Maybe you are already experiencing it, or maybe you will in the future, but deciding the division of labor, before you go into labor, is a good idea. Then after the baby comes, alter your decisions based on the actual reality before you.
How did I come to this conclusion? It all started late one night when my son was NOT behaving as the picture above suggests…
We had originally decided that when the baby cries at night, we would both wake up. Both of us would tend to the baby. One person, say, would take the cloth diaper off and clean it or separate it while the other would wipe down the baby tush and put on a new diaper. Something like that.
When the baby came, for two glorious weeks we worked in tandem waking up and caring for our son. Then my husband went back to work.
I was constantly exhausted, Breastfeeding was still in the painful beginning stages, 12 diapers a day to change alone, and waking up during the week alone for hours, feeding and changing and caring for our baby. I more than once fell asleep on CDubs. I am lucky I didn’t actually fall into him, I sleep sitting up very well.
I didn’t mind though, husband was at work. He woke up on the weekends and helped me. It was okay and summer was coming. I kept reminding myself help was coming and then I could sleep a little. Surely, I could sleep a little.
Then summer came and he stopped waking up with me. We had agreed, during the summer, we would both diaper and rock. Obviously I was the only one with the parts to feed, so that I had to do alone.
It became me doing everything alone, and my resentment grew. He would yell when I woke him up, complain about the lack of sleep and the pointlessness of waking up. Acting, in my opinion, much like our son.
I couldn’t handle it. I was staying up with the baby, barely sleeping, and he didn’t hold the baby during the day, I did. I was worn into nothingness.
So that fateful night, that I mentioned previously, I asked the ladies on the BabyBump Alt 12 App what to do. I was exhausted, surely they had insight. Surly no one was going through the same thing as I, because their spouse was doing the right thing!
My first question to them was, a poll to the Rants and Raves Forum. I wrote a poll with the question: “When you wake up to feed the baby your Significant Other, Spouse, Partner does…?
4% were “Le Tired” and therefore could not answer my question.
6% said “I just have me to rely on, this question is not relevant to my situation.”
11% said “I have another answer that does not fit this poll, sorry.”
14% said “He/ She rolls over and goes back to sleep. No matter what I say or do, He/ She sleeps.
14% said “He/ She wakes up too. It’s our responsibility together to take care of our child.”
48% said “He/ She rolls over and goes back to sleep but wakes when I ask for help.
0% said “He/ She wakes up but won’t help me at all. He/ She just sits there doing other things or actually gets up and does other things.
So the winner of the poll was, while the other person may go back to sleep, they wake up to help when asked to wake up.
I wondered though, did that waking up come at a price? Were they yelled at by someone with a silly temper? Did the other person wake up to help because they were going to work soon anyway? So I made a post, the same night, and asked again what people did and explained my story. Here are some if their answers. I was mighty surprised at some:
I wake up with dear daughter, because I stay home, so I can get caught up on sleep when she naps during the day. On the weekends, when dear husband is home, he takes care of her when she wakes up for the day (around 6:30), so I can sleep in.
I Breastfeed and he works full time plus overtime so that I can stay home in the first few years. So there is really no point in him getting up. It would only be out if sympathy as he can’t actually do anything to help. On his days off he will take the baby in the morning and play, feed EBM (Expressed Breast Milk) etc. and try to distract long enough to allow me a good sleep in. I really don’t see the point in 2 people waking up for 1 baby to be honest. Taking turns maybe, but no point everyone being awake.
…I’ve never been a fan of the whomever works outside the home gets a full night sleep, while the stay at home mom gets none. I was the one driving my daughter around and taking care of her. There were days that I was so exhausted that I couldn’t walk straight and would run into walls. My mom came and helped then because I was in tests daily. I think both spouses should do what they can. Each couple will be different.
I received even more stories than these, some saying it was the wife’s duty to care for the baby alone. Some posts said basically it takes two to tango, so two should care for the baby. A couple suggested outside help.
Armed withy data, I confronted my husband. While my wishes were not the winner, neither was his wish to be left completely alone at night.
He still argued he did everything the way he felt it should be done. He felt he shouldn’t be woken up at all because the baby only wants food, when he wakes.
Which isn’t always the case.
I was stumped. My usually affable husband was being so contrary!
Finally one night after an event of complete ridiculousness, I learned that while my husband is tired, sometimes the reason your husband may not wake up or help you care for the baby, is not because he doesn’t want too.
The answer may not fit in a poll or post. I discovered, with the help of some astute BBers, that Ryan did not (and still, to a degree, does not) feel comfortable caring for our son alone. He was feeling insecure. Like I was somehow better equipped with knowledge he didn’t have. (Which is of course not true.)
I didn’t see that, insecurity, I was too tired. After talking to him again and explaining I am slowly dying of sleep deprivation, we came to a new accord.
I will wake up with the baby. Depending Ryan may wake up too. If I need him he may be a grumpy butted fool and I may be one in return, as long as CDubs is cared for.
In the mornings, Ryan will take CDubs down alone and play and care for him. There may be a bottle involved. I will get 4 or mess hours of sleep, depending on what my body wants.
If I want, I can wake up with CDubs first and let Ryan sleep for 4 or so hours.
If CDubs falls asleep on one of us that person may sleep or watch tv as they choose.
It’s certainly not perfect. It’s not what we originally planned. It took 153 women (combine poll and post) and men from BB to help us figure it out.
The most important thing is we planned, then we faced our reality and together we compromised and came to an accord.
Now we can both be sleepy together. CDubs is cared for by us both, and I think our little guy is happy. I know I feel better!
*A special thanks to the people who answered my poll and posts on BabyBump/PinkPad/Kidfolio!