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Husband away ev Mon-Fri. Need ideas how to manage DCs/life!(14 Posts)
When I had dd2 my dh was in the middle of very important exams - yup we timed that well! - so I pretty much coped with her and ds1 (4yo) by myself until she was 4 or 5mo, including weekends. Dh still has a very busy job (he's a surgeon) but is around most weekends now. My suggestions (some mentioned already):
1) Get out every day, to keep sanity intact. Also, the house gets destroyed marginally less if the dc's aren't in it all day. Let them destroy play centres and shops and parks instead.
2) Mums and toddlers groups. Child gets to play with new toys, interact with other lo's and you get to have a cuppa and whinge with other mums. Everyone's a winner.
3) Employ a shameful overload of Cbeebies / disney dvds for the first few weeks, particularly around baby feeding time when you need the others to stop charging round shrieking like banshees.
4) Cleaner if you can afford it. I'm currently on unpaid maternity leave so couldn't justify one but when I return to (part-time) work in September that is the first thing I am arranging! My house resembles the Blitz
5) Lower expectations. It just doesn't matter if none of you are dressed by midday, if one is late to nursery, if you eat ready meals, if the house is a tip. So long as no-one's life is in danger, in the grand scheme of things it's not important!
Hope all goes well!
Thank you, all of you. Much appreciated.
I love the practical strategies and feel stronger already knowing that others are in the same situation/have been in the past (and are still alive!)
The cleaner/Doula parts I can easily sort. We are lucky in that DH's firm give us a very generous childcare allowance which includes having a nanny, so I shall save those hours until DC3 arrives
and splurge them in the first fortnight
I do need to get better at just asking for help though, point taken!
2. Getting out somewhere every day no matter the weather
3. Support - cleaner, home help - if you can afford it. I think local colleges do home placements for students doing relevant courses - may be an idea to see if there's anything local to you?
4. Sleep if you've got a baby whenever you can, presumably 2 year old naps still? Is 4 year old at school yet?
5. Make lots of friends and share the load
6. Batch cooking and freezing
7. Planning ahead.
8. Whatever spare time you do have, spend some on yourself with no kids.
We've done this twice now.
First time I was pg with dc4 and had a 2yo, 5yo and 7yo so 2 of them were at school which helped. Routine helped - everyone knowing what and when makes it smoother. I had good friends and would make sure I got out a saw someone everyday. Once a week a friend in a similar position and I used to eat out all together with all the dc (especially after dc4 arrived) just for a night off!
We are now doing it again (after relocating to the arse end of nowhere and knowing no one - job for life my arse! ) and will be for the foreseeable future The dc are now 11,10, 6 and 4. Which means we have the joys if clubs to negotiate too Routine is still the big thing (even though I hate it). I meal plan and online shop. I have a cleaner once a week. I am not afraid to approach people to help out with school pick ups/babysitting etc if I need it for patents evenings and so on.
Again it is my friends who keep me sane (ish) as we have no practical family support (nearest family are 3hours away). I think the biggest thing you can do to help yourself is to get over the fear of asking friends for help, even if it is getting someone to do a school run once a week with the eldest!
Friends, I know it sounds stupid but I cope better if I get out and see people when dh is away, helps with feeling overwhelmed/feelings of having no life of my own. You can also host if harder to get out with new one. I strongly second the advice to get a bit more childcare, perhaps dh needs to argue for a salary bump as he's doing something less convenient for him and his family for work, not sure if feasible or not.
get a tea time girl or equivalent if you can afford it
baby in a sling, whilst you get older two to bed
i have 2 and it is a rare treat if DH is ever home for bath and bed - this is since my second was weeks old
don't bath every night
Have to say that unless DH's parents specifically encouraged you to move near them so they could help on a regular basis I wouldn't expect it.
You and DH are making a lifestyle choice to live in one place when the (?) breadwinner works in another.
If the choice can't be made to work (and obviously there are heaps of good ideas for paid help above that might make it work) then you can change your minds.
Moving either the home or the job might be easier long term on the family/your marriage.
Or it might not.
But either is your choice :-)
You can do it!
Get a cleaner / ignore housework during the week
Online food shopping / veg box delivery / milkman
Batch cook at weekends or if you have the freezer space, once a month (with three DC I would invest in a chest freezer if poss)
Get a standing babysitter for Saturday night so DH can take you out!
have a stretchy sling to carry the bub in so you can do things for other DC
if poss a mother's help type person a few mornings a week
Come up with a plan for catching up on sleep. That could be - express / mix feed so DH can do a night with the LO over the weekend and you can sleep; co sleep; get a cosleeper cot so your nights are disturbed as little as possible; sleep the mornings that you have someone in for your other DC
Can DH talk to his parents about taking on one or two specific tasks eg school / nursery pick up a couple of times a week, having older DC one afternoon/ evening a week?
Assuming money allows (would hope so with him working away that much... Some companies will even contribute to extra household costs associated with working away from home more, but that may not be the case if he is choosing to live away from the office instead...):
- cleaner every week who will also do ironing.
- part time nanny or nanny share. I have one DC and had a nanny for just two mornings a week (until DS started preschool) and it made a huge difference: time to get things done, some me time (gym) and some space in my head for my own thoughts.
- postnatal doula (if the nanny can't do extra hours) or home help for some time after the new baby is born (to help you out, help out with shopping and meals and to help out with the other DCs and to help them adjust).
Pretty much as TwasBrillig said... You need regular help and support that you can rely on. Bringing up 3 children is a full time occupation.
In addition to that, I would get the DCs into a good routine (if they are not already) when DC3 arrives: think that you might need to run things like a military operation...
Inlaws are closeby, but are terribly busy
doing nothing. They will help if we specifically ask, but don't volunteer/suggest helping out and certainly don't provide any sort of emotional support, encouragement or reassurance.
Good call on the cleaner. Had started to look into a Doula for the birth.
Marking place. We're in Dorset and husband has been doing Mon to Fri but I hate it and am desperate for him to do something more local even if its at a vast pay cut. Would welcome coping strategies though!
The first six months after baby were just awful. Do you have support? If I had the money even remotely spare I'd recommend a cleaner and ideally a Doula or home help or granny type for a few hours a day to give you a break. I was taking kids to school having had 2 hours sleep repeatedly and wasn't really enjoying life. It could have been very different with support!
DC1 (4), DC2 (2) plus bambino-en-route. Quite the handful!
Hoping some of you may have devised a few practical strategies that I can pinch!
Husband has been able to work from home on Mons and Fris (& is in London Tue/Wed/Thur). However, now he needs to be in the office Mon-Fri.
We live a long way from London (Devon), so he can't commute - moved here as knew I'd be fine coping with him being away 2 nights/3 days. Quite worried about the new 4 nights/5 days arrangement. New baby due at the end of the summer too! Inlaws are nearbyish, but will only help when suits them.
Please share your survival tricks with me!
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