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How do you manage "days off"?

(34 Posts)
TammyswansonTwo Sun 05-Nov-17 12:28:06

Okay, the twins are almost 14 months now. DH works from home regular hours M-F. I have a very part time job 15 hours a month, many of which I can take them with me - there are probably 8 hours a month when I leave them at home with dad. That's my only "break"- neither myself or my husband have been out since they were born, together or separately, other than for work or appointments.

It has been this way as it's just the two of us and we have just been getting by, but now I'm really starting to struggle. I need some time occasionally to properly rest or have some mental space. I know he does too.

I feel like saying that I need one day a week "off" during the day so that I'm not the primary caregiver 24/7, albeit with his involvement on weekends. However, if I do that it's only fair that he also gets a day off, and then that's the weekend gone with no time as a family.

How do others manage this balance? It's difficult as we don't have friends or family round here (we had a big social circle when we moved back to the area but everyone has gradually moved away for work etc). I've made some good twin mum friends and they're proposing a night out for some food and to watch a film. The boys are down by 6:30pm and don't ehenr

TammyswansonTwo Sun 05-Nov-17 12:29:54

Whoops! Don't usually wake up until 10pm and he normally does that feed anyway, so it's not like I'd be leaving him in the lurch, but I feel bad for asking knowing he doesn't really have anyone to go out with himself (would be more than happy to hold the fort if he did). Feel selfish even asking which I know is ridiculous.

Would love to hear how others manage this so they don't go totally mad!

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Sun 05-Nov-17 12:32:39

When my DS was little we had one morning off per weekend each - mainly used for sleeping tbh. Evenings (once DS was off the breast) were very much up for grabs - if I wanted to go out, I went.

I agree having one day each totally 'off' on the weekend means you don't get time hanging out together, but the long lies kept us both sane!

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Sun 05-Nov-17 12:33:29

And of course you should go out with the twin friends!

Bibbidee Sun 05-Nov-17 12:33:35

Get your mum friends into a babysitting circle so you and DH can go out together and go out with your mum friends on your own. Don't worry about your DH's down time because there ain't nothing you can do about it so no point feeling guilty.

Unless you both carve out some you time, you will both drift apart so well done identifying this issue now.

Threenme Sun 05-Nov-17 12:34:30

Could you talk to your twin mum friends about providing some childcare to each other so you can enjoy time with dh. People wrongly assume people won't want to have them because there's two but I doubt that's the case! I have a house full all time I love it! Maybe to help dh make friends tell your friends to come for dinner and bring their husbands put babies in travel cots! I also think you should go and see your film x

morvoren Sun 05-Nov-17 12:35:07

Sounds like half a day each at the weekend would certainly help.

Maybe also look at nursery for a couple of mornings or afternoons if you can find one you like. Most nurseries will take children for just a few hours and my daughter totally loves hers!

Bibbidee Sun 05-Nov-17 12:35:29

Essentially what you guys need to identify each of your needs and work at them.

Bibbidee Sun 05-Nov-17 12:39:15

Great sites OP:

http://www.marriagebuilders.com//graphic/mbi4500_resource.html

https://www.gottman.com/blog/4-ways-parents-can-balance-couple-time-family-time/

TammyswansonTwo Sun 05-Nov-17 12:43:06

Thanks everyone - there's no way my twin friends and I can help each other out like that yet, sadly. They're all between 7 and 15 months and just two are a handful, there's no way any of us could manage 4!

I think I'm so depleted at this point that a morning won't do it! I just firefight all week, then the weekend is spent either doing the things in the house we haven't been able to do in the week or (as this weekend) we are both so exhausted we are doing nothing but wrangling the kids and looking like we might fall into a coma.

I think we are going to have to arrange some childcare at some point but don't really have the spare cash. Maybe I can convince my DH to take a couple of days holiday at some point so we can get the house sorted, have some time together and both squeeze in a rest too!

Bibbidee Sun 05-Nov-17 12:44:49

They're all between 7 and 15 months and just two are a handful, there's no way any of us could manage 4!

I don't get it? If your mum friend comes over to your house, she'd only be looking after 2?

chipsandpeas Sun 05-Nov-17 12:45:43

sort out some childcare so you can go out together
also alternate weekends for a day off, ie so one saturday you are off then the followin week you dh is off then you still have a day to do family stuf

mindutopia Sun 05-Nov-17 12:47:48

Just ask, give him a date and go. Obviously I know it’s different with two, but if you do it yourself every day with no help while he works, you know it’s doable with just one person. Surely in the evening they’re in bed and he’s just doing what he always does anyway so I can’t see how it would make much difference.

I think without regular childcare it becomes tricky to schedule in a standing ‘time off’ each week. Could you afford a day at nursery or childminder for yourself once a week? Then you could have your weekends together. Certainly having both worked full time and been at home full time, I definitely don’t feel like I need time to myself as much when I’m working so he probably doesn’t either. I wouldn’t be happy giving up a whole weekend to separate versions of ‘me time.’ Actually have friends who did this and that slowly just led to separate lives, and growing apart and a divorce (obviously I think there was more going on there than than! But the point being that you need time together as a couple).

But what if you just planned things when you each had something you wanted to do? Like it doesn’t have to be weekly and really just an evening out a month is pretty refreshing. You may not need more. And then just extend him the same option to take when he wants and let him decide if he feels he needs it. My dh tends to go out with friends (his friends live close, mine don’t), but I don’t have close friends I can easily just meet up with locally (they have kids too, weird schedules, but most live too far away for an evening out). So I take myself out, go to dinner, a film, go have a glass of wine and read a book, go visit a different city and explore, whatever. I even started planning one weekend a year away on my own (this last year I flew to Barcelona for three days). It was bliss. If he’s quite happy with his own company, he can do that.

I am sure it’s much different with twins, but my dh went away for the weekend (close friends wedding that was child free) when our dd was 3 months. I had a night or two away here and there later, but was away for 10 days (in Australia, we live in the UK) at 16 months for a work trip. You both will manage just fine (actually my dh really enjoyed that one on one time). Sometimes you just have to plan it and do it.

xyzandabc Sun 05-Nov-17 12:51:23

In a babysitting circle, you don't take the kids with you to babysit. You leave them at home as they'll be asleep in their own beds.
So if you go to look after your friends kids, your dh stays home and looks after yours. So your friend and their partner can both go out.

I'd also be trying to knock a 10pm feed on the head, do they then sleep through until morning, or do they get another feed at 2/3? At 14 months they really shouldn't need feeding during the night unless some SN.

TammyswansonTwo Sun 05-Nov-17 12:57:48

They both still have 2-3 feeds per night. One has a medical reason for this, the other does it anyway and won't go back to sleep without it. They're both under consultants due to prematurity and they're not concerned, some babies are just milk addicted and sleep allergic it seems!

Yes, we could definitely do evenings for each other on occasion although to be honest that's not what I feel we are lacking - I don't think either of us feel the need to go out together often, we enjoy our time at home together (although of course it would be nice on occasion). I just need some time to rest at some point. I end up getting to this point on a Sunday and panicking because I feel even more exhausted than I felt on Monday and there's another long week stretching in front of me with no prospect of a break (they rarely nap at the same time either so don't even get that break in a day). I also have some health issues that cause fatigue and pain so I'm just really worn down tbh. At the moment we are so tired we rarely take the boys out together anyway. Need to sort something out.

millifiori Sun 05-Nov-17 13:07:48

Hi again Tammy,
We worked out weekend rotas in four hour shifts. Each of us got a four hour pre-agreed chunk of time to do whatever we wanted - go to bed or go out to see friends. Then the rest were one on one time so that we each had only one twin to look after (so easy it's relaxing when you're used to two) and the rest of the time was us both together mucking in. It's not a whole day but those four hours completely saved my sanity at that point, and stoppe dus being resentful of each other. The only rule is, if you want to spend your four hours resting, DH must take the DC or wrangle them 100% of the time. He can't say 'Sorry I didn't know they'd climbed into bed with you.' Resetting your four hour slot at zero if they do that curbs that kind of sorry-I-was-sweetly-useless behaviour in DH. grin

TammyswansonTwo Sun 05-Nov-17 13:17:55

Milli, that sounds like a good plan. He's just suggested I go for a nap, probably since I look like a Walking Dead extra, so am biting his hand off ;)

When they're in bed tonight I'll have a chat with him about how we manage things. I think I'm going to try and get a cleaner for a few hours a week to just do as much as they can get done (kitchen, maybe bathroom and maybe floors downstairs - painted white floorboard that look like death after 24 hours). Will be cheaper than childcare for two and would take a big load off me / us. I do my best to clean as I go but these days that's tricky! Time to start outsourcing whatever we can I think! I did find a twin mum with older twins who now does adhoc childcare for lots of the twin mums I know, and is also a nurse so I don't have to worry about leaving little twin's medical issues while she's with him. Might have to schedule a few afternoons here and there - it just feels massively wrong to have someone come in and care for your kids while your husband is upstairs working and you're upstairs sleeping! Feels massively lazy somehow, even though I know that everyone needs a break too. I don't know why we thought we could manage twins with no family around - how naive!

HostaFireAndIce Sun 05-Nov-17 13:18:16

I'm going to be a little controversial and say that I am not convinced that you getting a 'day off' necessarily means that he needs to have one too. It's not just the exhaustion of looking after small children all week, largely by yourself, it's the monotony of it. You need a change as much as you need a rest. Your DH gets a change by going to work. I work a small number of hours a week and my mum looks after my youngest. I love looking after my little one, but I actually look forward to that work because it's a nice break.
You may not feel like you ask him for a day off a week if you aren't going to let him have one in return, but could you see if he could do a day a fortnight perhaps? Of course, it doesn't need to be him who could give you the day - the alternative is a childminder or nursery - but that could be expensive.

LBOCS2 Sun 05-Nov-17 13:20:19

DH works very full time hours, I’m a SAHM at the moment but returning to work soon.

As it stands we have the ‘right’ to one weekend morning each and one mid week night each. To spend as we please, no justification to the other, no going cap in hand - we’ve discussed it and that’s how it is. DH usually plays football on weds evening and Saturday morning. I usually sleep in on a Sunday (I got up at 11.30 today!) and see friends during the week. If we want to go out and do something on a weekend evening it’s by prior negotiation as we try to keep the weekends as family time. We also have one weekend a year each away, independently of the other. This year DH went to Amsterdam, I visited a friend in my old university town.

We try to do a date night once a month or so as well but that usually stretches to 6-8 weeks.

I find myself getting tetchy and pissed off if I don’t have time to myself, to reset ‘me’. You’re not unreasonable in needing it, and you’ll feel much better for it.

TammyswansonTwo Sun 05-Nov-17 13:25:18

Thanks Hosta - I do think you're right. A few weeks ago he sent me upstairs for a nap and I said "but you need a break too" and he looked quite surprised and said he really didn't need one. So maybe I'm projecting a bit - in my experience working all day at a computer (especially without any travelling / commuting) is nowhere near as exhausting as looking after twin Tasmanian devils, and on the days I do go out for a meeting for a couple of hours I feel quite well rested in comparison! I also struggle to gauge other people's stamina and tiredness levels since I get fatigued so easily - I assume everyone is like me but obviously they're not. I also need to get him comfortable taking them out on his own together since he never has and I think it's important to build his confidence there.

Bibbidee Sun 05-Nov-17 13:41:24

The twins feeding patterns, they will put a spanner in the works as far as you two going out in the evening. Can you work on this? Tbf 15 months and still feeding like you're doing? I know you mention a reason for one but the other could be addressed?

I'd book the cleaner. Having one child is tiring let alone twins. I think the thing to remember is that you OP, are so worth it, without you, they'd flounder so your mental health and happiness is absolutely paramount, you need you time. You also need couple time. Carve out some of both xx

millifiori Sun 05-Nov-17 15:38:29

Tammy my husband still boasts about giving me a break by taking them out to a local pizzeria and feeding one, then the next, then picking up the spoon the first one dropped, then the bread the other one dropped then having a swig of wine while the waitress looked on. After he;d told this story about ten times as an anecdote I said: You know I did that every single day for three years but without someone cooking and serving me a pizza and bringing me wine and clearing the mess away for us all afterwards? And he looked really surprised. He'd thought it was an anecdote about how heroically hands on he was.

millifiori Sun 05-Nov-17 15:39:12

Sorry - point of that is: make him look after them. He won't have a clue what you're facing unless he cares for them unaided for whole days on end.

Wait4nothing Sun 05-Nov-17 15:47:49

We only have 1 dd but both have time off. We take 1morning or afternoon per weekend - so it could be the same day if we want to do something for the whole day as a family the other day. Once a month (most months) I go out from 11.30am-6.30pm which is longer but most weekends my time is shorter than his (he plays golf so it takes around 4 hours + drink and travel). We both go out in the evening on occasion separately but also have no childcare locally so only go out without dd when family are visiting and offer (so about 5 times in 18 months)

RunRabbitRunRabbit Sun 05-Nov-17 16:00:02

Work more hours and send them to a childminder or nursery on those days.

I chilled out a lot when I went back to 3 days a week working. The change of scene, the independence when going to the toilet, the not having to feed anyone, lunch from the salad bar or cafe or Gregg's, was utter bliss.

DH did the mornings, I went out to work early before everyone was awake, he got them ready, breakfasted and off to the childminder. I picked them up at the end of the day. This was brilliant. I massively valued getting ready swiftly and quietly in my own in the morning with no-one demanding anything from me. In the evening they had been given their dinner by the CM so for me it was playtime, bath, bed. All the good stuff.

DH liked to show off being totally capable of doing mornings and held it as a badge of honour with his dad friends. He also said it was easier if I wasn't there. OK if have put them in cleaner clothes or had better brushed hair a lot of the time but honestly, meh, I was being precious (and knew it and kept my mouth shut).

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