When you have a baby you think that you and your other half will immediately be in tune with each other. That you will be the dream co-parent duo. Other couples will be amazed at how well you are coping. Cue two weeks in and you are screaming "IT'S YOUR F*CKING TURN TO CHANGE THE NAPPY" and throwing a sterilisation bowl off their head. So here are a few ways I have survived the last five years being in charge of small children... with another adult.
Lower Your Standards (A Bit)
Accept that your life isn't going to be picture perfect. With one or both of you trying to achieve something that frankly is impossible it becomes too much pressure. Those first few hectic months are all about survival. If your other half forgets to put a bow in your babies hair when you attend a family event? Instead of killing him with passive aggressive smiles just think "ah f*ck it, it would have fallen out and driven us mad anyway".
Don't Be A D*ck
Oh this is a hard one. You spend a lot of your time thinking that your partner is a bit of a d*ck. You lie in bed wondering how to make him realise this. But I am here to tell you. That sometimes? You're a bit of a d*ck. Yep. There are two d*cks in this relationship. When you have a spare three minutes whilst the baby naps, have a little think about how you could be a bit nicer. Which may in turn actually make him a bit more able to cope. Maybe he's freaking out? Maybe all your shouting isn't helping (even though it feels reeeeaaalllly good).
Forget Spending Time Together. Spend Time Apart!
Spend time together. Blah Blah. Plan date nights. Yadda Yadda. Yeah sure it's important to go on meals alone (and inevitably talk about the kids all evening) or maybe go to the cinema (where you will sleep throughout the latest Sci-Fi sh*t he chose). But it's really important to spend time apart. Talk a walk down the local high street. Go and see your mates. We're not talking an all nighter up town but a hot chocolate in the local Starbucks, or a mooch round the shops, will do you both the world of good.
Pull Your Weight
"BUT I JUST GAVE BIRTH DON'T YOU KNOW" is an excuse I am still using three years on. Alas the only way this is going to work is if you both pull your weight. It's hard but try and get dressed at some point and go and buy some milk. Equally he has gotta do some getting up in the night. Try to have a sit down and talk about your expectations. He may not know how knackered you are. May not understand that you are losing your mind. Make a list. Plan a family meeting and have a chat. And try not to shout. Or cry.
Compromise (And Cave In)
My husband was not great at getting up for the early feed of the day. By that I mean totally and utterly sh*t. It used to drive me mad. Make me cry. Oh the anger! This went on for weeks. Me screaming, him baffled. One day my Mums said "how's about you just accept he's not going to be good at this and just get on with it". Mmmmm right. How is that fair? But you know what. I did. I caved in and just did it and it did make life a lot easier. I slept whilst he did the dream feed and in turn I got up early. It was annoying but it worked.
Both Agree You're Tired
"YOU THINK YOU'RE TIRED WHAT ABOUT ME? I'VE NOT SLEPT IN FIVE YEARS!". No-one is going to win the 'who is most tired' row. You're both tired. If they made medals for who was really tired you would both win. Now stop fighting over it. It's futile. (PS I AM MOST TIRED).
Embrace The Insanity And Enjoy The Ride!
It's hard. You will at some points question if you have had a baby with the right person. You will lie in bed wondering what would happen if you just crept off to a hotel and had a night alone. In nice clean sheets. But? I can hand on heart say if you manage to survive those first six months you are amazing. Your beautiful baby WILL start to sleep. They will smile, laugh, play. They will grow up to be the most amazing little people (let's not discuss the toddlers years). And as a family you will have the MOST fun! Now quick go and take a nap whilst the baby is sleeping...