’S FINE. It’s more than fine. It just is what it is. We are partners, she is OUR child, I deserve rest as much as Dave does.

Sometimes, when Dave gets up to calm our child in the night, I lay there trying to pretend like I’m not awake. But why does it take him so long to get dressed? And why does he need to get dressed, is this an activity that requires and shirt? And does he have to go the bathroom and take the world’s longest pee BEFORE going in to get her!? I have held in a pee for like 10 hours in the day in the past while caring for her because I put her needs before mine so much of the time. SO WHY CAN’T HE!? And in the dark of night I’m mad at him for her escalating cries while I listen to him wash his hands after said pee. The nerve.

In the light of day I know that I’m not really mad at him for failing to put his own needs behind her needs at all times. I mean, on a logical level I do think holding the pee for a few more minutes might make more sense because while he takes that horse whiz she often gets more worked up…but that might just be me micro-managing things…

On a theoretical level what I’m really upset about is the fact that I do consistently put myself last, despite knowing how cliché that is. Despite knowing that it’s not always necessary or warranted or logical. I’m pissed off because see myself throwing myself on the altar of the martyred mother even though I know better. I am mad because I blame Dave for the fact that I can guilt myself out of a bathroom break for hours on end though he’d be the first person to tell me to just taking a friggin’ pee already. These thoughts make me feel defeated, make me feel like patriarchy wins again.

So tonight I will roll over and put a pillow over my head, let my husband comfort our child because that’s what men do.

21 thoughts on “My Inner Feminist Cries In The Night

  1. Hell yeah – hold that pee! For cryin out loud.

    Lane, I SO relate to this post. Like, so, SO relate. With R, Mike had to insert himself in the bedtime routine. I remember him, trying to get R down late one night, physically blocking me away with his arm. “SHANA. I am HIS FATHER. He and I need to figure this shit out together! GO AWAY.”


    But mike was right (even though he was a little crazy-eyed when he said it). And in terms of not putting yourself first…isn’t that normal, given the stage? The first 3 years are SO intense and yeah – “me time” is a bit of a joke. But then one day you wake up, take your son to school, and he’s all “See ya, Mom” and his only backwards glance is to ask if he can stay for the afternoon program. Sob!!

    This is how I could end up with five children.

  2. Yep– been there. My husband is taking a sabbatical in about two months when I have our second, and he’s going to be “in charge” of our first while I deal with all the newborn craziness. In theory, it will allow me to sleep while the new baby sleeps. In practice, it will mean I’m fretting over everything he’s doing “wrong” while I’m not around.

  3. Lane! I love this… SO funny how mothers and fathers can be SO similar everywhere!! I know how hard it can be to let the Daddy take over… especially when he isn’t doing it “right”… or I am hearing the little one cry and I know that I could solve the problem in a second… and then I am mad because I’m still not getting to sleep because I am listening to my baby cry while Daddy tries to figure it out! So then I get up and go help because I figure all three of us are wide awake anyway… and then I’m back to solo night parenting because I figure I will be up anyway and I cannot let go of my ocd control freakishness. Our daughter is 9 months. 🙂

    1. I know how you feel Genny. 🙂 But I have now reached the point where, yes, we’re all up anyway, but I’m up and staying warm and cozy in the bed instead of on my feet with the baby! It’s the little things!

  4. It will get better as she gets used to daddy getting up and not mommy! I remember that transition and having all those same thoughts, but now I honestly sleep through it all and Jack goes back to bed MUCH faster for Tom than I. Plus you definetly deserve the sleep and break!

  5. I gets easier! I remember that transition and thinking those same thoughts. But now I honestly sleep right through it all and Jack goes back to bed MUCH faster for daddy than mommy! In fact he prefers Tom put him to bed at night over me now. V will get used to Daddy’s timing and technique and you will enjoy the extra sleep!

    1. I wish I could see this hope for me Kaylie, but I can’t. I’m just too light a sleeper, always have been. Dave has been in charge of naps and bedtime for a while, and V never really protests at all when he goes to her in the night! But still, I listen to every little peep and seriously time how long of a pee he takes before going in. CAN HE NOT HOLD IT UNTIL HE’S DONE!?

      1. I have recently realized with my son that this not being able to hold pee thing starts early on in boys. My son has now peed on the locker room floor at the Y twice and this weekend after his shower I let set him down naked for 2sec while I ran for a diaper and he walked over to his Grama’s glass hutch put both hands up on it, stood on his tippy toes and pissed all over it! Soooo much pee! Then after my gasp and Grama running in to check things out, he turned around threw his head back and laughed! BOYS BOYS BOYS!

  6. I don’t have a baby, but I have a fiance who takes pees that astound me on a daily basis with their length. I’m glad it’s not just him. Where do they hide all that liquid??

  7. LANE!! this is actually hilarious!! My Dave does this exact thing with the morning feeding. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO SLEEP IN when i know that all Ridge needs is his bummed changed and a bottle. He insists on brushing his teeth AND going pee BEFORE he goes and greets the awake screaming baby! grr.

  8. Love your posts Lane, reading them feels like coming home (of feminist motherhood :)?). My inner feminist recently cried in front of my boss, that must make you feel better about your issue?. Yes, I am working up the courage to write about that one.

    But seriously, the pee mystery. When I was on maternity leave with a 2 month old who would only nap in 30min stretches ON ME, my husband would come home at 5:30pm, say hi, give us kisses and say “I need to go pee”. One day I yelled “No you don’t. Pee at work”. He looked at me a little bit scared, for my sanity, and for himself :). To this day I believe I was right.

    1. Oh my Jelena, I can’t wait to hear about that episode. 🙂

      I TOTALLY agree! He could pee any time he wanted all day long at work!? And eat with two hands!? And talk to adults?! No way. You were totally right.

  9. Ok, so I know we are really getting off topic and our husbands’ need to pee wasn’t really the point of your original post, but bear with me for one more husband pee story… My husband (who happens to be a wonderful father and husband by the way…) and I were out to dinner with two other couples, their children and our 5 month old daughter. I had been holding our daughter throughout dinner trying to eat over her while dropping as little food on her head as possible while my husband enjoyed yet another meal with TWO HANDS! Finally when he was done, and sitting chatting with our friends, and enjoying his 2nd or 3rd beer, I asked him to hold our daughter so that I could eat. He immediately started grimacing as if in extreme pain and said “I have to go pee first!” I about lost it then and there to the point that one of our friends, afraid for my husband’s life I believe, offered to hold our daughter so that my husband could go tend to this emergency that suddenly came out of nowhere. How does that happen? Boys! 🙂

  10. Ha, laughed at Jelena’s comment about yelling “pee at work.” I can so relate. I can say though that with baby number #2 when I have to pee, I just set her down and do it (even if that means she’s starts crying on the bath mat for 30 seconds) and I have been known to pee before picking her up in the middle of the night…who knew you could just do that (the things you learn with experience)???

  11. The comments of this post are as good as the post… I think we need to study the ‘pee’ing length’ of males. Haha!

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