So you’re home and maybe a little settled in by now, maybe you’re back to work, but one thing is for sure, you’re starting to get the hang of things. Baby is sleeping all through the night, happy as a pig in an apartment. Mom is busy doing yoga, updating her Pinterest boards, catching up on her stories. You are getting in lots of COD (Call of Duty), hanging out with the guys, and both you and mom are getting a great nights rest…Said, no one ever. Man, if only it was that easy.
Remember back when you used to be able to get up on a Saturday morning, make your coffee, drink it while it was hot? Remember that? Or even if you needed a part from Home Depot or a cable from Best Buy, what would you do? You’d walk to the door, grab your keys, put your shoes on, hop in the car and drive to said store to retrieve whatever it is you needed in the first place. Don’t you miss those days? Or when you and the wife would cuddle up on the couch after a long work week and watch the latest episode of Sons of Anarchy and fall asleep with a glass of wine on the side table. Remember those days? I hope you enjoyed them because those days are OVER…for at least the next 5-18 years. Whether you like it or not, life is different now. Yeah, I know you know this but seriously, think about it! You’re no longer living for yourselves. Everything you do, every decision you make is for and about your new addition.
Now, of course, that’s not to say that you won’t need to get stuff from Best Buy and mom won’t be able to catch up on the latest episode but what I am saying is that everything you do now requires a lot more planning. Not only that but now you have to work as a team to accomplish those tasks. It’s all hands on deck from here on out and trust me, it’s better that way. You’ll feel more accomplished and in tune with your partner because each daily task that you complete will feel like a huge win. For example, there are chores. Clean the bathroom, vacuum the house, dust the cabinets, do the laundry, wash the dishes, etc. How overwhelming was it in the first few weeks of being home when you felt like your life was falling apart and things were coming to an end? Dishes were piling up, laundry had to be run a few times over because you forgot the wet stuff in the washing machine for a few days and it got that gross moldy smell to it. Whatever it is/was it was a lot. What we (try to) do is break down the weekly tasks into small daily manageable duties that both parties share. Here is what things look like at our place.
As required throughout the week: Load and run dishwasher, load and run laundry
Monday: Put trash out. Yep, that’s it. Pretty easy
Tuesday: Vacuum and mop floors
Wednesday: Clean bathrooms
Thursday: Elective, As required
Friday: Vacuum floors (because shedding dog + crawling babies…)
Saturday: Large(r) home projects: Hang that picture frame, paint a room, reorganize closet, -OR- Netflix and Chill all day, your call
Sunday: Fold and put away piled up clean laundry
Now, of course you can split this up any way you want and add in your set chores but this is a basic template of how our house runs. Do we skip days? Yes. Do we sub things out and tackle a couple things at once? Yes. Do we still have unfolded laundry to be put away? Yes, but the goal is to have a schedule. It won’t be perfect, but you’ll feel like you’re in charge. What you need to remember is that these are things that have to be completed regardless of what is going on at home. You need clean clothes, clean dishes, etc so the sooner you can get these taken care of in the day, the better because as we all know, your baby is the number one priority. Taking care of these small tedious tasks will allow you the freedom to choose how your day goes and give you the freedom to spend your day, the good times, the quality times nurturing, bonding, and raising your new bundle of joy.
With your new responsibility comes the responsibility to your partner as well. You’re in this together and on top of the bonds that you are building with your new baby, it is important to continue to build those bonds with your partner as well. Now that you have kids it doesn’t mean you throw all your energy and attention into that child but what it should look like is a constant changing of emotions and attention based on where you’re both at in your journey. You getting up in the middle of the night to feed the baby (or accompany your partner if she is breastfeeding) says to her that you care for her well being and are beside her every step of the way. She can count on you and knows that if she needs you to jump in and take over, all she needs to do is ask. Or maybe the next time baby is taking a nap you get to the kitchen to wash up all the bottle parts and dishes. This sends the message that you care about the state of the house and want to be ready and prepared for the next feeding time. Prepping often and early can save you both lots of time and emotional stress if you find yourself washing and prepping bottles with a screaming baby in the background. What you need to remember is that even though she may not tell you, she is still healing physically, mentally, & emotionally. Any opportunity you have to relieve some of that stress and tension is good for both parties.
I know, the days are long, you’re tired, maybe you miss that freedom just a little but just remember, you’re in this together. 6 months from now you’ll look back at this time and say, man, that was so easy compared to (insert appropriate comparison) and you’ll laugh and look to your new daunting task. Remember these times and seal them away deep inside your memory vault, because that is what you’re doing: creating long lasting quality memories with those you love and care for the most. Soak it all up, because like that saying goes, “They grow up so ….”
Until next time
-The Unfit Dad