I thought maybe I’d take the time to let you, the working spouse, know what’s helpful and what isn’t, since, how do you know if we don’t tell you?
1) getting us a hot cup of tea/coffee in the morning. (So, so helpful!)
2) getting at least one kid to potty before you leave for work
3) closing the nursery door so kid A doesn’t wake up kid B if he’s crying, if kid B happens to be experiencing a morning miracle and sleeps past 5:45am. Nothing must disturb this miracle. NOTHING. I firmly believe I could hold back a tornado if I needed to.
Me to Tornado: THE LINE ENDS HERE. My kid is sleeping. Go terrorize a trailer park.
Tornado: (Sheepishly) Yes, Mame.
Asking to take baby A OR B if they’re crying. (We love you but you do not know how to calm this kid down when you’re not the primary.) You just don’t.
It isn’t a male/female magical power thing. Baby wants the one who’s there most of the time when they’re upset. That’s just the way it is. And taking them (unless i need to pee) will only make things worse.
Exception: When baby A AND baby B are crying, you must take the one who is crying the least loudly. Got it? Still with me? This gets complicated.
You have no idea the special hell a parent goes through when she’s just barely made it through the day with both kids full, reasonably clean and safe and have you breeze through the door after being gone 11 hours and say…Anything. Negative.
I cannot stress this enough.
Yes, we’re having pancakes for supper. Again. One raised eyebrow from you and you may have pancakes coming out of your ears buddy.
In fact, when you come home you should look at your kids (Safe. Fed. Reasonably clean and calm), your whirlwind of a house with laundry hanging from the fan and spit-up cloths on the floor soaking up random messes and smile gratefully.
You should take one look at your harried wife with hair she didn’t have time to wash let alone brush, her un-make-upped face, her comfy pants stained with spit-up, squished corn and yes, yes orange Cheetos smears and give her a big, big hug.
Don’t be surprised if she cries.
Lastly, please, please, PLEASE take that spouse out to dinner at LEAST once a month. They need to be reminded that they’re adults. With thoughts and feelings of their own.
Dinners centering around types and volumes of spit-up, debating degrees and pitch of screams that deserve a time-out vs not do not a fulfilled momma make. Give her something to eat besides cold macaroni, Baby A’s left over vegetables and Baby B’s oatmeal mush.
Just imagine their excitement at the prospect of adult conversation! Idly pouring over a menu of options! Leisurely chewing said options!
If you do all of these things I can assure you that eventually, things will get better. Kids need you less often as they get older, although admittedly when they DO need you it’s usually more stressful. (I didn’t CRASH the car, per say, but, I do need you to pick me up from the police station…)
Anyway, much love and peace to all the momma’s and daddy’s out there who are slugging it out day in and day out, being the primary caregiver to babies is NOT for the faint of heart. Sleep when you can, eat when you can, and remember to give yourself the same love and care you’d give your kids. DO IT.
Love and peace to all the moms and dads who go to work each day too, who miss their kids cute little faces and maybe even miss their first steps, first words, and all the awesome, magical stuff that makes parenting worth every sacrifice.