WE ARE NOT COMPATIBLE AT 7AM
The sun shines in through the curtains, we wake slowly. I roll over in bed and put my arm around my love, and kiss her cheek. “It’s time to get up love,” I whisper and she nuzzles into the crevice in my neck between my jaw and my shoulder. She is soft and warm and sleepy.
We make love, and then get up, happily making breakfast for our five kiddos, while they gleefully get themselves ready for school: the bigs helping the littles as they go. Everyone’s bags are packed and ready, the diaper bag is stocked and waiting by the front door to go with the littles to daycare. We have fresh caffeine in to-go mugs and we feel ready to take on the world, hand in hand. Out the door we go, right on time.
Isn’t that the dream every Mom has everywhere when they leave their husband for a woman AND THEN TRANSITIONS TO MALE?
It sure as fuck WAS mine.
I can hear the movie trailer now. Two solo parents rescue each other from the throes of early morning parenting. Where they were once frazzled, grouchy killjoys, they are are now joyful, well-resourced lovebirds killing the morning routine.
Isn’t that every primary parent’s dream ever? That their partner would be the one right there, happily hand in hand making every moment better? Making everything easier?
totally how Katherine and I thought things would go.
Admittedly, I was more sure about the daily morning sex than she was, but a guy can dream.
We thought that since both of us were coming from rocking that single parent life, we would revel in the shared responsibilities of those batshit fucking crazy 90 minutes before everyone has to be at school/daycare/work.
We thought wrong.
Instead we would drop our last sweet baby at dayhome and then we’d fight the whole drive home.
turns out we are not compatible at 7 am.
I’m a morning person who is happiest to be alive first thing when I wake up.
I want connection, and fun, and sunshine and kitchen dancing and all the goodness that comes with starting a day brand new.
Katherine… is not.
She doesn’t hit her agreeable to be alive, let alone awake point, until at least 10am.
This meant that all my morning joy was vampired by her because she hates joy before noon. Simple fact. She hates the sun, and the moon, and the ocean and even baby sloths before 10am.
And Shhhh…. I have a secret to tell you.
Every evening as we are rounding the halfway point of family dinner I begin to feel the resilience being drained from my eyeballs. My empathy seeps from each pore. I get more and more grouchy with every passing second. Ready to pounce on and devour joy at every turn.
But Katherine, she turns into this saintly creature with endless love and nurturing energy. She loves the slow sleepy process of putting our house to bed. She revels in the stories read, secrets whispered, and the kissing of all eight hundred thousand imaginary booboos.
WE ARE COMPLETE OPPOSITES.
And so instead of holding onto our fantasy, we got WILD.
We decided to do something about it.
Rather than fight every morning about how we should be enjoying our mornings more! God Dammit! And being more strict about bed times (both obviously the right/my perspective ) for christ sake, we decided to captain our own ships. I own the mornings. They are typically 8x louder than Katherine would like, and almost always include a dance party.
And every morning on the way out the door to deliver the littles to their place in the world, I yank Katherine’s cute little ear plugs out and wake her with tea. She introverts. And then we start our days.
This also means that after school, she’s the Primary Parent. She does pick up, (we alternate the cooking these days, but that ebbs and flows with our work loads) and runs bedtime. I’m there, a part of things, but I have permission to hide away for as little or as much as I want. And when inevitably someone is up in the night with a nightmare or a cough, she gets up while I sleep blissfully through.
IT SEEMS COUNTER INTUITIVE, BUT BY TRULY NEGOTIATING OUR ROLES WE AVOID 80% OF PARTNERING FIGHTS.
Instead of both of us sucking the joy out of each other’s favourite parts of the days with our kids, we choose to divide and conquer.
Yeah, okay, the fantasy is a partner you can “Do It All With”— but is it?
Or is it someone to trade off with? Or is it a new kind of thing altogether?
Someone who makes you bigger and braver, and seen and safe.
Time and time again in our relationship we find the most love, the most peace and the most success in doing things so differently than we thought we should. As we grow and stretch and find new secret rooms inside of us, we renegotiate. I imagine this routine will shift a dozen times in as many years but for now we’ve found this way to love and serve each other that looks a little different than we thought it would.