I dare say one of the trickier aspects to our new Bot situation has been finding a balance between caring for our girl, getting the housework done and getting our own projects tackled. I think it’s fair to say that thus far, the majority of Bot duty (or is that doody?) has fallen on me. This is without question my own doing – I am guilty of some mother martyrdom. Simply put, I feel should take the weight of the childcare task since I’m currently unemployed while Bob909 has to leave the house by 5:30am to get to work at 6 for a full 8.5 hour day. I care for her the whole night so he can sleep, then I care for her the whole day until he gets home. And inevitably I find myself predominantly caring for her in the evening as well, after all I’m breastfeeding and thus am responsible for her dinner, and having spent all this time with her I have figured out most of her cries and how to soothe them.
I’m worn out. It’s a lot of work and after a while the frustration from feeling like I’m the only one taking the initiative when it came to her was getting to me. Then you have the flip side… Bob909 is exhausted too. The housework has been resting on his shoulders for far to long between 11 months of 4 litter boxes, 2 cats with bathroom issues, cooking, laundry, my working a 2 hour commute each way for 3 months followed by my healing after delivery. When you add to that all our personal projects we’re trying to get done, he’s working on his bikes, I’m working on my Pop Brollies and job hunting, it’s all been slowly wearing us down physically and mentally.
The impact on our relationship could not be ignored. I’m exhausted from twice a night feedings, 3 cats vying for a spot next to me in the bed and trying to not wake him up while managing it all. He is often stressed when left to care for the Bot due to not having any significant in-the-field Bot experience and he’s tired after all those months of house work. It’s produced an intense dynamic among us, one we both knew we needed to address sooner rather than later so there was no negative emotional build-up. Finally last week we had a good long chat sharing what we appreciate as well as our frustrations with the current situation and, frankly, each other. It was cathartic and something all new parents should probably do but only after making sure that the discussion is about finding solutions not yelling at or blaming each other.
The conclusion we came to was pretty simple… he needs more time with his little girl and less housework. I need to do more housework and get some time to myself to work on projects, housework and to get some sleep! As a result we decided I needed a long day out with a friend and to let him have an extended period of time with his daughter. And so, today was my first fun venture out without the bot. I’ve been out on a couple of job interviews since having her, but I’d hardly call that fun now would I? No, today I went to see Alice in Wonderland!
The movie was great, and so was the company but I can’t deny there were so many moments where I found my thoughts drifting off to my girl wondering how she was doing. At those times I felt my breasts tingle like they do when I know she’s hungry. Was it a psychic connection or did my thinking of her cause the tingling? Hard to say, but boy there’s nothing as fun as knowing you are probably leaking right there in public albeit in a dark theatre. When I’d notice that I’d wonder if she was being fed and if Bob909 was handling everything alright. After the movie I kept thinking to myself I can’t wait to go back to my dad’s home and get my favorite childhood books to read to her.
Dad and daughter had a nice day together going on a long walk and he got to show off his girl to some friends, but after 6 hours apart, when I called to say I was on my way home, she was getting cranky. It’s really hard calling home and hearing her cry and not being able to just say, “here, I’ll take her” to soothe her and make things better. As usual for my Libra personality, the grass is always greener on the other side. Yes I enjoyed my time with my friends, but I still wished she and Bob909 were with me.
I’d say overall the new approach has gone well on all points. This week I’ve been doing more housework – though I still suck at laundry and cooking; while he has really tried to take on more initiative in her care and even though he can’t do some things (breastfeed) he’s been trying very hard to help me during those times such as offering to get me a drink or make me breakfast and even changing her diapers more. We’ve got further to go, but we’re getting there and I dare say that at almost 2 months, being able to see our problems and make the effort to fix them is pretty remarkable. I’m proud of us and where we’re going. I’m mostly happy that we’re going there together. Parenthood is kind of awesome.