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How did you and dh get through the early years of having babies

(20 Posts)
orderinformation Wed 03-Apr-13 14:44:30

We have a toddler and a baby and wow it is tough. No sleep - baby awake until late evening. toddler gets up early. No time to talk other than make arrangements. I think he's unappreciative. He thinks I always say he's done things wrong. We are grumpy. We have no time to relax together. I know it passes as felt like this when we had dd and it got better to the point that we had ds only 2 years after her, so were actively trying for a second by the time she was a year, but remind me how to get through this difficult time and still like and love each other.

bunnymother Wed 03-Apr-13 14:49:13

I think:

1) try and get the baby into a routine so that DS goes to bed and then you and your DH can relax together;

2) be KIND to yourself - its insanely hard work, incredibly gruelling. In candid moments, I bet your DH appreciates that. He might just be feeling the strain and finding it hard going, too. I think my DH did. I sure do!

3) try and get some babysitting so you can regularly go out and have some time together. Its invaluable; and

4) give each other weekend sleep ins (if possible). Its a real circuit breaker.

We have 3 children all close together in age: our eldest was followed by twins 17 months later. Now that the twins are 2 years old, its all SO much easier and I no longer walk around feeling tense as hell. Hopefully it all eases up for you soon, too.

orderinformation Wed 03-Apr-13 21:43:55

Thank you. I am in awe of people who have twins.

bunnymother Wed 03-Apr-13 21:48:11

You wouldn't be in awe if you met me. You would probably her me shouting first... grin

bunnymother Wed 03-Apr-13 21:49:40

The only reason I told you I have twins, BTW, was so you would know that if I am finding it much better after a couple of years, I think you will, too. But hopefully much earlier than that.

Thurlow Wed 03-Apr-13 21:58:14

It's so difficult. The one thing that has worked for us it to take the ten seconds, every now and again, so just say "I know this is hard, I know we don't get to spend the time together that we want to, I miss you and I love you."

I always found it helps to know that your DH still loves you doesn't think you are a shrieking unwashed harridan

And try to bribe the grandparents to having the kids overnight so you can get some sleep!

UnexpectedItemInShaggingArea Wed 03-Apr-13 21:58:51

Cake.

Gin.

Kindness.

Babysitters.

Gritted teeth.

Not sweating the small stuff i.e. actual housework.

Kicking the occasional tree (sorry trees).

VictorTango Wed 03-Apr-13 22:09:56

Def agree with letting go of the small stuff.

I find it hard to cope with a messy house but I appreciate now that this is my issue and dh, when tired, can and will just do the basics to get us through.

Its taken me a while to realise that this is the best strategy.

It will pass. Try and be kind to each other - even if you say it through gritted teeth grin

bunnymother Wed 03-Apr-13 22:14:27

Also, throwing plastic plates and bashing a Jelly Cat stuff toy against a wall, are both good options in case of emergencies.

bunnymother Wed 03-Apr-13 22:15:49

Plastic plates into the sink, I should specify. Not as dramatic as across a room, but it works for me. Both are done out of sight of the children, but are good stress relievers.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 03-Apr-13 22:23:54

It is hard with a baby and a toddler. Very hard.

Try and take a small moment when you can, and when you do get to do something together make it something as special as possible to store up some positive memories for the next few weeks/months!

Bowlersarm Wed 03-Apr-13 22:26:15

It is tough. You have to have such a good relationship to survive having children. Just hang on to what you saw in each other before the children came along. My one word of advice would be not to criticise the others parenting; it may be not be how you would do it but it may not be wrong. If you leave him in charge, don't criticise the way he does it, and vice versa

AThingInYourLife Wed 03-Apr-13 22:27:14

I think kindness is the main thing, but it really has to work both ways.

So competitive tiredness becomes
"you must be exhausted after having the kids all day."
"Well you come in from work and don't get to sit down for hours."
"Would you like a lie in tomorrow, you seem really tired?" Etc

Always think the best of each other - presume the intention is there to do things right, even if tiredness makes them/you fall short.

Have each other's back. You're on the same side.

maleview70 Wed 03-Apr-13 22:33:51

A lesson for anyone with one reading this....don't have another!!

bunnymother Wed 03-Apr-13 22:35:55

That's not the lesson, maleview, but I am sorry to see you haven't been able to cope.

rhetorician Wed 03-Apr-13 22:38:50

Present a united front and remember that this is a joint enterprise. You are there to support each other, and reward each other. even small gestures help, making one another a cup of tea. Moaning together about how much you miss being able to pop into the pub on the way home for a swift pint or six

Emphaticmaybe Wed 03-Apr-13 22:39:03

Some great advice already - especially about being kind to each other and yourselves.

Some good advice I was given when mine were small was really simply to say out loud to each other how you felt, so for eg I would say, 'I am so on the edge of exploding today' or 'I am so exhausted that I'm irrationally irritated by everything you do' you then follow up with saying 'I know you probably feel the same but it really isn't 'us' it's just the situation and it will change.'

I think it just really helps to direct any frustration back at the temporary situation and not at each other - sort of reinforcing that you are both in it together against the world and if you can possibly have a laugh, (and a moan) together it really helps.

Lots of luck - no one prepares you for the levels of endurance required to raise children, (and I know it's a cliche) but if you can get through these tough patches sharing the load equally you will be a stronger partnership for it.

AThingInYourLife Wed 03-Apr-13 22:41:12

"Moaning together about how much you miss being able to pop into the pub on the way home for a swift pint or six"

grin

Yes! This too smile

Alibabaandthe40nappies Wed 03-Apr-13 22:52:15

maleview - no, absolutely do have another! Much better to have them closer together than have your life back and then plunge back into the hell of broken nights and not being able to leave the house in under 3 hours.

Some dear friends of ours had a 4 year gap between their two, and almost had 'first baby culture shock' all over again.

DH and I hold hands across the bed on the occasions when we've got both boys in bed with us and reminisce about lovely hotels we have stayed in, or about lie ins on a Sunday with coffee and the papers.

One day grin

onefewernow Thu 04-Apr-13 10:51:42

Remember that two play really well a bit later, and save you endless trips out with friends when you don't feel like it or are busy.

I did have the experience of both- a child plus a very big gap- then little ones together. Now they are older I would say more than one every time.

Lots of good advice here.

If affordable, do you know anyone with a nanny or au pair? Lots of then work part time and will offer you a break if you get to know them. Or students if colleges/units are local, ESP teaching or health care students.

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