When our eldest child was born, my husband and I felt that life could not get any better. This euphoria lasted a number of days but after the initial excitement, sleep deprivation, and numerous visitors, the demands on our personal time became a reality. I knew the arrival of the baby would change our lives, but I was unprepared for what this would look like. I did not realize how all-consuming this tiny human being would be. How even getting a cup of coffee or a shower would be such a monumental task. Even though my husband was supportive, we had bills that had to be paid and work kept him out of the house for many hours most days.
Not surprising, relationship expert John Gottman says that ‘about two-thirds of couples have serious problems in the first three years of the baby’s life, where their happiness with one another went down and their hostility increased.” Gottman goes on to explain that fathers are pivotal in their role, not only with the baby, but with the mother, who is able to be a better parent if he’s involved with her. As mothers, we may feel that we know the “right way” of doing everything for our baby. After all, we’re generally the ones spending most of our time with them. But it’s ok to pass on some of those tasks to give yourself a break and it’s also ok if your spouse does things differently than you!
If you are one of the couples experiencing marital tensions after bringing baby home, know that you are not alone and that help is available. You wouldn’t be the first parents to ask for help! Make sure to talk to your spouse about how you’re feeling and take the time to connect for a few minutes every day and with the occasional “date night” – even if that means a picnic on the living room floor when baby has gone to sleep (just make sure you ask for a foot rub while you’re at it!).
From a fellow mom