Fita and Liam are first-time parents to nine-month-old Caleb (CJ). Now that Fita has returned to work, they are grateful for the helping hands of their fanau who care for CJ through the day.
Looking after a baby is hard work, and working with a baby can be even harder. For Fita and Liam , who have a nine-month-old son, Caleb (CJ), support from their fanau is priceless. Fita works full-time from home, which she loves, she says, because she’s there for all Caleb’s milestones. “But juggling tasks while making sure Caleb is happy and content is a challenge.” So she’s grateful for the support of Liam’s sister, Caitlin, who often helps out during the day. “She’ll pick him up during the week so I can focus on meetings and finish tasks. She helps us out a lot by taking care of him, being there for him. He loves when she sings to him and plays with him.”
Fita also receives support from her wider family; she and Liam lived with her parents until Caleb was six weeks old and now share a house with Liam’s brother and his partner and two children. “It’s good we stay together so we can help each other out,” Fita says. “Family is so important, especially when you’re a first-time mum. My mum and mother-in-law are really good. They’ll drop everything to come and help, such as with feeding Caleb while I have a shower.”
Parenthood no walk in the park
As Fita and Liam’s primary support person, Caitlin understands how hard caring for a baby can be. “Being able to spend time with Caleb throughout the day is really good, but it’s exhausting,” she says. “It’s no walk in the park, there’s a constant need for attention and you have to be watching him all the time. There are no breaks and you can’t do anything else until his parents come back to get him.”
Caitlin says she admires Liam and Fita as parents as “it must be so hard when they both work.”
Liam says sleep is the main thing he has struggled with. “Everyone was telling us before we had CJ that we’d lose a lot of sleep. We thought we had it sussed but those first two weeks were a struggle.”
Reaching out is all it takes
Family support made a big difference in those early days, Liam says. “We had Fita’s parents to take him and change his nappy and stuff like that. Now Caitlin and my mum are instrumental in looking after him.
Fita’s started working from home but still finds it hard to look after baby and always worry about where he is so Caitlin and my mum will pick him up.
“It’s peace of mind for me at work too and we’re both comfortable with the way they look after him.”
Caitlin’s advice to other new parents who need support is to reach out for help. “Your family and friends will never know unless you tell them. Don’t be afraid to reach out.”
Fita agrees. “I felt scared asking for help because I didn’t want to be seen as someone who didn’t know what to do, but it’s the best decision I could have made,” she says.