Navigating relationships when sleep deprived
Oh it's SO hard isn't it?
The exhaustion, frustration and resentment.
You don't want to feel it but it's there, right? And the trouble is it's not your partners fault....it's not your fault....and it's definitely not the baby's fault!
I'll give you an insight into what I felt back when our little dude was new to the world and the first issue I faced was night rage teamed with loneliness.
You know, when those night time feeds are so incredibly long and you feel all alone in that quiet room despite the fact there are three of you there. You feel like you have the boobs so it's your role. Your partner could do the nappies and then you feed but what's the point in you both being tired?
You sit there and look over at your partner sleeping soundly (or snoring) unaware of the fact you are wide awake, nibbling on biscuits and ordering from Amazon to pass the time. And whilst you do have those moments to gaze down at your little ones and soak them in, you also feel cross.
Cross that you are missing out on the sleep, that you responsibility seems to be 80/20 and that you will be the one struggling the next morning.
You feel cross because your baby keeps stirring so you can't lie your head down for an hour even as they want to be help over and over. And whilst you hold them there's the worry of trying to to fall asleep holding them.
How can you win this one??
Next is the issue of who looks after the baby when your partner gets back from work.
He's tired and been working. You're tired and have been mothering. He's been working all day and needs a rest. You've had a barnacle baby all day and need a rest. You're both tired and frustrated and this gets heated and no matter what decision is made, one of you will feel it is unfair.
How do you figure that one? Who gets the break?
Jobs. Bloody jobs. It's so hard isn't it? When do they get done? You feel like it's your responsibility as you're at home but if you have a clingy baby who needs constant motion or skin to skin, how can you get it all done? And if you have a content baby, where do you get the energy from to get it done?
Husband comes home and asks if his shirts are washed, what time dinner will be ready, why the bed hasn't been made......and you think jeeze I've only got two hands.
Navigating relationships at the start when there's a new being thrown into the mix is so hard.
Quite often the father, or second caregiver can feel quite detached if there isn't much for them to do, and also may feel a little forgotten about so it's good to remember they may be struggling too.
It's also good to remember that commication, organisation and sharing the load is SOOOO important especially in those first few months when you're trying to figure out how your new life works!
What did we do? I struggled. I tried to do it all. I didn't reach out for help. And I don't want you to do what I did.
The best rule to go by is whoever doesn't have the baby, does something for yourself as parents. Whether that's cook, clean, get things ready for bedtime, plan something nice for the weekend.
The mum rage and resentment is tough but if you can give your other half some of the load it'll feel much more fair. If you do all the nights, the next day or at the weekend you schedule in some down time and he has his role at sole caregiver for a few hours. At night try listening to some positive, relateable podcasts that make you feel good as you feed your little one. And don't Google. Stay away from Google!
Take it in turns. Perhaps every other day dad comes in after work and takes over with baby and the days in between you carry on with baby and dad can go have a shower and do some quick jobs.
If you can work out a schedule that is easy to go by and works for both of you, you'll have expectations of what will happen each evening and there's less room for frustration.
Make sure you both get a little time alone. Whether that's a shower, sat folding the laundry, or cooking with your favourite music on. We all need that moment away from anyone being dependent on us and that is completely normal.
And the jobs, some can really wait. Outsource to others-get a family member to pop in to help with them or care for baby so you can get it done.
Do a little at a time-15 minutes even-and it'll all feel much more manageable.
These days I am so much better at doing this. We have days when daddy does bedtime so I get time alone. I give out jobs or ask my parents to come play with Felix so I can clean the bathroom. I fold laundry one day and put it away over the following two days.
I do still feel the resentment but we talk about in. Earlier this week I explained how I was SO jealous that he got a 40 minute drive to work and back on his own every day. He'd rather not be doing it but to me it sounds bloody dreamy!!!!!
So what do you want you to take from this?
You're not alone, these feelings are normal and they can't be helped but can be eased.
Do a little bit at a time so it doesn't feel too full on and find a schedule that works for you as a couple.
Your other half may be struggling with the transition too. Be there for each other and communicate.
I hope that this helps anyone struggling or trying to deal with these feelings ❤️