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Grounds for instant divorce in baby’s first year

It’s For The Baby is proud to published new official criteria for divorce in baby’s first year. So daddies, beware and take heed!

Baby’s first year – us mums are tired. No, exhausted. No, we’re undergoing physical torture while learning to look after another life. Our limits are being pushed to the brink and, quite frankly, we don’t have the tolerance or patience to put up with any sh*t – from any source. Unfortunately, daddies, you’ve drawn the short straw. As you spend the most time with us, we often take out our tired grumpiness on you (sorry).

So to make life easier, here are some ground rules of what we’d ask daddies not to do in baby’s first year. Break them, and they’re official grounds for divorce.

1. Saying “I’m a bit tired”. You may be tired. You may have woken up during the night feeds too. And you do work hard. But seriously, you have NO idea.

2. Calling to say “I’m going to be late home”. Some days, we feel like we’ve been at home for a hundred years with a crying baby and constantly feeding. Daddy’s return home is literally the highlight of the day and we count down the minutes until you come in the front door. Just the very thought of you being late home can tip us over the edge. So we reserve the right to over-the-top go mental over this call. Even worse is not calling at all though so that’s not an alternative!

3. Coming home and saying “I’ve been working all day, I just need a break”. Sometimes, we haven’t eaten, haven’t showered, haven’t dressed, haven’t had a cup of tea, haven’t been able to put the baby down all day. Daddies please help us and forgive us for pouncing on you the second you walk in.

4. Waking up and commenting “They slept well didn’t they?”. Never assume baby has slept through when actually you’ve slept through and your partner has been up all night. Alternative – say “How was your night (would you like a cup of tea and pack of Hob Nobs)?”

5. Saying “I think they’ve done a poo”. If you smell it, change it.

6. Spending quality time with baby to give mum some relaxation but then saying “come and see this” every two minutes. I do feel mean about this one. We know you’re excited to discover what baby can do. And we do really want to share it. But we also need to eat, sleep and wee alone. So let us do that – we’ll be back pronto.

7. Changing the baby without doing up all the buttons on their grows / trousers. Just grrr.

8. When we do go out, not listening to the million instructions mums dish out. Look, we are barely a moment without our baby and we are a bit neurotic when it comes to leaving them for the first time. Please listen to the instructions and nod – it will make us feel better.

9. Never saying we look great. Okay so we may be a bit bedraggled, exhausted looking and still in need of our maternity jeans but this means that we feel awful and very un-sexy. Your compliments will genuinely make us feel awesome.

10. Telling friends you’re “babysitting”. Does not apply when it’s your own baby.

Anyone got any others?

Caveat to daddies – don’t take this personally, we do love and appreciate you really. Refer to this blog post which sings your praises. We’re just really really really tired. And grumpy. And irrational. And we’ll stay that way until we can sleep again. We know that us mums aren’t perfect either so if you want to submit your grounds for divorce, please get in touch *braces herself*.

Happy Mummy & Daddy

Happy Mummy & Daddy

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Daddy’s Cool – gender roles in parenting

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I like to think that I don’t conform to stereotypical gender roles. At least excessively anyway. When I bought a cupboard from Ikea, I assembled it by myself. When I decided that our spare bedroom needed painting, I took a day off work and got painting. Okay so the cupboard does have a slight jaunty angle and I didn’t paint behind the wardrobes as they were too heavy for me to move. But still, I tried.

However, a recent trip away to Bluestone (Wales’ version of Center Parcs) with my baby girl and her nana has made me question the different gender roles.

As my mum is in her sixties, if there are any ‘man jobs’ to be done, they become my domain. You know, things like carrying all the bags, packing the car, driving, bringing the car round when it rains and being in charge of possessing important items such as keys, phones and money when we go out. Of course I didn’t mind doing any of these things for my mum but by the end of our holiday, I started to think about all the things daddies do that we take for granted.

The final straw was when I went to collect the car from the car park getting ready to leave; a 15 minute walk up a steep hill in the Welsh torrential rain and gales getting dragged around by my umbrella and soaked through. On arrival, I realised I’d left the keys behind so had to trudge back down and repeat the journey. Needless to say, I wasn’t impressed and I wished that I could be the one in my pjs in the warm lodge doing important ‘mum jobs’ like giving baby breakfast and generally potching around tidying up. My husband certainly wouldn’t have left the keys behind. And he wouldn’t have even moaned about the rain.

Often as the primary carer, us mums do a hard and busy job. I like to call us VBIMs (Very Busy and Important Mums). But I think sometimes we get so caught up being VBIMs that perhaps we’ve become a little bit guilty of not recognising how much daddies do too:

* Dads are not allowed to say they’re tired – I mean how could they possibly be as tired as us!? How dare they even THINK it!?

* After a day at work, we’re waiting for them by the door with a baby poised and ready to be thrust in their face.

* If they dare to be late home, they face the wrath of a sleep-deprived hormonal mum who’s often been counting the very seconds until they’re due through the door. How very DARE they be four minutes late!?

* During childbirth, dads have to pretend everything is going to be fine when they are as terrified as we are – but they don’t get to have any gas and air.

* In the first few weeks, when mums are rendered almost immovable from the sofa due to a combination of constant feeding and childbirth trauma, they suddenly have two babies to care for; baby and mum. Daddies are subjected to being at our constant beck and call. Mine would have to pass me everything which was out of my reach and even lined up a supply of sandwiches, snacks and drinks on the coffee table so I could survive the hours of sofa confinement.

* After only two weeks’ paternity leave, dads are forced to abandon their baby and wife to go back to work. It was hard enough for me after a year. I couldn’t imagine doing this after just two weeks.

* Then dads are constantly judged for how they’re looking after the baby – by their wives. From how they’ve fastened the nappy and the amount of Sudocrem they’ve applied to how they hold a bottle and the ridiculous way that they dress the baby. On reflection, how do we expect them to put tights on a baby girl when (hopefully) they’ve never had to do it before. And how are they supposed to know the ‘right’ way of doing anything when they only get to spend a couple of hours a day with baby?

* And within the space of moments, dads go from being our number one to becoming almost a bystander as a tiny little pink screaming being commands every fibre of our attention.

So I think we all need to take a minute to forget the VBIM role that we’re doing and appreciate our VBIDs. Thanks for putting up with us and our demanding ways and for being great dads.