For the majority of our first month as parents, both sets of our parents were on hand. It wasn't until our daughter's third week of life that my husband and I were on our own. The good part of having the extra hands is that neither of us ever felt that desperate, overwhelming panic that you hear about. My father-in-law cooked, my mother-in-law kept up with the housekeeping and my parents did the same. It was a blessing to have that much help. However, the downside is that when they all left my husband and I were a little lost. It was obvious that my primary responsibility would be the baby – after all, we were still nursing around the clock so she was never far from me. But the dog still needed to be walked, laundry and dishes needed to be done and what in the world were we going to eat?
By that time, my husband had gone back to work. Thankfully, he was working from home but he was still largely unavailable. Additionally, he works across time zones so he often he kept long hours holed up in his office. I wasn't too upset about that – his dad left our freezer stocked and that left me to lay in bed and stare at my baby. But soon enough, the food ran out, the house got dirty and the laundry and dishes piled up.
We learned to do things in spurts. If the baby fell asleep, I hurriedly put her in his arms while I dashed to the kitchen to frantically unload and reload the dishwasher. I would run back to feed her and hand her off again while I did a load of laundry. Then she would wake up, he'd hand her to me and I'd feed her again while he ran to the kitchen to make dinner. It was only through this tag-team approach that you're not seeing us on an episode of "Clean House" right now.
Nights were a little more challenging. There wasn't much he could do about feeding the baby so often he slept soundly while I was up every two hours nursing. This didn't upset me either as I saw no point to him being awake simply out of solidarity. At least one of us should be well-rested and it should probably be the one who's paying the mortgage. Now, that's not to say I didn't fantasize about throwing a pillow at his head during a particularly long and fussy night when I would have given my favorite shoes for some sleep.
One night, I simply couldn't take it. The baby was fed, her diaper was dry but she was just inconsolable. My bones felt like Jell-O and I begged him to simply walk around with her while I got a little sleep. He did and that twenty minutes was the best of my life. That power nap was just enough to get me through a couple more hours and by some miracle, she slept for a solid hour shortly thereafter!
My husband has resumed traveling but I continue to do things in spurts – thank goodness for babywearing! I get her tied up and strapped in and I'm able to get a lot accomplished. Some days I get more done than others, but overall we're doing quite well. More than anything, my first month as a mother has taught me that some days the only thing you'll be able to do is brush your teeth and that's okay.