Feeling: juggling hats and managing feelings
And now that we are starting to get quite a fair bit more settled down, I must say that living with help has quite a lot of benefits!
Okay, actually not very unexpected, but more so than I originally thought in any case.
There’s now someone else’s pair of eyes to help you look after the fast-moving critter who constantly needs a new source of entertainment and more hands to help provide said required entertainment too!
That means lots more time for mummy to get some work done and perhaps a little time alone to go to the toilet and sorts.
And the fact that there’s a helper in the house too means that I can safely feed the baby and let him make a mess (and a BIG mess at that) because someone else can help to clean up! WOOT! Can you say Hello Baby-led Weaning?
For the past week, I’ve been so happy to feed him his purees and generally just leave his food out in front of the bub to have a bit of a feel with. Letting things drop in the floor, cleanliness be damned…
Let me tell you that there’s no feeling in the world like that lightness on your heart when you don’t have to worry about your carpets and marble tiles and squishy, little icky remnants of bits smushed under your toes in the aftermath of a baby’s dinner!
But where there are pros, there are cons too.
There are also (plenty of) downfalls that come with moving in with somebody else.
It’s a whole new dynamic that you have to learn to adjust and work around. And granted that we are trespassing on other people’s schedules and lives, we need to do our best to make ourselves not noticed. Or so, we would like to think.
While we are grateful for having this place so readily available to us (rent free at that) and of course staying in with parents gives us a certain familiarity, we can’t help but feel a little.. Out of place when it comes to having to get back into our daily routines.
This is where I tell you that I’ve already done 7 odd years living with my in laws before the hubs and I got married.
We started dating when I was 21, and got married when I was 29.
In the first few years of us dating, we spent more than a lot of time together and even if I wasn’t staying over, I was pretty much in the house with him, studying, on the computer playing games or out together on a date.
It wasn’t too long before I got my own drawer for clothes and under things either, so technically I have “done my time” when it comes to living with the extended family before we finally put down money on getting our own marital home.
Moving back in is a little bit like going back to old circumstances, but with its own challenges…
While having people around is good, and being near to the people you love is in a way heart-warming. I mean, parents are parents you know? And you cannot not be grateful to be around them right?
There are expectations too, about how to respond to certain situations with the parents though, and even though we’ve had a child of our own and have lived in our own home for the last 2 years, moving back in sort of regresses us back to being someone else’s child and having to abide by the rules of another person’s home.
That in itself is not a bad issue. Like I mentioned, it’s just a matter of keeping out of each other’s way so that we can all go about doing whatever we were doing before we were squashed under the same roof.
Unfortunately, most of the time the house is no longer just our small extended family unit. It’s a much bigger extended family unit – this house is constantly full of people. Cousins and aunts and uncles. Our the relatives love their parties and we can count on some event or another happening every other weekend.
It’s wonderful to expose the baby to all sorts of people (as I’ve mentioned in previous posts), but having people around all the time just means over stimulation to me now.
I might be a little over-reacting to things. But I would much prefer intimate settings where my baby can actually get to know the person who is holding him, rather than to be passed around like a hot potato to people who just want to coo and pinch his cheeks.
Heaven knows what kind of germs are going around when there are more people in the house too. More people = more germs = higher likelihood of the baby falling sick too.
And guess who has to deal with the aftermath of that once the parties are all over…
Of course, when people are confronted with the bundle of cute which is a baby, they also tend to want to throw out all the RULES that comes with having to taking care of a baby too. Especially when it comes to the older generation who have probably forgotten what it’s like to have a baby in the house.
That means that schedules are thrown out. There is no differentiation between eat time, sleep time, play time or any other time.
When it comes to living with the baby, the people who are permanently in the house are little more understanding abotu what it takes to look after the bub, but the visitors..
They come to me with outstretched arms, waiting expectantly for me to make some comment about how wonderful it is for you Mr so-and-so or you Aunty & Uncle this-and-that to have come over and want to relieve my tired arms of my hungry, tired and cranky baby who I am trying to put to sleep.
I get that you would love to cuddle my baby and give him a little squeeze, but he has important schedules to keep that will help him have a well-rounded and reliable scheme of things going on around him. My baby needs to know that there is a right time for certain things and that might not seem important enough to some, but it IS.
When all these people come by and think that they are more important than the baby’s routine, they are undermining my authority as the baby’s parent and giving him the impression that mummy doesn’t mean what she says – any Tom, Dick and Harry can just swoop in and mummy will change her mind and let baby stay up later, not have to eat his greens, get up from the table and walk around while everyone else is eating…..
I’m the one who has to live with the consequences of deviating from schedule and sometimes that means that I’ve got a cranky fussy and crying baby on my hands, and have to deal with it, either out in public or later on when I get home and have to wake up in the middle of the night to take care of said baby too, thankyouverymuch.
Now this makes me sound like I’m some unreasonable jailer. That I’m going to be totally closed off from the world with the baby and nobody is ever going to see him, but that isn’t true!
While I want to keep the baby away from the crowds, it’s simply because I find that while there are hands available, it’s one thing to have to rely on other people being around all of sudden now, when I’ve been surviving with the bub on my own at home for the last 8 months.
Heaven knows that after this renovation and we are all moved back into our old (but now new) home, I’m going to have to go back to the routine of taking care of the little bub by myself (except every other day when my mum comes over).
So I can’t be complacent. I can’t be reliant. Lord, give me strength.
I have to maintain a bit of control of my own so that not only me, but the baby can both adjust back to being in a house where we don’t have the luxury of help all the time.
But of course, I would love to have friends come over and visit us. People who understand that it’s not a walk in a park to take care of the baby. People who have kids on their own and know what it’s like to have their kids meltdown when they don’t get enough rest. People who get that if you don’t place boundaries on now, that there’s a whole slippery slope of development for the future…
I mean, if I’m going to help my children grow up into adults who respect other people’s times and schedules, it has to start with how I teach them to respect their own timetables too right?
And while I am going to have to find a way to adjust with having the people around the home providing help and stress at the same time, I know that this is just part and parcel of my little bub’s life experiences.
Every little thing that happens around him now will make him into a little person in the future who bases his actions and attitudes on how he was brought up and that makes me feel all the more responsible to make sure that he gets the best start and references to do that and be an outstanding person in his adulthood.
So I’ll have to figure out ways to gently and politely tell the well-meaning guests and aunts and uncles about how I feel in a nutshell.
Or perhaps refer them to this post and hope they don’t get offended.
Here’s praying to God for tact and discipline to not get swayed and also the kindness and self-control to not get too angry with people who insist that my method of parenting has its faults.
We’ll just have to take each day as it comes.
Making plans and keeping them,