We recently had our second baby, and it was much more difficult to adjust to than I had anticipated. I knew family dynamics would change, but I wasn’t sure in what way. My last post was about our experience adjusting with a baby while having a toddler – you can check it out here. Essentially the best way we could make things work was to split up the responsibilities by kid, not all the time, but most of the time. My husband would take our toddler to daycare, handle pickup, run around the yard with him, etc. while I had the baby. She was cluster feeding quite a bit in those first few days, and with all the nursing it was just easier that I took care of her while he played with our toddler. I was sitting in the quiet of our bedroom one night, nursing the baby, and I could hear my husband putting our toddler to bed. The conversation came floating down the hall – the laughter and chatter of a 3-year-old and the strong laugh of my husband in response. At that moment, I had this overwhelming feeling that I just missed him, missed us, and I realized I had somewhere along the way, lost us, just for a second. So, unable to express my thoughts at that moment any other way, I wrote this letter to my husband.
I knew two kids would change things, how could it not? But I was so focused on the dynamic of the three of us before baby and the shift to a family of four that I completely missed what that meant for our relationship as two. We worried, and hoped, and talked about what this could mean for our son. He could get angry, act out, or be totally fine with bringing home the new baby, but mostly it meant he no longer got all the attention and he needed to be more independent. How would we make those changes and how could we ease that transition for him?
At the time that translated in my head to all the things we do together (everything) – we won’t both be able to go to swimming lessons, tuck him in and read every night as a family, and family dinner would probably be crazy for a little while. It meant less time overall for the three of us.
For some reason, it didn’t translate to less time for the two of us when he was napping, at night, or when he was at school. How I overlooked this I’m not sure, it seems so obvious now. I want you to know that I see you – loving on the new baby, stepping up to care for the dogs and our son, and the housework, and me, when I haven’t slept or found time to put myself together. You work so hard to take care of all the necessary things that it almost feels normal to have a baby at home and be a non-sleeping zombie. But it wouldn’t feel normal, and things would be (more) chaotic if it weren’t for all you do.
Lack of sleep means attempting to go to bed early, sleep in later, nap when we can, and split duties while awake. It also means less time together even though physically in the same place, less energy for us to talk or dream or share, and it means less time for me to show and say how much I love you and how thankful I am for you. You’re so great, and I am so appreciative, but I want you to know it’s ok to do things for you too. To stay sane. To take a nap, even if you had more sleep than me. To study, learn, code, or go workout. To take time away from responsibilities and to-dos and do something you want or need. There’s little time left before you go back to work and this time isn’t just for getting things done, it’s having time to feel normal and love on us and not tire yourself out.
I love you, even though I’m sometimes too tired and too busy in my own head to express it. You are the greatest dad and husband, and you make all the difference in our lives. You are so kind and patient, selfless in every way. I love you so much, and I promise to make sure you know that all the time, first and foremost.