Nighttime with a baby.
This is a topic that is all too familiar with mothers everywhere.
And in this day and age, there are women all over the world who raise babies completely solo. Without any help. From anyone. To these women, not only do I salute you, but I have the utmost respect and admiration for you.
There are also women all over the world who have husbands that do everything for them, including raising the little ones. To these women, not only do I salute you, but I have the utmost respect and admiration for you.
And then, there are the women who fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. And to these women, you guessed it, not only do I salute you, but I have the utmost respect and admiration for you.
Because let’s face it, this job is tough… in any situation…and under any circumstance. And there are (at least) a million different circumstances.
Raising babies is a rewarding job, but it is also hard, terrifying, and never ending.
For those women out there who happen to be experiencing a less than helpful husband during those middle of the night power hours, this post is mostly for you.
Now, there are lots of different reasons why dad might check out at night… sleeps like a rock, is honestly exhausted from working all day, is afraid to take care of baby alone, maybe he just doesn’t want to…
Or maybe he doesn’t even realize you need the help as much as you so clearly (in your own eyes) do.
And when you find yourself standing there, at 3am, with a poop filled diaper squashing against your arm, puke running down your back, a 15-pound air horn in the shape of your precious little one blasting in your ear, and your darling husband snoring away on your oh-so-comfortable california king mattress, there are three things that you probably want to do…
- Get frustrated.
- Get angry.
Well, I am here to tell you that there are 3 things that you SHOULD do…
- Get frustrated. Get angry. And cry….
Believe it or not, everyone deserves to have their feelings.
AND to (for lack of a better word) feel them.
You don’t need to be stifled.
If you are hurt and upset, experience those emotions. (but, of course, I feel the need to remind that baby is NUMBER ONE and be sure that he/she is safely in his/her crib before letting any of these emotions get the better of you)
If you need to cry to release those emotions, then you go ahead and cry.
Do not let anyone tell you that you need to “calm down because it’s ‘not a big deal'”.
Because chances are, to you, it IS a big deal.
And the more you push aside those emotions because someone else tells you to, the more bottled up your feelings are going to get.
And bottled up emotions are one of the scariest things in relationships… and the world for that matter…
Don’t be a bomb that explodes unexpectedly taking out everyone around them.
(I may or may not be speaking from personal experience)
- Pull it together.
Which brings me to my next point… While I whole heartedly believe that everyone deserves to own their emotions… I also believe that you are a parent and after a bit you do need to “calm down” (I know. I said it. I’m sorry)
On your own terms, dial it back to an even place. Take a few giant breaths, count to ten, drink some water, eat some chocolate, write a blog post.
Do whatever you need to do in order to wipe away the tears and get ready to face the day.
(Don’t worry, the one thing I CAN guarantee is that at some point in the near future your baby will smile, or coo, or giggle, or you will just LOOK at him and everything will be right with the world again anyways)
- Talk to your husband about it.
BUT, and I cannot stress enough how important this is, do NOT do it in the middle of the night.
In fact, don’t even do it right when he wakes up.
Do it after BOTH of you have woken up, gotten dressed and eaten breakfast.
Because folks, as an exclusively breast feeding mother of one giant baby, with a 6’6″ husband, whose stomach is probably the size of my entire torso, I am here to tell you that HANGRY is a very real thing and it very much exists.
Sit down with him in a warm, happy, full bellied place. And, in as calm a manner as you can muster, explain to him why you are feeling the way you do and talk to him about some ways that he may be able to make your night a little easier.
(Take over the nighttime routine before bed so you can get in some shut eye a little early, take the baby in the morning when he wakes up so you can sleep in a little later. Hand the baby to you when it’s time to feed in the middle of the night so you don’t have to get all the way up, if you are exclusively breastfeeding maybe make him in charge of diapers at night, toss around some ideas.. You really never know until you try)
This may not do too much to change anything in the beginning, but at least it will get it on his radar that something is wrong and that you do, in fact, need help.
And chances are, when he is fully awake, with a full stomach, listening to you express yourself (sans anger and 2am hysterics) he is MUCH more likely to retain the information and hopefully want to help.