When our kids were young, we soon fell into a routine of me doing everything and my husband doing nothing. I used to think that by the time I explained something to him, I could have just done it myself plus I didn’t want to have to ask! I wanted him to notice things and take the initiative; which led to him feeling useless and distancing himself and me resenting him for not being a mind-reader!
I’ve discovered that most men are only too happy to help out and do their bit but they hate second guessing what it is we want from them. They prefer just to be told straight what it is they can do to help and as long as we ask them in a kind and non-punishing manner, they can actually prove to be pretty useful :))
Go on, try it! What have you got to lose?
There’s much to love about the first few months following childbirth. You’re undertaking a new adventure, getting to know your new little bundle of joy, and all-around throwing your energy into being the best parent that you can be.
And while there are many positives, there are definitely plenty of negatives too. For example, with the new baby needing so much attention and with so much pressure on our shoulders, sometimes our relationship with our partner can take a bit of a hit. It’s important to remember that there are always ways to keep things strong, however.
While things may be tense, it’s important to go easy on each other. You’ll be feeling under pressure, and will be more than ready to transfer some of that pressure onto another human being. But your partner is also feeling the same way. As such, it’s best to override the initial reactions you may have when they do something that annoys you and treat them with a hint of sympathy. Things might not be amazing right now, but if you go easy on each other, then the damage will be minimal -- and you’ll still have a platform upon which to develop your relationship once the most stressful period is over.
There are some things you can do that’ll help to keep the arguments at bay. For one, it’s really important to divide the parenting responsibilities fairly. You’ll find it much easier to be on the same page if it doesn’t feel as if you’re the one doing all the work. You’re supposed to be a team, and in a team, no-one carries all the responsibility; it’s a collective effort. If you’re beginning to resent how much work you’re doing / how little they’re doing, then don’t delay - it’s time for a chat.
Communicate! It’s easy to withdraw into your own little world that you’re creating with your baby, but make an effort to stay connected to your partner too. A day or two without chatting isn’t the end of the world, but if it becomes a habit, it’ll be much more difficult to dig yourself out of the hole later on. If something’s bothering you, say it - in a mindful way.
Change those negative comments into positive ones; rather than saying, ‘I hate it when you do nothing around the house / don’t pull your weight’, try saying instead, ‘I love it when you help me out / bring me snacks when I’m busy / notice when I’m struggling and come to my rescue’. This will encourage your partner to do more and will make them feel needed and valued. It sounds simple but it works whereas being punishing towards your partner will have the opposite effect.
While time will be in short supply, try to make a bit of time to connect with one another. Your baby is going to be sleeping a lot (hopefully!); is there time to grab a takeout meal and watch a movie on the couch together? It doesn’t sound like much, but it’ll help to keep those sparks of romance alive.
All couples go through difficult moments, especially when there’s a newborn baby in their lives. Take it easy, and know that it will get better, you have plenty of time to rekindle that flame :)