Phil went back to work this morning after his two weeks of paternity leave and it’s safe to say that by last night I was feeling pretty nervous and emotional about my first day of solo parenting two under twos.
In complete honesty I can’t really say I was flying solo, because my mum was around from mid morning until just after lunch, which was great, and Phil got up with Toby somewhere around 6am and got him dressed for the day. I’m exceptionally lucky to have the amazing support network that I’ve got, but it didn’t stop me from crying quite a lot this morning with a heady mix of exhaustion and nerves. My friend Hannah sent me this fantastic blog post, which made me feel much better even though it made me cry!
Martha definitely has active reflux and although unlike Toby’s silent reflux, Martha doesn’t seem bothered in the slightest by it, it is resulting in me being up for 2-3 hours in the middle of the night to feed, burp and keep Martha upright for half an hour after feeds. Even after that, she’s throwing up shortly after I put her on her slightly raised mattress, so the whole procedure starts again!
This morning all I could see was Toby throwing himself around on the floor when he didn’t get his own way, Martha cluster feeding and no hope of a shower. In the end, Toby and I showered together but Martha – who doesn’t like her swing chair and went from sleeping to starving in a nanosecond – cried and cried so the shower was more of a sprinkle with how quickly I was in and out.
By some miracle we were all dressed and fed by half 9, but I was exhausted and cried to mum about how impossible the task seems to balance the needs of both children. I know I’m not the first parent to be at home with two under twos and I won’t be the last, but when you’re tired and emotional rational thinking goes out the window and a rather pointlessly defeatist attitude sets in.
Anyway, we piled into my car and headed to town for Toby’s music group and as soon as I was out I felt better. Unfortunately our double pushchair hasn’t arrived yet and Toby’s stroller was in Phil’s car, so I only had one pushchair. Thankfully, when Toby needed a snooze after music he happily jumped into the pushchair and Martha didn’t object to being in a woven wrap. Both of them slept whilst mum and I ate lunch – result!
Back at home, I got nappies changed and Toby watched a bit of TV whilst I crashed on the sofa and fed Martha. Feeling slightly more human I popped Martha into the pushchair, put Toby’s coat and shoes on and we went for a walk in the village. This was such a great way to spend an hour. With Martha snoozing I could devote some time to Toby and we did big steps like a dinosaur, little steps like a mouse, blew the seeds from dandelions, named the colours of flowers and went on the swings at the park.
By the time we got home, both children had done poosplosions and both were hungry, but I felt pretty in control thanks to a nice day. That was nearly destroyed by the presence of a giant hornet in the living room which scared the life out of me! Asking Toby to help get wipes and things whilst I changed Martha kept him occupied and Martha did cry when I was changing Toby, but thankfully he was playing ball so it barely took a minute for me to change him then I was able to give Martha a feed whilst I prepared Toby’s supper.
We had snuggles and tickles on the sofa and before I knew it, Phil was home!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully aware that I will have some truly horrific days with constant meltdowns from all three of us, but whilst I’m now thinking I need to go to bed at 7pm, it’s been a really positive day and has helped to boost my confidence.
How did your first day of solo parenting go when your other half went back to work? Any tips for the days when things don’t go to plan? Let me know in the comments below or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter.