If you know me and you know my husband, then you know how different we are. He's a math guy. I'm a word girl. He is the most innately athletic guy I know; I throw like an injured turtle. He likes to listen to music in the car. I like to talk, and play games, and plan our future, and discuss dinner for the next week.
These differences can often result in conflict (we're different about how we fight, too. He's a yeller; I'm a crier) and having different personalities and different upbringings can often make co-parenting a challenge. However, it can also help create balance and harmony, especially when you are "blessed" with a difficult baby.
Before Ella, or BE if you will, I was not nervous about having a baby. The pregnancy was planned, the preparations were in place, and I was totally ready to be a mom. I'd been babysitting since I was 12, I was a nanny all through college, and I had dealt with the whole dirty diaper-vomit-tantrum-night -time-whatever that a baby had to offer. Mike, on the other hand, had never changed a diaper and gagged when he had to empty a litter box. Out of the two of us, I was definitely more confident that I was the more adept parent and assumed I'd have to spend most of my time showing him the ropes of this whole baby thing while rolling my eyes and sighing incredulously.
And then Miss Ella B showed up, all crying and not sleeping at night, and nursing non-stop, and I quickly turned into a weepy, foggy sack of potatoes who didn't know what to do with herself or her baby. I didn't want to go out because I knew she would cry the minute we put her in the car seat. I never put her down because I couldn't stand to hear her cry. I didn't want to supplement with formula because I couldn't accept that my body wasn't making enough milk.
Enter my husband who so wonderfully and so annoyingly knows how to just R...E...L...A...X. Because, you see, the biggest difference between my husband and me is that I worry and he doesn't. He's the kind of person who will say, "Why worry about things you can't change?" as if I've made a choice to worry, as if I get up in the morning and think, "Hmmm, what should I do today? Relax and be content with life, or stress out? Ya know what, I think I'll freak out today and feel terrible." This drives me crazy, of course, but I have to remember that he doesn't know what it's like to be an anxious person, so I can't really blame him, and as frustrating as his disposition can be, it's the main thing that got me through those first six months of motherhood.
Because as cheesy as it sounds, he is my rock. He is that solid thing that keeps me (somewhat) sane and reminds me to "Keep Calm and Carry On." He is the one who would look at my tired face and tell me to go to sleep while he rocked Ella. He was the one who made me take her places even though I was nervous she would cry the whole time. He was the one who convinced me that supplementing with formula was not the end of the world. He's the one who made me sleep train her and do all the other hard things that I never would have done on my own.
And he's the one who watched his wife fumble through the first year of motherhood without any semblance of grace and simply said, "relax," and gave me a hug. And to my surprise, that was exactly what I needed.