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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Comments

Erin

I had these same fights with myself when my daughter (now nearly 19 (19!! gah!) months) was Asher's age.

I eventually came to a couple of conclusions with the help of my husband. 1) Mike ENJOYS spending time with our daughter. He looks forward to seeing her when he gets home from work and doesn't see it as work. Handing Asher over to Dave when he gets home isn't falling down on the Mommy job, it's sharing. Dave gets to hang out with his son and you get some time without another being glued to your side. Win-win! 2) Your former job was not a 24/7 deal. You were not expected to be available to speak with your boss at 3:34am, nor (I'm assuming) did your prior job include working on a Saturday. Motherhood doesn't have to be that way either. Dave is trying to give you a break and you should take it. If you have a hard time shutting down the Mommy sense (and God knows I have a hard time with that, too) take a couple Tylenol PM, put in some earplugs and go the heck to sleep! :) Dave wouldn't offer to take the night shift unless he was ok with doing it.

Oh, and Hi! I came over when you had the comment contest thing (with the video you still haven't posted - we haven't forgotten :)) and have been lurking around in the background ever since.

kerflop

I try to split the night time parenting thing pretty evenly, but then we both work at home so I figure we kind of need to share the sleep deprivation. I've got three kids, so my husband will get up (after I shove him off the bed) with the boys but I'm still on titty duty with the baby.

Being a mom is a job, yes, and when you stay home all day and do that job, it seems a little bit unfair that you don't get off at 5 when your husband does. So don't feel guilty let him help and then offer him a hand job as thanks.

Diane

First of all, I think you're being waaay too hard on yourself. I know you signed on to be a full time SAHM, but you need to stop feeling like that puts you in charge of Asher 24 hours a day. Perhaps if Dave had a job where he worked 24 hours a day, this would be a fair assessment.

I can tell you the way my husband and I work things out with our 6 month old, not that it's by any means 100% fair all the time, but just to offer perspective on another way. We pretty much consider that my "work day" starts and ends with his, and all the rest of the time baby duties are 50/50. He usually takes her when he gets home, one reason being that he wants to give me a break, and the other reason being that he misses her so much. At least for the first hour or two that he's home, "taking care of her" isn't a job, it's fun for him just to play with her. It gives me a chance to relax, pump, and get dinner ready while he gives her a bath and gets her ready for bed.

Middle of the night stuff has gotten screwy lately. That used to be my territory, 100%, but now we sort of trade off. My husband figures I need the full night's sleep just as much as he does, because I have to "report for duty" at the same time every morning. Sure, I can grab a nap here and there at my job, but when I do I make sure to make it up to him later on by giving him a full night of rest or just extra time to slack off at home.

What I'm saying is, chances are Dave wants to help out with Asher more because he is his son and he just plain wants to spend time with him. Maybe you guys could sit down and talk about it, and you could find out from him what he expects from you and what you expect from him. I'm not saying a "schedule" is necessary, but maybe something like 2-3 times a week, he'll take Asher from the time he gets home until Asher goes to bed or he'll take over monitor duties or whatever.

You're doing a great job, and you really shouldn't feel guilty. Sorry for the novel, just my 12 cents.

Lori

I have two weeks left before my due date. I have nothing to offer except awe that you're doing such a great job, and you take your responsibility so seriously, and you're so concerned about being fair and supportive to your husband. You are setting the bar very, very high for the rest of us. I plan to return to work after six months, but I have no idea how (or if) that will work. That's why I tune in to see how things are going with you, and I appreciate your candor! Keep up the good work. Asher is a lucky little boy. Dave too, for that matter. :-D

Beret

Isn't the jogger wonderful? I think I logged about 500 miles on ours when my daughter was younger.

So Asher's sleep disturbances meant he was working on another big milestone...mobility! Wow, he's growing so fast.

I'm a SAHM and my husband works from 5:30am until 5:30 pm. You bet there are days I "hand the kids off" to him. He gets adult conversation. He gets a lunch (half)hour. He works hard, but so do I. And like someone above me said, it's not really handing off, it's sharing. If my husband gets home late and our littlest one is in bed already, he gets sad. He misses the kids and loves to help out.

When the babies (now 5 1/2 and 2 years old) were babies, he definitely got up in the night. We were bottlefeeding and I really think him getting involved with the night feedings/wakings is part of the reason he has such a close relationship with the kids. And there is NO way I could have functioned during the day without some help at night.

Both of my kids got up ever 2.5 hours to eat for the first 4 months. It was hard, but we took shifts (me 9-1, him 1-5) and knowing I had a small chunk of uninterrupted sleep was a bit of a consolation. FWIW I never ever slept when the kids napped. There was too much to do around the house so it's not like I was getting all this relaxation time in while my husband was slaving away at work.

We don't and shouldn't have to do it all just because we stay at home.

Let Dave take the monitor. Heck, give it to him every night if it means Asher will sleep straight through!

Amanda

When I quit my job it was with the understanding that child care was entirely my job, which didn't bother me because it already was. Because I worked fewer hours at an easier job than Dave, I already did 95% of the work.

Now I'm only contractually allowed to sleep in on my birthday and on Mother's Day. And my Dave rarely, if ever, offers to let me sleep in. It's actually a sore subject. I'm about to start a new writing job and I've asked him to give me two hours once a week out of the house so I can work and it's making him super bitter. Part of me can't wait to go back to work so we're equal again.

The problem is that my life IS fun. And his is SO TOTALLY NOT. Being a lawyer is stressful and sucks the life right out of a person, so I understand where he's coming from. But STILL. Shouldn't he just be HAPPY that his hard work is allowing me to have such a good time and for our kids to benefit from my being home?

The thing is, I KNEW this was exactly what would happen when I quit my job and I did it anyway. So whatever. Being home is fun and our marriage will survive. I'll go back to work in five years and it won't matter anymore.

Maggie

It seems like the mommy always gets more of the baby responsiblities. Even though my husband usually only works about 4 or 5 hours a day I still take care of Oliver most of the time. I think that I have the same idea - that he worked at a JOB and all I had to do was play with a baby all day. But then again, taking care of a baby is hard work...time consuming and energy draining. By the end of the work day you've changed how many diapers? given how many bottles? sung the same song how many times?!?!
I still work part time, but when I get home from 5 hours of work hubby hands the boy off to me so he can have a break. Is it so wrong to expect the same consideration? I don't think so! Then again if he OFFERS to help out then I say let him. Even if you still wake up at every rustle or sigh, you won't have to get out of bed. (in theory)

Cat, Galloping

I went back to work, BUT in my opinion, the hours that your husband is not at work outside of the home should be split evenly in terms of baby caretaking. If he's home at 5:00 and Asher goes to bed at 7:00, that's an hour for each of you. I don't mean you should keep track with an abacus or anything, but Dave's job is not 24/7 and yours shouldn't have to be.

As for the night thing, 1) if putting Dave in charge of night wakings is all you have to do to get Asher to sleep through the night, do that every night! There! I solved all your problems! 1a) If that doesn't work and you feel guilty about Dave getting up when he has to go to the office, get him to do one weekend night per week. You'll be amazed what having one full night's sleep to look forward to will do for you. 2) Turn off the monitor. I mean, I don't know how big or soundproof your house is, but I think you will hear him if he needs you, and you don't need to hear every russle and sigh. Step away from the baby monitor!

Jennie

I love your blog!

When my son was Asher's age, I went through many of the same things that you describe. Just wait until next year, trust me, you'll have no problem handing the little one off at the end of the day. It's good for you to have a break, good for Asher to have that same connection with his dad, and good for your husband too. Everybody wins, and it doesn't make you less of a mother to share the responsibilities with dad.

Erica

Everything in our house falls on my shoulders. I have a two year old and a four year old. My two year old still wakes up a couple times a night. I do get sometime to run to the store by myself. Other than that I take care of everything. The only reason I let it slide is because my husbands day starts at 7:00 and last untill late into the evening. He works full time and is in school full time so he really doesn't have much time for anything else. If Dave will take the monitor I say go for it....I know once my husband is finished with everything he will help out anytime he can.

Dee Dee

When my husband comes home from work, it is mostly 50/50 although he gets most of the diaper changes from the time he walks in the door until bed.

The way I see it is that your job is 24/7 as is Dave's. The difference is he gets to leave work, have a change of environment, have weekends, etc. You are with Asher ALL THE TIME.

It was ok for me at first but it's been a long time since I've been alone for significant chunks of time. If you don't let him take some of the duties, you will most definitely lose your mind.

Jenny

You pose some interesting questions, ones that I am sure to tackle when our little one arrives. I am curious to see what the others say.

I am glad you finally got some nice weather and are able to get out with the stroller. Enjoy!

Lisa

I felt the same way with my first. I was so exhausted by the end of the day and was handing her off to my hubby. I dont know why or how that changes but with your second it does. I guess because at the end of the day I still hand my oldest off to him but that still leaves me with the 4 monther but I cant feel exhausted and hand him off two kids because that just doesnt seem right does it? Consider yourself lucky for now.
I love my jogging stroller!!! What kind did you get? I have the runabout by Valco baby and its a dream!!!

heather

cute picture!

Now, when Dave comes home at the end of the day and you are exhausted, suppose someone told you- "Emily, would you like to help me frost this cake and eat it with me". Regardless of how tired you are, doesn't the sound of chocolate cake just give you the energy you need to frost and eat it?! Well, I get the sense that Dave just loves his son to pieces, so even though he has been working all day Asher is probably like chocolate cake to him.

When my daughter was little we used to argue over who go to hold her (seeing as I was the milkmaid- I always won).

Anyway- what I am trying to say is that a change of job/venue is good and even though Dave has been working all day- so have you. Now its time for you to switch jobs- Dave takes child care while you cook...copy edit or clean the bathroom or whatever.

Melissa

I have to agree with the first post. You agreed to Motherhood as Dave has agreed to Fatherhood. You need to keep your sanity and accept the offer(s).

Kristin

First of all let me say that I can't completely understand what you're going through because I work outside the home, but I do understand the guilt you feel and the assumption that because you're the mother, you should do everything. It's a horrible stigma that our society still places on mothers, and you would think that in this enlightened time, people would expect the father to have some responsibility, too.
I've felt that guilt, especially in the first couple of weeks since my husband did all of the night time feedings AND worked full-time. I was recovering from an emergency c-section, a uterine infection, and post-partum depression, and my doctor decided the best way for me to recover was to sleep, since Ryan wouldn't breastfeed at night anyway.
So I have pretty much had SuperHusband since day one anyways- of course all of the responsibilities have evened out at this point. Eric dresses and feeds Ryan in the mornings and takes him to daycare because I'm a teacher and have to be at work before daycare even opens. Since I'm a teacher, I can usually pick him up by 4 in the afternoons and spend a couple of hours with him before Eric gets home. We trade off dinner and bedtime. During the week we each get two nights to go to the gym while the other one takes care of Ryan. (Although let's be honest, I'm the only one who actually uses my gym time. Eric mostly sits on the couch and eats cookies. :) When he does wake up at night, we take turns getting him back to sleep.
This shared responsibility has worked wonders for us. Ryan spends time with each of us and we both have a wonderful bond with him.
I think that BECAUSE you stay home with Asher all day, you SHOULD expect Dave to help at night- you need a break!! I'm on my feet all day dealing with 100 teenagers and I'm still more exhausted on the days I take care of Ryan by myself. Also, as a previous poster said, Dave probably looks forward to coming home and spending time with you and Asher. Remember that he may have been working all day, but he was also probably thinking about how much he missed his family and looking forward to seeing you. Let him take over when he offers.

Sarah

Oh God, I'm so glad you posted this. I am so in the same boat as you on this one, a slightly different boat, actually, because we have not definitively decided I am a SAHM mom just yet...for the moment I'm in school part-time with a schedule that doesn't accomodate a job.

I feel sooooo very guilty anytime I flat out ask my husband to do anything when home from work, and soooooo very resentful that I'm up with the baby at the crack of dawn every Saturday and Sunday (and M-F) and he emerges from the bedroom at 9:30 and remarks how we used to sleep til noon and I want to scream, "If you're unhappy with 9:30, try 5:30!!"

It's the money factor. I feel guilt about all things financial, and this is no different. If I were even earning $1.00 to care for our baby, this would not be an issue.

To make matters worse, I am also resentful because I know that if I go back to work, I will still be the primary caretaker, because he will always make significantly more money than me, and I even have it in my head that more money=more grueling/more important job...but really, with the exception of a few weeks here and there throughout the year, he has a massively cushy job.

I look forward to reading what people have to say. I need to take care of this issue before the resentment gets out of control.

Anna

I'll chime in and say that, while you elected to be a full-time SAHM, keep in mind that no job should entail 24/7 hours. That way lies madness. Would you expect your husband to still be good (or even functional) at his job if he was responsible for it 24/7?

Also, you do your husband a disservice if you assume that all baby-duty is a JOB. In order to bond as a parent and become better at baby-care, you need to allow him to take care of the baby sometimes.

When I had my daughter, my husband was finishing his degree, and in fact had mid-terms the week after she was born. Balancing a baby and school for him was very difficult, but I realized that I just couldn't keep up a 24/7 schedule and he would end up not knowing his daughter (and vice versa) if I did that. I quite frequently had to leave the house for an hour or two in order to get a break in the evenings at first, because it is such a strong impulse to just take over. We also evolved a "taking turns" system with the night waking, which involved me waking up every time she did, but kicking him when it was his turn.

Most couples I've talked to have handled the night wakings differently, but all have had to come to some compromise that works for them.

andrea

As many of the previous posters have said, my husband and I split the morning and evening care 50/50. It works out well for us, especially now that the baby is sleeping through the night and neither of us are sleep deprived.

I do sometimes feel a bit guilty if I know he's had a particularly long day at work, but I think of my days with the baby as a job so at 6:00 pm I deserve a break, just as he had a lunch break, coffee break and 30 minute bus ride home to read a book break.

Enjoy the nights that Dave offers to take over night duty-especially if Asher sleeps through the night-then you don't even have to feel guilty about it!

lisa

Let hime take the nights - and sleep with your iPod!! Not that I ever did that when our son was teeny tiny :) Seriously, you shouldn't feel bad about Dave doing things for Asher. He wants to and he needs to - he's also 50% his, you know!!! When our son was nursing I did all the night wakings, but after that we've shared. More often its me, because I'm not working outside the home, but my husband does his fair share. And 95% of the time he takes him upstairs for bath and bedtime. There are other things, but I don't think there is a thing in the world wrong with your Dave doing bedtime!!! Here's the best thing my husband ever did - for a long while, every weekend he'd tuck our son into the baby bjorn and do the grocery and/or Costco shopping. I think that is the very moment I fell in love with him all over again. ;)

Cut yourself some slack....motherhood is a 24/7 job, and you deserve a break!!

Alyndabear

You have one of the CUTEST babies I have ever seen! :)

Good luck coming to a balance with the care factor; I'm sure it'll work out well.

Cathy

my sister got rugburn on her forehead once. When she was about four, she decided that the most fun thing in the world to do was to go down the staircase on all FIVES -- hands, knees, forehead. She rubbed the skin on her head clean off before my mother noticed, and the rugburn (and resultant scar) remained, this big, white circle in the middle of her forehead, until she was fifteen years old. True story.

Steph

I battle with those thoughts a lot too. Dan tried to give me a backrub last night and I kinda shrugged him off saying "Do you feel the difference in my shoulders since I haven't been at work?". Even though there are daily stresses with taking care or a little baby, my shoulders are no longer carrying that burden (thank goodness!).

TwinMomma

Think about it this way-would you want to be deprived of those special bedtime moments or early morning hours on the weekends with Asher if that was all you got? Dave deserves to have his "special" times with him. My husband spends as much weekend time with them as he can and Mommy gets to sleep in. Stop viewing Asher as a 'full time job' (although believe me, I know how that is!) when it comes to Dave. To your husband it's his baby and he should share in the care of him. And I don't mean this as any type of critisizm (I know I just spelled that wrong but I have twins so my brain is gone), I think it's something that every sahm has to struggle with on a daily basis. Until you just let it go and do the best you can.

LyndaL

Look at it this way: if you think of looking after Asher as work, then you can't be expected to work 24/7 so sharing the load when Dave gets home is sensible. If looking after Asher (like you do all day!) ISN'T work, then what it is the problem in sharing that? It's just "playing with your baby" and what father doesn't want to do that? Shouldn't be a guilt trip either way (bear in mind I a preaching what I have never managed to practise!)

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