We opted out of birthday parties this year. We always always spend a massive amount of money we don’t have entertaining everyone and then attempting to find places for the new toy load for three boys. So, we decided to make memories with them instead (Which I highly recommend, by the way. Semi low stress, happy kids, and fills up your instagram with cool pictures.)
Our first stop was the “animal park” in Wilmington. It is closer than the zoo and was the perfect amount of walking and attention time for the boys and myself. The birds said hello. The monkeys danced for peanuts. The lion licked himself. The Giraffe stunk. And, the goats made friends for hand fed corn.
I hadn’t taken the time to read about each animal...I was just trying to say hey and bye to get through this as painless as possible in the heat of the day with no stroller. However, at the very last stop I noticed two monkeys in a special environment. I read the plaque featuring their information and stopped dead in my tracks—“If they “get this” why can’t we??”
Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you the Owl Monkey. What fascinated me about this creature, besides the obvious cuteness, was the way they “interact” as parents. The mother carries the babe, births the babe, and cares for the babe for only the first two weeks of the monklet’s life (new word for ya). Then, the mommy monkey is only responsible for nursing the babe. That’s it. The daddy carries the babe and is responsible for the training and socialization.
Do you know why???
So the mommy can survive.
Go ahead, read that again...I’ll wait here.
Yes, so she can sustain her life.
Now, I ain’t saying we need to switch roles because I love my duty as a mother and take pride in raising my children on the daily. Buuuuttttt, I think we could stand a teeny bit more understanding about this “metabolic cost” issue. If the female Owl Monkey is solely responsible for the babies she will expend so much energy it would be detrimental to the survival of the species.
So, what does this have to do with us? I’ve often pondered what it would look like if we were able to get back to the tribe concept in regards to mothering. This shouldn’t be pinned on just the parents but our community as a whole. If we shared in supporting mothers while they were pregnant, laboring, postpartum, and beyond I do believe it would alleviate many problems we face such as isolation, illnesses due to sleep deprivation, and burn out. All of us love our children but we just need help carrying them.