When I found out I was pregnant, I was twenty-eight years old, had a great career, was financially stable and did not need a man to provide anything for my daughter other than love and attention. I am unapologetically, an alpha female. I was raised to be strong, independent, and not need anything from anyone. The thought of becoming a mother made me double down on my alpha instincts. I transformed into a mother bear willing and able to do anything and everything for my little cub. The transition to motherhood for me was logistically a breeze. I already had a nest egg of cash saved, and I bargain shopped every designer and baby product on the market. Between my impulsive buying and awesome framily, my baby did not need anything for the first two years of her life. At some point after I decorated the perfect Pinterest inspired nursery, washed-ironed-hung all of her little clothes on miniature pink velvet hangers (with handmade closet dividers), organized the almost two years worth of diapers by size, put her car seat in my car, and pack one of her four diaper bags, my boyfriend asked, “am I going to be able to buy anything for OUR daughter.”
His words hit me like a ton of bricks because, I realized I had all but intentionally limited his parenting to emotional support. I did not notice anything odd because I was perfectly happy. He was giving me everything that I wanted from him, support and love. He never missed a doctor’s appointment my entire pregnancy (in a fit of hormonal rage I even made him leave a business trip early so he would not miss a routine check-up around month five). He would get out of the bed at midnight to take me to get hot donuts or drive me around town to find the best peaches. Truth be told, I had no desire for him to do anything else. I mean… know everything about parenting MY daughter. Oops, I meant “our” daughter.
I am strong. I am independent. I never ask anyone for anything. I am prideful to a fault. I despise asking for help. I am strong willed and able-minded. I am an alpha female. Now I am a mother. An alpha mother that does not have a problem admitting that all the wonderful attributes that make me an alpha female also make me a terrible co-parent.
We a nearly three years in and it is still challenging for me to relinquish any right to the rearing of our daughter. In my defense, I did turn out okay, and I would be delighted if she turned out just like me. So I have the “road-map” of sorts. I have several examples of my lackluster co-parenting abilities but most recently I refused to relinquish any control of education decisions. Since pregnancy I have obsessed about our daughter’s early childhood education choices. I have visited most public schools and researched public and charter options in our city. I decided on my top choice, which is a costly private school for girls. I completed the application process, our daughter was accepted, and I paid the seat deposit for her to attend. I did all of this before I consulted with my daughter’s father/significant other. This situation is just one of the many examples of times that I have all but excluded him from making major decisions in regards to our daughter. [I mean… I know more about education than he does so this has to be okay, right?]
I am far from perfect, and I know that I have to co-parent our daughter intentionally including her village in decisions. In being mindful about my decision to co-parent, I try to ask myself a few questions before making decisions. 1. Is this a major or minor decision? 2. Is this decision something that I would want to make if I was a dad? 3. How does this decision impact our daughter? Co-parenting, if you are in a relationship or not, is difficult. I always have to remind myself that this amazing little girl a is truly ours, not mine. We kind of went half on a baby after all.