With the seasons changing and spring upon us across the states, often parents become motivated to complete projects around the house. This may mean Spring cleaning or might mean putting in a garden, building a treehouse or other outdoor projects that couldn’t be tackled in the colder months.
But now there’s baby. And things happen more slowly, with more interruptions. This can cause a lot of stress for parents. Sometimes the mom ends up isolated inside with the baby while her partner is outside working on things. Or mom ends up feeling like a glorified babysitter, chasing the kids around outside instead of getting to participate. What was once something she and her partner did together, as a team, is now something she watches from the sidelines. And situations like this can lead to resentment.
Family projects can still happen; you just have to change the process. It may take a little longer or need more preparation but in the end, it will get done and you will both be included. Take a half hour after the kids go to bed to discuss the project, materials needed and break down the steps. Rather than shopping and doing in one day, maybe have your partner pick up materials after work one evening and then work on the project on the weekend. Utilize a stroller in the yard so baby can watch from a safe, secured place and have a snack or play with toys. Try to plan parts of the project that need you both for baby’s naptime. Enlist help from other kids who are more mobile and recognize that having their help will slow down the project but will make it a family affair.
The most stressful times are when adjusting your expectations can be the quickest route to relieve the stress. Realizing that things get done differently with kids in tow. Remind yourself that this is not a bad thing. Kids have a way of making us slow down and appreciate things we would have formerly rushed through. It’s usually our own resistance to change that is causing us stress, not the baby. If you are feeling frustrated by a situation, step back, rethink how you are doing things and come up with another plan that works for everyone. Don’t let your ideas of how things should happen interfere with them actually happening.