Sunday, January 20, 2008

Letting go, just a little

Since Eve came home I have been a bit over the top in wanting to do everything myself. In the way of modern "have it all" woman I still seem to buy into the myth that I can be the perfect wife, mother, career woman all at once and without any help. I simultaneously want my daughter to be so deeply bonded to me that she doesn't want anyone else (thereby showing I am a good mother) but also to be so well socialised that she will go to anyone or sleep anywhere (showing that I am a modern, practical mother).

This has resulted in me insisting that the Boy or I do every feed, every nappy change and are the ones to put her down. This works fine when the Boy has some time off work, but when he is at work it means that I spent 3/4 of my day either feeding, changing, settling or playing with Eve. The remaining quarter is for sleep, phone calls, blogs, work (I am still getting calls...), and eating. Yes, that is all within 6 hours.

Something had to give.

So, after about 4 days of nagging his progressively exhausted wife, I finally gave up a little bit of Eve care to H. H has been employed as a nanny, and is very good with children and babies - knowing far more than I do. However, my resistance to giving her Eve is both emotional and logical. Emotionally, she is not family, she is not Eve's relative and it just seems wrong to give my child to someone who is not a relative. I was always looked after by my parents growing up, and my sister looks after her two children - so it is just something I don't have in my DNA. On a practical level, I also have a fear that now Eve is in something resembling a standard routine, H's version of childcare may differ from mine and muck things up.

However, the Boy was right and as I intend to go back to work at some point, Eve needs to bond with H and H needs to get used to Eve. With some nervousness I asked H to do Eve's 10am change, feed and put her down. Prior to this I explained our principle of routine (i.e. wake up Eve every 3 hours, then what happens next). Although H didn't agree with waking up a sleeping baby, she was fine with the rest.

So I ran the bath, locked the door, switched on the radio loud and forced myself to stay in there for half an hour while H got on with it.

Eve was, of course, fine. She fed lots. H rocked her to sleep (which we don't do), which meant that Eve didn't go down to sleep quite so fast. H also has a habit of picking Eve up at the first whimper, whereas we soothe her in her cot and let her put herself to sleep (good habits for later life!). However, other than this, all went very well. I now plan for H to do one feed a day with Eve, and once we get past 8 weeks and we need to start preparing Eve for my return to work and more bottles and formula, she will do more.

I couldn't, however, stop myself smiling when H couldn't settle Eve in her cot. It seems that for some things only Mummy or Daddy will do.

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