After you become a mum and the initial euphoria settles down, you begin to notice the ‘real’ pressures of motherhood. From diapering, to setting a sleep schedule, to breastfeeding and a whole lot in between. In fact, it may seem as though your parenting duties list is never ending.
But what happens when the mother becomes the only one shouldering all parental responsibilities? How can she get her partner to share the load?
This common dilemma was recently shared by a new mum who says she is struggling with all the responsibilities and is unable to get her husband to help out. After facing serious exhaustion, she came online asking for “tips on splitting baby care with her partner.”
“I Am Hitting A Point of Deep Exhaustion And Physical Strain”
Sharing the exhaustion of becoming a new mum, she wrote, “I have a 5-month-old son and am hitting a point of deep exhaustion and physical strain. I feel utterly desperate in the morning when faced with a full day of baby care on no sleep. I know this isn’t unusual in the slightest (!) but I’m sure there are parents who’ve found better ways to manage.”
“I’m exclusively breastfeeding and our baby is up between every 1 to 3 hours in the night. My partner is working from home in a 9-5 job. He takes the baby for half an hour in the morning so I can shower, and then for brief breaks so I can go to the loo etc,” she added.
She then asked for tips from other mums on how they split baby care with their partners.
“I’m looking for guidance as I know it could be improved upon, but too tired to come up with the solution myself!” she stated plainly.
Lucky for her, many mums chimed in with their suggestions to help her out.
Hit the bed right after the baby
One concerned mum suggested, “What time does your baby go to bed? When I’ve been very sleep deprived I’ve gone to bed straight after my baby.”
Another mum also had a similar suggestion. She wrote, “My partner sometimes did work calls out while walking baby in the pram. Will the baby be put down for a nap? If so; nap when they do or co-sleep for a nap?”
There were those who also suggested that that this mum introduce expressed milk to her baby. This one mum shared, “If baby takes a bottle, express so that partners can do some of the night feeds.
Make your partner take the baby out
While others suggested that she ask her husband to take the baby out for walks so she can finish her other tasks or just take a break. This mum said, “He takes the baby out for a long walk in the pram as soon as he’s finished work so you can cook dinner in peace or just have a break.”
Take “proper time” off during weekends
Another mum suggested taking time out during the weekends. She wrote, “Have time off at the weekend – properly off, so your partner takes over the baby and you go out. You’ll need to pump to actually get a proper long time off. But at five months you should have a fair idea of when he’ll need to feed again and can go out for a couple of hours.”
Another user shared that she used to find ways to get out of the house for a couple of hours over the weekend. Sometimes it was just for a coffee by herself or with a friend.
If you are in this situation, a parenting duties list can come in handy. You can list down the tasks and share it with your partner to split your duties. Here’s how you can do it.
Parenting Duties List: 8 Ways To Split The Load
1. Work together
The aim of creating a parenting duties list is to be able to work together more efficiently. Your husband may be busy with office work and attending to calls. But even then, he can take some time out for the baby. It is important for both parents to realise that parenting is not a sole person’s duty and family should ideally be prioritised.
You can ask him to comfort the baby in the morning, spend time with him/her when he returns from office. And help keep the house in order while you care for your newborn. List these tasks on a sheet with his name against it, as you would for yours. It’ll not only help you both share responsibilities, but also help him bond more with the baby.
2. Communication is key
Communication is the key to solving all problems and misunderstanding. It is very important to talk to your partner and share your challenges. It is also equally important to hear his side of the story. There will be days when he may be genuinely busy and tired from work. You may need to show your understanding side during those days.
Similarly, he will need to step up his game and care for the baby just as you are.
One of the objectives of having a parenting duties list is to verbalise your fears. This will help the both partners to understand each other’s needs. Having an open dialogue can also help to reduce stress in relationships.
3. Use technology for your benefit
You can use technology to simplify your job. This will not only reduce the time of getting the job done but will also give you some time for yourself.
For instance, instead of always going to the grocery store, you can opt for online delivery. Invest in good appliances that can make cooking easier for you both. Simple change like these can make a huge difference.
4. Let go of perfection
Be realistic with your expectations. If you have a toddler at your home, it is not possible to keep your home prim and proper all the time.
If you are running after it, you are wasting your time and energy. Save the big cleanups for the weekend and talk to your husband about doing his share, each day (here’s looking at you –wet towel on the bed!).
5. Consider hiring help
Yes, it is a luxury and not many will be able to afford it. But this is for those who can make use of it. Hiring a help can reduce your stress and you can even find time for yourself.
Depending on your requirement, you can choose a domestic help or a full-time nanny. Discuss the same with your partner, so you’re both on the same page.
6. Make a schedule
Making a schedule is an important part of creating a parenting duties list. All the work needs to be clearly mentioned- like feeding time, bathing time and who’s duty is it to wake up at night.
7. Plan your baby’s feeding time
For parents of a newborn feeding can be a real challenge. But, you can express your milk and then store it, as also suggested by one of the mums. This will allow your husband to feed your child whenever required.
8. Divide the house chores
It is very essential to divide the house chores with your partner. This will make you feel less burdened. Image courtesy: iStock
An essential part of charting parenting duties list is to divide the house chores. It is practically impossible for you to be running around like a headless chicken. You need to divide the house chores. Your husband can make breakfast and do the laundry for the week. This is doubly important when you’re both working.
In this post pandemic situation, when many of your partners are working from home, you can take their help in managing your schedule.
For new mums, it can be extremely difficult to step out of the home, but it may be required. Even you need breaks from ‘diapers’ and the ‘poop talks!’ Talk to your partner, share your problems and yes share the load.
News Source: Mumsnet