It’s sometimes hard to decide which is the biggest pain in the ass: the tear/piles/prolapse (delete as appropriate) sustained whilst pushing another human out of one’s hoo-haa; the continuous toddler meltdowns which thus ensue; or the dreaded sleep-deprivation – in my case caused by colic. Which is another post in itself…
During these early days, we get through however we need to. It’s all well and good proclaiming we’ll never co-sleep or use a dummy, but if it’s a case of stick to your guns or get some zzz’s? Well, put it this way: I appear to be co-sleeping. Groan.
How Did That Happen?
It’s the one thing, for the sake of my marriage, I really wanted to avoid. I managed not to do it with Pixie despite her initial refusal to sleep unless she was lying on one of our chests. But this time, though Elfin is incredibly chilled out when she is chilled out, when it comes to the evenings it’s a battle just to get half an hour to put our feet up before it all begins again.
I’m not exaggerating – we literally often don’t get even thirty minutes downtime as husband and wife, with both children sleeping. It’s relentless and exhausting.
I am so knackered. I am also so lucky. But damn – I could use a holiday. And I know that won’t happen for a very long time yet. Sure, we may have a few days away as a family, but let’s be real: that ain’t no holiday for mummy and daddy.
So How Are We Coping?
For a start, I don’t expect my husband to get up in the night. Never have, never will. He gets up between 4.30 and 5.30am to go out to work to take care of us. And while he’s doing that, sure, I’m at home taking care of our babies. And yes, I am often on my knees by the time he gets home.
But I need the breadwinner in our family to go out and earn a crust.
Hubby makes more than I do at the moment (I work ‘part-time’ – though you wouldn’t think it, every spare moment I have – haha – is ploughed into the blog) and we are both self-employed. Our family can’t afford for him to be too tired to do a hard day’s graft. His job is physical and hazardous – I can’t afford for him to not be on the ball, either. (Actually, I’d probably be quite well off, but I think I’d prefer to have a husband and a father for my babies than a big payout. Then who would help me at the weekends?!)
Fairness and Balance
And that’s the thing – he does help me at the weekends, and in the afternoons and evenings when he gets home. He does as much as he can; and he’s able to because I don’t expect him to get up through the night.
Since I’m breastfeeding, it’s not like he can do very much to assist anyway. (That said, he will get up for Pixie if she wakes and he hears her or if I’m busy with Elfin.)
Should Dad Get Up in the Night?
I’ll gladly confess that in my view, it’s a harsh expectation to hold.
This may be unpopular or unwelcome; that’s fine: as you’ll be aware by now, I don’t shy away from controversial.
For the record, my husband more than pulls his weight around the house. We’re a great team. He’s very supportive. That goes both ways, and I like to think it keeps our marriage strong when we have two little darlings hellbent on destroying our relationship…
There is another way in which we’re coping. It’s one I’ve been hesitant about sharing – but I’m gonna do it. Next week.
What are your thoughts? Do you make/let your partner get up during the night to help with the baby, even if they have to get up for work the following morning?
This post has quickly become my most (un)popular post ever. I’ve really infuriated some people and mostly it’s because I think I’ve been misunderstood. There are several comments both below and on social media which take my views out of context, and so I’ve written a follow-up post explaining how actually, I’m a traditionalist and a feminist – the two are not mutually exclusive.