Ladies, (and gentlemen) we all know that babies are a lot of work. That they take over and turn your life upside down. It’s commonsense. But there are blinders over our eyes about one HUGE subject. The marriage (i.e. what happens to your marriage) when the baby comes. Chris and I took parenting classes and labor classes before Jack was born, but we didn’t realize that we would possibly need marriage classes as well. Probably more than the other classes put together. And staying true with the whole “brutal honesty” I have going on in this blog, I obviously have to address the issue and maybe help a future mother along her path.
Marriage and relationships always have little bumps in the road, but from what I have heard from other mother’s as well as my current situation, it is quite easy to turn on each other in times of crisis. It’s weird because you think it would bond you together as a team, and it does SOMETIMES. But the transition from being independent adults into adults without a moment of free time (this includes using the restroom, yes the baby crawls all over you in this most personal and private instance) can be a tough transition for both you and your partner. And you are both overworked, and you don’t get to have a cup of tea or a shower anymore. And the chores have multiplied by the thousands. And the house is always needing to be cleaned up. And while all this is happening, you are both fighting for a chance to just sit down on the couch and breathe and relax and maybe ready a page in a book if you’re lucky. And then that gets robbed from you, and you can’t be mad at the baby. You CAN be mad at your partner though.
The blame game starts happening pretty quickly. “I do more than you, no you don’t because I did this yesterday and you didn’t, yeah but I cleaned the blah blah blah.” He works all day, so he wants to unwind after work or on his weekend. YOU also work, but it involves a 12-13 hour day of household chores and baby duty which I must say is harder than any job I have ever had. But as a woman, we tend to rally and just do what needs to be done. We have stamina. And in that stamina comes resentment for the wonderful man in our life that decides he needs free time and does his own thing. I mean, I don’t even know what free time is anymore. During my entire weekend, I had a morning breakfast with some girlfriends. That’s it. The rest of the weekend was spent on backbreaking chores and baby care. So when free time is given more to one person than the other, that is when the bomb drops. Sh** hits the fan. Tempers flare. And everyone loses. At the moment we are trying as hard as we can to strike a balance for our time, trying unsuccessfully for about a year. Neither of us want to give up the dream that we can someday have a small piece of our old lives back, some kind of scraps. After looking online, this is not an uncommon problem when a baby comes on board. That’s why I think preparing before baby comes may be the most important thing you can do for yourself, even if your relationship is a perfect as can be. Sometime before baby, just respect the marriage enough to spend time outlining who will do what, what chores need to be done every day, who will do them, what are weekends like, how can mommy get a break for a little while to keep her sanity, what happens when the baby is up all night? Have a few sessions with a professional who can help give you tips on how to transition better. I know that someone is usually the bread earner and feels that they need a full nights sleep to work a job, but the baby is also a full time job that needs to be done every day and you need rest to handle that as well. So it HAS to be fair, it has to be distributed, and a note to the men: you are going to work harder than you ever thought was possible and you have to give up the pipe dream that you are going to get a moment of free time. And if you do happen upon a moment of free time, you better treat it as though you just struck gold. Live it up, even if it is only for 30 minutes. There is no room for complaining in this war, just think about it like this: You are a full time dad. That means the shift starts when the baby wakes on the weekend and free time is after the baby has gone to sleep at the end of the day. Anything more than that is a gift. It’s the same as clocking in for a job. And by having a baby that is what you are signed up for. Period.
This was more of a therapeutic post for myself rather than anyone else. All I have to say is good luck to you. It’s the most amazing and insane thing that can ever happen to you.