I heard this quote once that, if you want to make God laugh, all you have to do is tell him your plans. I feel like this is doubly true when you’re married to a first responder or a member of the military.
I was due with our son in late February. I thought for sure I’d go into labor early, because my mom and sister both had their babies between 37-39 weeks. By the time my due date rolled around, I was getting super antsy.
Then came March. People would ask, “When are you due?” I’d grumble back, “Last month.” I didn’t even go to church the last few weeks because I didn’t think I could take one more person asking “Where’s the baby?”
One reason I was getting so antsy is that my husband was due to have mandatory firearms training starting the middle of March. I wanted so badly for him to be able to take some time off with me and the baby, but that wasn’t an option with the training. It only happened once a year, and if he missed it, because he was in his probationary period, he could risk losing his job.
At the same time, I didn’t feel right about being induced. It just didn’t feel like the right decision for me.
So, I waited.
I finally went into labor on the evening of the 9 day mark of being overdue and two days later (30 hours, not that anyone was counting), our son was born.
Just 8 hours after I came out of surgery, my husband had to leave the hospital for his training. Funny story: an instructor yelled at him for being late, telling him he’d better have a “damn good reason” for being late. He held up his hospital bracelet saying “new dad” and they generously let it slide.
Super nice of them.
There are times you’re going to feel overwhelmed and wonder why he isn’t there. Then you’re going to feel guilty because you know he’s out doing important things. And then you’ll feel resentful because you feel guilty. And so on and so forth.
I totally get it.
It’s normal to feel this way, and it’s okay. Just don’t let it fester.
Talk to your husband not just about how you’re feeling, but about concrete ways to make it better. Tell him what you need him to do or say to help you out. Because if there’s ever a time they’re totally clueless about how to help you, it’s after bringing home that very first little baby.
If you’re feeling resentful because you’re tired, you might consider having him give the baby a bottle once per day or night (depending on his shift) so you can take a nap or stay asleep.
If you’re feeling frustrated that the house is a mess, ask him to help you tidy up, do the dishes, or throw in a load of laundry.
If you’re feeling unappreciated, ask him to tell you what he appreciates about you.
If you’re not sure how you want it to be made better, that’s okay, too. Just be sure he knows how you’re feeling, and that you want to work together to find a solution.
But – there will be some things you just have to get over. Like the fact their side of the bed is totally puke, poop, and breastmilk free? I had to resist the urge to punch my husband a few times when he was sleeping while I was awake breastfeeding for the billionth time. Life ain’t fair – but this, too, shall pass.
When you spend a lot of time parenting on your own, it’s understandable to feel like your way is the best and only way, but try, try, try to remember that’s not the case.
Even though they may not spend as much time parenting as you do, they still have an investment in their kids. It’s just different. Let them develop their own parenting style without you helping too much.
I mean, you can help occasionally – but if you’re constantly injecting yourself in every situation, they’re going to start to lose confidence. Like, does it really matter how they diaper the baby – or that the baby’s getting a clean diaper? Just let it go.
As your kids get older, you and your husband having different parenting styles is going to be a good thing. Your kids will know who to come to for particular things, which means you can use your strengths for whatever situation they’re in.
Plus, if you want a break, you can’t be too controlling or else it’s not a break.
Just ask me how I know.
You don’t have to do it all.
I know. There’s a billion articles on Pinterest about how you need to only breastfeed, how you can have an immaculate house with a baby, how to spring back from having a baby in 2 weeks, why you need to cherish every second with your child, why you should eat only organic food when you’re breastfeeding, blah blah blah blah blah. Seriously, the list can go on forever and you can start feeling like no matter what you do, you’re choosing something that will permanently maim your child for life.
Can I tell you something? There’s absolutely no way to be the perfect mom. But there’s any number of ways to be a good enough mom. And that’s really all your kids need.
The best advice I got was to write a list of 3 things I wanted to accomplish each morning. Just the most important things – everything else had to wait.
Did I have a spotless house? No. Did we have cereal for dinner – a lot? Totally. Did I get some laundry done? I did!
But did I get to nap? I totally did, and it was amazing.
Plus, I ended each day feeling accomplished because I completed my list. Even if it was short 🙂
There’s going to be a lot of times your husband is going to be gone. Those are the times that, weirdly enough, your baby is going to scream for hours with no end in sight, cluster feed, not sleep, etc. It’s funny how that works.
Those are the times you need your village.
Maybe you don’t have a village. Maybe you don’t have family nearby, or maybe they’re not as involved as you’d like. Reach out to friends, neighbors, acquaintances. Reach out on your local Facebook group to get in contact with or set up a mom group. Ask your husband to help you get in touch with other wives from his department.
I spent a lot of time on late nights chatting with ladies from an online mom group.
Heck, if you’re really in need, send me a message. I don’t mind at all.
Don’t be ashamed to call in an expert, either. I actually hired the Baby Sleep Whisperer a few weeks ago to help with toddler sleep issues and it was the best $100 I’ve ever spent. The sleep issues aren’t totally resolved, but we’re getting there 😉
Just find someone to help you, because parenthood is a big job, and there’s a pretty steep learning curve.
The most important thing is that you know that you’re not alone. At one point or another, we’ve all been there. Your fears and shortcomings are not as unique to you as you’d think.
Solo parenting can be rough, but I hope these tips will help make the transition period happier.
If you liked this post, be sure to check out the related posts at the bottom of this page!
I’m a twenty-something LEO wife and stay-at-home mom to a one-year-old little boy. I enjoy writing, reading, taking my son for walks and runs in the stroller, and crafting. My goal is for Love and Blues to be a resource for first responders and their families. I write about marriage and family topics, as well as about the quirks that come with being married to a man in law enforcement, firefighting, or emergency medical services.
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