Sometimes I want to pinch DH

February 22, 2010

   Yesterday I ran into an old friend at church, who has a baby the same age as Bella. She was talking to me about how incredibly exhausted she was from being up at night with her baby. Then she looked at me, smiled tiredly and asked, “Do you ever want to pinch your husband while he’s sleeping because he got another 8 full hours and if you’re lucky you’ll start your day with 5?”

   I had to laugh. There are times when I look over at Sam, sleeping so soundly and feel like pinching him really hard. He never even wakes up when Bella is throwing a fit. When we first brought her home, she would cry for 4 hours a night. Solid. And he slept through it all, and then would ask me the next morning if she had a good night. He’d also tell everyone we knew that Bella was a wonderful sleeper. I would stand next to him bleary-eyed and falling asleep in my tracks and think, “I’m sorry, what?” He had no idea. And he’s hardly to blame; breastfeeding means that there isn’t much he can do at night for either of us. He used to get up and change her but it became more of a hassle to wait for him to wake up, and by that time Bella was a mess and couldn’t go back to sleep. Now she doesn’t poop anymore while sleeping so it’s a non issue.

   The problem right now is that we are both fried. He comes home from work and wants a break to unwind, and I want a break for my sanity. Sometimes, although he’s a wonderful father, I feel like I have more of a live in nanny than a partner in child raising. That’s because I’m kinda a control freak. (I hear those snickers from people who know me.) If it’s not done my way, it probably isn’t the best way. And you’re going to hear about it. Sam didn’t know anything about babies, and surprisingly reading the “Father’s are Expecting Too!” chapter in What to Expect didn’t help much. Not that I knew everything about babies, especially our own, but I figured I knew a lot more than him. So I became a mini dictator – showing him exactly how I wanted the cloth diapers put on her, how she should go to sleep, how to swaddle, hold her, rock her… I think eventually I made it so that he became dependent on me to tell him what to do because I never let him figure out what worked for himself. Heaven forbid it should be a different way than mine.

   Much to his credit, Sam has taken it all in stride as I’ve tried to learn to back off. If I hadn’t, I would never get a break. But it’s still hard on him and me to have me leave for any length of time. Or to have him take over for a morning or afternoon while I do other things. There are many times on the weekends where I simply want a complete day without worrying about the next feeding or hearing phantom cries from the other room. So I leave and go out to shop, pick up mail – and spend the entire time wondering if Bella is crying back at home and if Sam knows what to do. This isn’t relaxing in the least. Then I get the phone call with hysterical sobs in the background, “I tried to give her the bottle, she won’t take it and she broke out of the swaddle and she threw up all over the couch. Again.” So I head home, mad at myself that I didn’t enjoy the time I had out.
   It’s a work in progress. I would like to be able to get to a point where we have a routine down with Bella and each other so I’m able to enjoy time with Sam alone and time by myself. As I write this, we are trying to get her to sleep by herself in her own crib. And I’ve been interrupted 15 times with questions because Sam is on duty this morning. But I know he just wants to make sure he is on the same page as me with all of this. I tell him what I know works for me, and he takes it and uses that to find what works for him as well. When I tried this with her last night, it took hours to get her to fall asleep in her own bed. He did it in 20 minutes. By himself. Without me taking over or insisting he do it “my way”. Now he’s getting ready to go out and do errands for a while, and he’s taking her with him. I am trying to tell myself to relax while they are gone, to enjoy the moments of quiet.
   I just need to figure out how to enjoy the time I am able to have by myself, and to let go and not have to control everything. Maybe someone out there has ideas on how to unplug once in a while. I’d love some advice. Because Sam is really trying to help out, and I’m really trying not to have the urge to pinch him while he gets a great nights sleep.

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