A beginner’s guide to caring for a baby when your partner’s away…

So, Dan has been away the last few days for school camp and is FINALLY HOME (thank goodness!). Call me a clingy wife, but I really do like to have him around. I was curious to see how I would go handling Jacob on my own for a few days, and I’m still here blogging, so that’s a good sign (never mind that I haven’t mopped the floor since before he left, and I’ve been trying to post this since Wednesday).

Honestly, it’s been a challenge, and from my (limited) experience, here are some Do’s and Don’ts that I would definitely suggest…

Do sleep in.Β I don’t know about your baby, but my baby doesn’t sleep very well anymore. *sob* He used to sleep through, but now has fluctuating sleep patterns from 2 wake-ups a night (tolerable) to waking up every hour (somebody kill me). It’s either a growth spurt, a wonder week, teething or all three combined! I used to feel lazy for sleeping in til 9 am, but guess what – your body needs it from all the interrupted sleep. Otherwise, take some naps in the day – I can’t nap though, have tried but can’t wind down, hence why sleeping in works.

Babies are cutest when they sleep, don’t you think so:

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Do make allowances for yourself and for your baby. Yes, there are supermums out there, but half the time, things are not going to go according to plan (and you have no backup too). Missed that appointment or perhaps baby’s mealtime? Don’t sweat it and as long as you and bub are (relatively) healthy and happy, you have succeeded.

Do have some people over (or go out to see people) to keep yourself sane. Jacob likes going so I usually make sure we had an outing each day, even if it was a short one to the car repair place. I also prefer to go out because my house wasn’t always very presentable, which brings us to the next point…

Don’t expect to get any housework done.Β Yes, if you can do the laundry, that’s fine. If the baby sleeps a good long nap, surely you can attempt at vacuuming and mopping the floor. But if you are debating between having lunch and housework, have lunch. Make sure you’re properly functional and who knows, if bub goes to sleep at a decent hour, you can bring out the inner clean-freak side. Oh wait, you don’t have one? πŸ˜›

Don’t overload your schedule. You want to get a lot of things done for hubby before he gets home? Great idea, but it might also get you utterly exhausted. I, for some random reason, decided to take Jacob to the beach after meeting a friend at lunch. It was lovely but I was so so SO tired that night. I did get some cute photos though (sneak preview):

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Don’t try to cook a gourmet meal every night. I learned that cooking and carrying a baby do not go together. Had the baby been sleeping while I was making dinner (fat chance!), I might have tried to do more. The last few days, I survived on breakfast cereals, leftovers, microwave meals and chocolate. Do not underestimate the power of chocolate. πŸ˜‰

Don’t lock yourself out of the house. Alright, this is a no-brainer but frankly, it could have been so much worse. The evening before Daniel came home, I thought I’d take Jacob and Skittles out for a walk. I had Skittles on the lead and ready to go, the garage door open and I was just taking Jacob out to put him in the pram – and I heard the door slam shut. It was a windy day and yes, the door was locked. Argh!!

I tried my luck with the bathroom window – climbed onto a bin and managed to squeeze the top half of me into the crack (into a space of something like 20cm!) but could not get my childbearing hips through. At long last, I called my in-laws for the keys. Thank you – you’re lifesavers! Meanwhile, I just walked the dog and Jacob anyway, and thanked God that at least Jacob wasn’t inside when I was outside or something terrible like that.

Don’t do it alone. I always make this mistake, because I am a fiercely independent person (though I do like my husband home, haha!). I know many times I was thinking “Oh no, what should I do?” and my instinct was to look things up on the internet and see how I can fix the problem. But there are so many other resources out there – people to talk to on 24 hour hotlines, and of course, there are relatives and friends as well. It takes a community to raise a baby, so you can always consult your community! πŸ™‚

As a final piece of advice – if you don’t feel the pinch when hubby’s away, he’s probably not doing enough when he’s around! Make sure that he pulls his weight because caring for a baby is a joint responsibility (and trust me, he doesn’t want to miss out spending time with his little one!). But if he is, reward him when he’s back – I made him oat chocolate pancakes for breakfast the next day:
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I just wanted to add a touch of my admiration for single parents who manage to do this on a continuous basis. I think I would have cracked at a week! I know some single mums and I think they are the strongest people I’ve ever known.Β To all you mums out there (especially my own, as I know she’s always one of the first people to read my blog) – thank you for your love, your strength and your sacrifices. πŸ™‚

On an ending note, I entered Jacob into the Bonds baby competition. After a lot of debating over which photo to choose, I ended up choosing this photo. For some reason, I just love the twinkle in his eye! πŸ™‚ I’ll provide more details when the voting starts!

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10 thoughts on “A beginner’s guide to caring for a baby when your partner’s away…

  1. Well, we all learn from experience n good advice given. Sleep when u r tired n while u can. Do u remember the times I fell asleep at the wheel?
    The important thing to remember is always plan n be organised. N start putting Jacob in his play pen or cot where u know he will be safe!

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    • Yes, sleep is so important. I’m quite used to a lack of sleep but I really shouldn’t be making it a norm. Jacob does like his playpen & cot, but can only sit there for so long before he gets grumpy. πŸ™‚

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  2. SO TRUE! i was just logging into write a similar post! Lily’s dad broke his arm this week and it’s been total single motherhood experience…and will be for the next few months. i don’t know how single women do it! you’re strong for getting through this time and i absolutely LOVE the pic of Jacob on the sand. what a stunner!!!

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    • Oh wow, it must be hard (especially with Lily so young). Just get lots of rest when you can and if you can’t find time for housework, don’t worry about it! πŸ˜› Thanks, I really love taking his picture at the beach. πŸ™‚

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