Tuesday, February 2, 2010

"It's your turn."

Stumbling back toward the bedroom, I try to ignore the burning in my tired eyes. My head hits the pillow, the warm covers envelop me and I nestle settle in to finally get some rest. No sooner does my mind start to slow down and accept the sweet release of sleep and.....I hear it. Frustrated, exhausted, annoyed, and defeated I mutter the phrase I've been putting off saying for the last two hours: "Honey...it's your turn."

Ah, the night-time joys of having an infant. I recently wrote about how Micah was waking up a lot during the night and it got me thinking about how we handle our duties as parents when ideally, we should be sleeping. Does one parent tend to be "on duty" more than the other or is it split up pretty evenly? My mother gets a kick out me talking about this because back when my sister and I were babies, she did absolutely everything. She did all the diaper changes, all the feedings, all the everything whether it was 2 pm or 2 am. That's not to say my dad wasn't involved, but it was just accepted in their relationship that that kind of stuff was my mom's "job." I can only assume that the generation before them handled things similarly, with the woman doing most, if not all, of the childcare duties, regardless of the hour.

I got into a conversation with a mommy friend of mine who has a deal worked out with her husband where she does all the night-time feedings, but he does all the diaper changes. I asked what he thought of that arrangement and she said simply, "It's the rule." I couldn't help but chuckle. The key, I think, is that their arrangement works for them and that's crucial.

As for us, our system works most of the time. I usually go to bed a little earlier than Evan and he stays up to give Micah his last feeding of the night - anywhere from 10:00 to 11:00 depending on the night. After he comes to bed, I'm "on duty" for the rest of the night. Lately, with Micah waking up several times every hour, I have had to pull the "it's your turn" somewhere in the 4:00 hour because I simply can't take it anymore. I feel guilty for having to do it, but so far Evan has been very understanding.

How do you handle the night shift, or how did you handle it when your kids were young? Do you feel it should be suffered....I mean, shared equally between parents or should one (probably the one who doesn't have to get up as early in the morning) take the lead? Thoughts? Suggestions?

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