It Takes Teamwork...

One of the things my friends and I talk about the most is our other half's, when we're actually able to talk to each other that is in between saying 'share nicely please' and 'don't put that in your mouth' for the 20th time.
Lets be honest, we don't always talk about the good things because a) it's more fun to have a little moan about the men in our lives and b) we don't want to sound like smarmy idiots boasting about our perfect husbands (or not husband in my case - still waiting on that ring!).
What I have learned is that being parents requires you to be strong. It will push you to your limits and you will be left wondering some days if its really going to work between you. At the start of your relationship you have that amazing honeymoon period where everything is fun, exciting and new. You're getting to know each other and forming the basis for your future. You then move in together and get married (or not) and then make the life changing decision to have a baby. Only at the time it doesn't feel that life changing, it feels like the next step, something you've talked about and feel ready for. Poor naive little you, blissfully unaware. You know nothing.
It hits you like a ton of bricks when you finally welcome that special bundle, a ton of pure love like you've never felt before but also a ton of doubt, worry and fear. Suddenly there is a new dimension to your two-some and all the preparation in the world doesn't come close to actually living it.
What no one tells you is that you have to learn to be a couple again now that you're called Mummy and Daddy. You have both changed as people as a result of caring for your tiny humans and you have to adjust accordingly. It's going to test you both like you wouldn't believe.

Myself and The Man are three children in now and I do feel like we have a pretty good thing going, we have a good system that works for us. When I hear my friends having a husband moan I know exactly what they're talking about because we've been there, we've had some terrible arguments! There was once a door slammed so hard that the pictures fell off the wall (I neither confirm or deny if that was me or him...but I got a right telling off for that one!) and thankfully we've come out the other side so I'm going to share some things that work for us. These things may not work for you, you may have your own successful routine or I may start sounding like a sanctimummy (please no! It's not my intention) but what I can say is that when we argue now its rarely kid related.

This first one came from my parents and I've tried to use it in my own relationship. Your kids don't come first - your relationship comes first. This may sound a little backwards but think about it, unless you're happy as a couple how can you expect to be happy as a family. Happy parents, happy kids. My parents have been married almost 35 years so there has to be something to it!

You have to be a team. He isn't just your other half, he needs to be your team mate. You need to work together to make this whole parent thing work. The Man and I are a bit like tag team now 'I'll go and shower while you do breakfast then we'll swap to get them all dressed' or 'you load the dishwasher while I change this ones nappy'. Dividing up the tasks on days when you're together makes it all run more smoothly and gives you more time later for tickle fights in front of a movie.

Ask him for help - don't expect it. I'm not saying you shouldn't expect him to pull his weight, he definitely should but don't wait for it huffing and puffing thinking he should have taken the hint, men aren't so good at hints. Some blokes are brilliant but some (including mine) just don't think the way we do about the kids. Our every waking thought is about our children; what does he need next? When will she needing feeding again? When would be the best time for their nap etc. Men aren't tuned this way, so don't get silently annoyed, just ask him for help. It's that simple, just ask. Chances are if he's anything like my fella then he wants to help, he just doesn't think about it. So instead of having an argument in your head then finally exploding at him...Just ask.

At night, they really don't wake up. The amount of times I've wanted to punch The Man in the face purely because he's sleeping and I'm not is huge! You're there at 3am listening to a whining baby and wondering how in hell he can't hear it. So you sigh really loudly or roll over and huff to try and give him the hint to wake up and deal with it. He doesn't, so now you have to get out of bed and to show your anger you stomp around the bedroom and open the door with a tad more force than usual because now you're doing the feed for what feels like the 100th night in a row. Instead, same as above really, just wake him up and tell him it's his turn. It's usually not because he's being a dick, he really just hasn't woken up. And if you can pre-determine who's doing the feed before going to bed all the better. A friend of mine was getting really annoyed at her hubby for never doing the feed or giving her a lie in. She said "he always says he'll do it then when the baby wakes up he never gets out of bed!" "have you tried actually waking him up?" Nope. I rest my case.

Prep the night before. This can be you preparing the kids clothes so he can dress them while you shower - because lets be honest the clothes he picks out are always the ones you save for muddy days at Grandma and Grandad's house or pajamas he thinks are tops. Or it can be preparing for the next day with a plan such as "we have a lot to do tomorrow and we have to be out of the house early so if you could do X, Y and Z while I do this, this and this that would really help me". Works for us because we both know what we have to do and it saves last minute flapping. Although you'll probably still be late because you have kids and that's just life now!

I know this is stepping up a notch on the organisation scale, but trust me it really helps!

Finally don't be a hero. There was a time when I thought asking for help meant admitting defeat, showing others that I couldn't cope. I have come to realise that it couldn't be further from the truth. Mums need a break. Whether you're a SAHM or a working mum it's a tough gig and it really does 'take a village' so use that village! When your friends offer to help take them up on it, there's no shame in accepting, they're happy to do it. When family come over ask them to bring a pint of milk with them or better still pop to the shops on your own while they build a super-mega-gigantic-taller-than-me-tower with your little monkey. And arrange someone to come round fairly often so you can have a date night with your man, because you do still love him really.

Speak soon x