Tip for the day: If your baby is going through a ‘catnapping’ phase, try waiting for half and hour then gently rousing them (not completely waking them up) so that their eyes flicker open and quickly close again. You may well find they sleep for another hour at least. Certainly worked for us!
I can’t predict what other people’s situations are, so forgive me if this post doesn’t apply. But I couldn’t cope without the support I get from my children’s dad. He really does keep me sane.
I’m very lucky to have him. Like many men (and a lot of women), he openly admits he couldn’t look after the girls full time, but he certainly makes the most of the time he does have with them.
Since Rosie arrived, I have become a lot better at asking Graham to take one or both girls off my hands when things get a bit much. When Jenny was in her first year, I had this awful (and I’m sure very irritating) habit of seeing her as my responsibility.
Let them help
Graham would offer to help and I would bat his suggestions away, assuming that he just felt obliged to offer (I think you’ll agree there’s a lot of second-guessing each other’s intentions during that first year – and it makes things pretty hellish).
It took me a while to realise that he genuinely wanted to help, but upon being turned down, didn’t want to bang on about it for fear of suggesting I wasn’t coping very well.
But he’s just as much these girls’ parent as I am. As obvious as that sounds, it seems to be the thing some of us fail to realise immediately. Your partner is just that: someone who is there to share your load and back you up when you need it. So don’t rob them of that purpose.
Bye bye, maternal freakouts
One of the best things about having two under two is that I no longer have the time or inclination to worry about whose turn it is to do what, or whether I’m getting a raw deal in any way. As a result, Graham gets more time with the girls, I harbour no resentment for doing too much of the legwork, and the girls enjoy quality time with their daddy.
Naturally, if you’re a stay-at-home mother with a partner who works long hours, you will be doing most of the childcare all week. But that’s all the more reason to make sure your partner gets some time with the babies at the weekend.
My best friend and her husband give each other a lie in each at the weekend. They take it in turns to get the kids out of the house and give each other much-needed peace and quiet.
The great thing about handing over responsibility to your partner is that they’ll have a fresh approach to entertaining them and you can just put your feet up for a little while, knowing they’re having a blast.
No guilt allowed!
Of course your partner needs some time to breathe too after a long week at work, but there are a lot of hours in a weekend.
If you’ve been given a couple off just to breathe and relax, you’ll be far more inclined to offer the same opportunity to your partner in return.
This is one of the posts that didn’t make it into my book. If you enjoyed reading this, take a look at Two under Two – coping with a baby and a toddler. Read, enjoy and review if you can!