Sleeping like a husband… and other perks of the working Dad

Sleeping like husband!

Hellooooooooooo sleep!

Yes, my dear friends sleepy and bobo are back in the house and I am welcoming them with open arms. The fog is clearing as I swap 40 minute cat naps for solid bouts of sleep. Deep, peaceful sleep!

People are commenting on my returned ability to string sentences together, the black bags under my eyes that have turned a more smokey-grey and noted the reduction in coffee consumption. I’m bright-eyed, motivated and feeling something very mojo-like returning. I’m walking around doing air pistols, high-fiving the boss and even went out for drinks with work colleagues (I was hilarious). The other day I did exercise and I might just do some more tomorrow. Life has, in large, returned to normal.

I’ve just got to remember not to show off about it.

You see my returned zest for life has not come without casualties. As I sit here tapping away there’s a crumpled, exhausted mum lying on the couch staring vacantly at the TV. She might be asleep or it maybe her eye lids have finally stopped bothering to open. Yes we’re through the first torturous weeks but now its the tough bit, when we (who am I kidding – she) spends 30 – 45 minutes about 2am every night waking, stumbling, feeding, patting, stumbling back into bed, where she will spend the next three hours before waking again, this time for the rest of the day.

Add to this a Miss-nearly-three requiring just as much energy to manage as she did before her sister arrived and it’s not hard to understand the hollowed out shell that remains of my wife come 10pm at night.

My situation is the result of an agreement made between many parents when one works out of the home full-time and the other stays with the children. The belief being that I, as a full-time working Dad require my full faculties to do my job whereas my wife, only needs one eye, three-quarters open to do hers.

But is this really fair? Or is it even right? Or, should I listen to that little voice, in the back of my head that’s saying “when you’re on to a good thing… shut up about it!” You see sleep is just one of the perks that I get. The fact I go to work means that I am spending a considerable amount of time with grown ups, talking about grown up things in grown up places like meeting rooms, kitchens and cafes.

There’s also the reduced amount of tantrums that I deal with, and I very rarely have to wrestle a colleague into the naughty corner. Most of the people I work with can wash their own hands and have long since mastered the art of blowing their own nose. I rarely need to stop what I’m doing because someone is bored and wants to make a cubby under my desk and, with the exception of the odd team building exercise, I don’t need to wear sparkly princess crowns (because today we are all princesses Daddy) or worry about the location of baby teddy.

So I’m going to continue to be very thankful for the side of the arrangement I fell on and remind myself when my wife accidentally wakes me at 2:45am that it could be much worse.

So what’s the agreement in your house? How did you handle the sleeping and settling when your little ones were, well, little? Is it right that the working parent (in this case the Dad) gets all the rest?

Sharing my Friday with Grace from withsomegrace.com who not only runs Flog your blog Friday but also the occasional half marathon! (Good luck Ms G!)

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33 Responses to Sleeping like a husband… and other perks of the working Dad

  1. Sheila says:

    Himself does the last feed about 11pm and then sleeps in the spare room Sun to Thurs. He gets to share my pain Fri and Sat night tho! Oh and he also has to deal with the toddler if he wakes during the night….

    • Kevin says:

      Sounds similar – I creep into bed at about 11pm, share the pain on weekends and have toddler duty. Luckily Miss Nearly three tends to sleep like a rock these days.

  2. Lydia C. Lee says:

    When I was working, we sort of shared it, but while feeding it was obviously but while not working, I think all night duties should be mine…if I’m not functioning well the next day it’s hardly an issue. :)

  3. Kelly HTandT says:

    Hahaha, great post Kev. It’s good to know that you guys realise you have a pretty sweet deal. We had the same thing going on in our house when I was at home full time, but as soon as I went back to work ALL BETS WERE OFF! And it’s hardly fair that a mother is expected to do her job in a sleep deprived state, the job of parenting is, after all, far more important than whatever it is that the other parent does at work all day, right?

    • Kevin says:

      Yip agree. If Mrs II goes back to work then the whole sleep thing will change loads.One thing I find interesting is none parents suggesting that mums can sleep in the day when the baby is asleep. Problem is that this assumes 2 things; 1) that your baby actually sleeps and 2) that as a Mum, your able to just switch off whenever your baby does

  4. You’re handing the baton over to me! I’m 3 weeks away from having baby # 2 and I’m bracing myself for the exhausting night times and uselessness during the day trying to just get through. Currently with my toddler I am the one who gets up, mostly because thats what he demands and it seems easier, but I’m all too aware how hard that’s going to get with a newborn thrown into the mix. The husband will definitely be on duty with the toddler. I think that it’s fair enough for the Mum to mostly take the brunt of the night time work but I’m lucky to have a husband who will willingly help when I ask him to and he does give me little breathers here and there without me asking for it. He is very aware of balance and I’m thankful for that. Vicki xx Linking up through #FYBF

  5. Tracey lets me sleep because if I’m tired I make more mistakes, and if I make a bad enough mistake at work I lose my job, or worse. I appreciate it and feel incredible guilt about it all at once. But it’s not about being a knobber husband, so I find redemption in that. I’m just a lucky man.

    • Kevin says:

      I’m in a similar situation – being awake keeps me employed. I am just very lucky to have a wife that is willing to grit her teeth and get through it. Seriously – if it said this on the box, no one would buy them!

  6. Amy says:

    honestly, this makes me want to cry, because that is the deal we have here. It’s the deal we have always had, but now that we are nearly 4 months in, I find myself getting really mad because he is getting all the sleep and then waking up and telling me how tired he is. I ask him to wake up just 15 minutes earlier to help me out a little, so he sets the alarm for 15 minutes earlier, but he gets up at the same time. So I spend 15 minutes stressing out because I think he is not going to get up on time. UGH. I would love for once, just once, if he said “I’ll get the baby”, or on the weekends “Hey, why don’t you sleep a bit more, I’ll take her out”, but he doesn’t. In fact, he sleeps 3 or 4 hours past his normal waking time on the weekend. And me? I’m still getting up at 5AM, every morning, whether it’s a weekend or not.

    • Kevin says:

      Wow – I should point out that from 6pm on a Friday night, I’m in boots and all and yes, on weekend mornings I try to let Mrs II recover a bit. The other thing I try to do is send her off to bed on a Saturday afternoon when the little one is asleep – I take Miss nearly three out somewhere and make the house quieter.

      • Amy says:

        I’m usually very supportive and understanding of my husband. This week, I’m just tired and irrational. I know he needs his sleep to work, but like I said, tired and irrational.

      • Kevin says:

        tired, irrational, human ;-)

    • NAT says:

      Doesn’t that shyt you! My husband can be such a selfish twat sometimes as well! I’m thinking a new husband may be in order sometime soon LOL

      • Kevin says:

        I suppose, like many husbands, it’s not necessarily selfishness but more a case of not understanding how it really id for a stay at home mum.

  7. Rory says:

    2am huh? Seems like the holy grail of the sleep through may not be too far away ;)

  8. Sarah says:

    Since returning to work part time I have found it’s actually easier sometimes to go to work tired than look after a toddlers demands all day tired… I always get up 1st if our son wakes but in the past if I had been up trying to get him to sleep for awhile and it wasn’t working my partner would get up and walk the pram around the block. I think some Dads don’t do enough of the night waking if a Mother if truly exhausted he should help out whether he has work in the morning or not – looking after a little one tired is not easy!

  9. Lisa says:

    My husband is a police officer so his sleep is tantamount. It is logical sense but it shits me to tears at times. :)l

    • Kevin says:

      I think your highlighting a key point – sometimes you just need to do what you need to do. – Thanks for popping in to the Illiterate Infant

  10. Karen Reid says:

    We had that agreement too. My (ex) husband is a final trim grader operator, building roads, & they had to be straight & smooth pfft! Didn’t stop me wanting to smother him with a pillow though when I was up all night with baby while he snored away blissfully unaware

  11. We have a weekend deal , I sleep in Saturday he does the morning thing, dressed kids, breakfast, pets ect. I do Sundays , I love doing breakfast Sunday we always have something fancy . Because there’s time. While feeding my bubs he would get up and get them then hands bub to me , I fed in bed , then co- slept . So I got some sleep. Second bub was a fantastic sleeper. Needed a break my then 4 year old was only up to 5 solid hours , it was2 at a stretch as an infant. We also had a foster with sleep issues he was a teen so his nightmares woke everybody too. Sleep if I could package it I’d give it as a gift to all my new Mum and Dad friends.

  12. I hate to say it but my husband got up nearly every time with me when our first baby was tiny. He gets up to the kids more than me at night now! He seems much more capable of tolerating moderate sleep deprivation. No sleep makes mummy go CRAAAZZZYYY. I mean I did all the night feeds when they were feeding at night obviously but he was often up too. Maybe that is ridiculous overkill but oh lordie I was grateful. Still, GET THE SLEEP WHILE YOU CAN!

  13. Rachel says:

    I did all the nights feeds because I was the milk truck! But once they were toddlers and I went back to work I was STILL doing all the getting up early and attending to any non-specific night waking due to sickness etc. Eventually I worked out that I needed to ASK him to do it. Once I did that the balance seemed to shift – thank God or the resentment would have built up turned me into the Incredible Hulk!

  14. I’ve been really lucky to be blessed with an awesome husband who has never complained about lack of sleep. It helps that after quite a few years of rotating shift work he has gotten very good at managing his sleep patterns and as he is a bit of a technophobe he finds it much easier to go to bed early so that he can get up with toddler-girl in the morning on his days off. Before I went back to work I made sure that I did the majority of the night get-ups, but on the nights when it was every hour he would always help out and get up once or twice for me. Weekends he would get up with the munchkin and let me sleep in.

    Now, that he works two day shifts, then two night shifts, then has three and half days off its much easier to compromise. I do the night-shift on his day-shift days, he gets morning duty when he is on night shift because she wakes up right about the time he gets home, and we share the load the other days, unless his days off coincide with my work days, like today, and he takes the reigns. Punky decided last night to wake every hour from 2am and then not go back to sleep from 4:30am and just lie there grizzling so even though he was getting up to her neither of us got much sleep. But he’ll nap today (he is very good at the day naps, unlike me who struggles to switch off) while she is at daycare so it works well. I am praying it was just her teeth. Have I mentioned how much I fucking hate teething?!!

  15. Ahhh, the age old question. Same arrangement for us while I was on maternity leave. But I only took 3 months off with baby one, and six months off with baby two, and somehow when I returned to full time work I was still the one doing the night thing. Mainly because Husb just didn’t wake up! I woke to every rustle, and he snored through frantic squeals.
    He’s getting his back now. I am the one that sleeps through it all … and he is the one who wakes to the sounds of our aged and blind dog … to be sure he is not losing his faculties through the house. It happens.
    It all evens out in the end :)
    Happy Friday!
    Leanne @ Deep Fried Fruit

  16. iSophie says:

    Oh yeah you prob should keep quiet and enjoy it. I know you help when you can, on weekends and such, so I am sure you wont be in the dog house anytime soon.

  17. Stock standard response: Similar set-up in EG Inc. However, it does lead to interesting conversations when EG Dad asks why I haven’t taken over the world yet, and my response is “Well, there was a funny reaction when I put kids shampoo in the washing machine – but I realised my error BEFORE handing 6yo Sinister the fabric softener to wash his hair…” Of course, things may change with Spawnling #3 due in August.

  18. mamagrace71 says:

    While we still had the boys in NICU, I had to express my milk during the same times I would’ve been breastfeeding. Poor hubby felt so guilty when I woke up at 2am to, literally, express my milk like a cow. He tried to stay up with me but it really was pointless.
    He takes on night duties now – he has a better knack of settling them back than I do.
    But now the twinlets are migrating themselves over to our bad in the middle of the night so that’s taken things onto a whole new level!

  19. I must admit my husband does a lot of the getting up to my son because half the time I don’t hear him because I am a very heavy sleeper. I am very grateful for my husband and try to do other things in return.

  20. Anne says:

    Alas no.

    I was working full time AND getting up through the night with both my kids, while my partner stayed home. Even when the kids switched to bottle feeds, I was the one getting up.

    I would have preferred sharing duties, but was treated to tantrums worthy of a 2-year-old on the handful of occasions I asked him to handle a feed. I figured the lack of sleep was easier to deal with.

    At any rate, I survived the sleep deprivation and the gentleman in question is now history, so all’s well that ends well!

  21. Gosh those night time feeds were so very hard…now that our baby is 7 I have very distant memories of it….but I have always been the one to get up because Hubby has had to work, and I was breastfeeding. With our youngest hubby didn’t have much time with his crazy hours so even on the weekend I had to see to baby.
    Now that they no longer need “Mum” I get to sleep through most night…unless one of them wakes me up with a nightmare.

  22. Lisa @ Mummy's undeserved blessings says:

    We worked out with baby 2 of 3 that hubby gets up and gets crying baby and I would feed and settle (or fall back to sleep with a baby still sucking away until hubby out her back). That way we were both responsible and it seemed fairer.

  23. I would always be the feeder but my husband was the settler as he was more patient than me. Lucky for us we had great sleepers so it wasn’t a huge issue. I know people hate it when you say your kids were good sleepers…..but I wouldn’t have so many Kids otherwise!

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