The Frankenbaby Chronicles

Two girls, three cats, some frozen sperm, a doctor's office, and a big dream.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Baby Juggling

We are having a difficult time with Baby Juggling - you know, the age-old art of who does what and when.

I think part of the difficulty is that my life is completely and thoroughly different than it was before baby. I don't go to work; instead, I stay home with our beautiful baby. And that is totally wonderful. But it also means: I don't usually get to take a shower, I may or may not get to some of the chores I used to do during the day (dishes, laundry), I can't always wash my hands after a diaper change and sometimes have to juggle baby and antibacterial goo, I get very little computer time, I "watch" too much television (it's on for noise), I don't get to eat at any regular time, and I can't always go to the bathroom when I have to. My life has been completely taken over by this little person who at least right now hates EVERY sling/carrier we have and doesn't like the contraptions (seat, swing) either. She just wants to be held by her mama.

Jen, however, is business-as-usual for 9 or so hours a day. She gets up, takes a shower, packs a lunch, and goes to work. Same job, same commute, same quiet no-baby time, five days a week. And while I am sure she misses our baby, she has 9 or so hours to NOT be in The Baby Zone. It's just another day.

When she comes home, she kisses the baby but then seems to want to continue the typical day - watch some television, check some e-mail, read some internets, etc. While I am /starving/ for a little no-baby time by 5pm... or at least a shower.

Jen has been really awesome at doing things for the baby: feeding her bottles, changing her diapers, changing her clothes. No problems there. But she hasn't really ever had to do them WITHOUT me in the house. She can change a diaper and say, "Can you take the baby while I wash my hands?" She can feed the baby and then say, "Can you hold the baby while I go to the bathroom?" She can not get a good burp out of the baby and ask for assistance. She can give me the baby and go and cook dinner (which I appreciate, it's my one guaranteed meal) without a screaming baby, without trying to do it one-handed, and without having to scrap it all in the middle if there is a meltdown. I don't know if she truly understands what all day with a baby looks like, and because of that, I wonder sometimes if she thinks my requests for baby-free time are selfish.

Recently I made a comment about how I wish she would do more baby stuff when she got home, since I did baby all day, and her answer was, "I thought we were a team." And we are, but I see if differently. She sees the situation as this: during the day, she goes to work and I do baby; then when she comes home, we become two people who do baby. I see the situation as this: during the day, I do baby and she does baby-free; then when she comes home, I'd like to become a person who gets a chunk of baby-free time to actually /breathe/. But apparently my wanting to foist the baby on her for the bulk of the evening makes me not a team player. I don't know how to get out of this conundrum.

We've also run into troubles with night time. I appreciate that Jen needs to go to work and therefore needs sleep at night to be able to function. But I also "go to work" all day and also need sleep at night to function, but sometimes it seems like my sleep is somehow less vital than her sleep. I was doing all of the baby wake ups and then would wake Jen up sometimes to help... which is kind of an issue in itself. I was becoming incredibly resentful of her long stretches of sleep (right now four hours seems like a long stretch!) even while she was saying she was tired.

So we are trying to come up with a plan. Our previous plan was: baby wakes up, I wake up with the baby, nurse the baby, change the baby, sometimes ask Jen to do the follow-up bottle (as I don't make enough milk to actually satisfy the baby, maybe half an ounce) or sometimes do it myself. It was an hour-long process every 3 hours or so. New plan: Jen goes to bed at 10, I do the midnight-ish (anywhere from 11pm to 1am) feeding with nursing and bottle and then go to bed, Jen gets up for the middle of the night feeding and offers a bottle while I sleep and do not nurse (I feel so guilty about this but I am dying), Jen gets up for work, I do the early morning feeding and get up for the day with the baby. We'll see if it works.


Blogger Allison said...

Hang in there!!!! My son is 8mos old now but after my husband went back to work I was right where you are. I swear it's like you're writing my exact thoughts. You will find a solution that works for your family. We pieced together a schedule for nightime and it was similar to yours. My husband went to bed first, I got first wake up, he got second, and I took the third or early morning.

There will be a blessed day in the near future when she sleeps all night. For us that happened at 5 1/2 mos.

When everyone's exhausted it's hard but try to keep loving communication lines open with your spouse.

5:32 PM  
Blogger lynn said...

I have a feeling that our dynamic with be very similar to yours! I will be the stay at home mummy and she will be the "work from home so don't bother me mommy". I feel that we too, will have a struggle with "when mommy M is done working" and when Mommy L wants baby-free time. Keep us updated- I would love to know if you guys come up with a schedule that works for you!

12:20 AM  
Blogger FosterMommy said...

(wow, that's the longest comment spam I've ever seen...)

You are definitely expressing a very common problem! My partner and I both cherish our at-work time, even though we miss the baby while we're gone. To me, especially at the beginning where you are, work is something within my comfort zone. Juggling a baby and eating is HARD. Everybody needs a good chunk of baby-free time. I'm glad you're able to keep the communication open. The nighttime schedule sounds like a good start.

You and Jen ARE a team, but as such, each of you deserves some time to flop after work. She can come home and check the internets and watch some TV, sure. But then you need to "come home" and do the same. THEN you can both be recharged enough to come back together and do the rest of the evening as a team. Even 30 minutes to yourself can be enough, in my experience.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Kathryn - partner of Donna said...

Reading this was like reading what is happening here with Trinity, Donna and I - we are going through the same thing........ even to the point that I do the midnight ish feed - Donna does the middle of the night one, then I get up at 6am, and we feel exactly the same about it as you guys.

It is so reassuring to know you're not the only one :0) x

8:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stumbled onto to your blog while sitting at the computer nursing (balancing act with nursing pillow, baby, boob and keyboard). I was researching umbilical hernias and never knew they were so common. Guess it's one of those things no one talks about. I just wanted to say that I've enjoyed your blog and that it's like reading about my life at home with a one month old. But you're ahead of me so I can see if it improves :p

Meanwhile, I sit waiting for the hubby to get home, as the dishwater has grown cold, the laundry never made it even near the washer, and I can smell pee, but have yet to find the source after two diaper changes.

But I am no longer concerned about my baby's perfectly common umbilical hernia. And now that she sleeps, I should probably put her down and return to the dishes, but I am enjoying the blog!

9:11 PM  

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