Post # 1
A little back ground before I begin. When DH and I met, he wasn’t sure he wanted kids. I was actually thinking about breaking up with him because I have wanted kids since I was a kid. I decided to just talk to him and I told him that not wanting kids was a deal breaker for me. I told him he didn’t need to decide right then, but he needed to tell me right away if he decided he didn’t want kids. By the time we got engaged (3 years later) he was on board with having a baby and we got pregnant a month before our wedding. DH was so excited and was amazing all through the pregnancy. He always rubbed my belly and tlaked to the baby. He cried when we found out she was a girl and he cried when she was born.
I had a c-section and was stuck in bed pretty much the whole time we were in the hospital. Before DD was born, DH had NEVER held a baby. yup, never. She was his first and only at this point haha. He was so amzing in the hospital he did every diaper change and did everything except feed her. I was so upset because I felt like I couldn’t do anything and was upset that he got to do everything.
Fast forward to now. She is 7 weeks old and I do everything. I really shouldn’t complain about this because DH would do anything I asked him to do, so it isn’t like he doesn’t want to help. He just never thinks to jump in and help on his own without being asked. I do get a bit upset at night when I am tired and he is sleeping, but I know that there is nothing DH can help with because DD is breastfed and won’t take a bottle. I think the reason I am upset right now is because all three of us have a cold. I feel like crap and all I want to do is sleep. However, I am getting less sleep than usual because I am also taking care of a little one who is also feeling like crap. Meanwhile, DH is sleeping 12 hours a day with earplugs so that he doesn’t get disturbed by us and is still complainiing about how crappy and tired he feels. I want to yell at him to suck it up, but I don’t because I know that he is not trying to be hurtful.
Anyways, I am curious to know. How much did/does your DH help out with the new baby? I am wondering if what I am experiencing is normal, or if I should kick his butt into gear and expect him to do more.
Post # 2
I would say that DH helps, but I do most things. He works 24 hour shifts and also picks up a lot of 12 hour OT shifts so that I don’t have to work as much. I’m home alone with her a lot, so that means I do a lot on my own. Sometimes he doesn’t get any sleep, so when he gets home I let him nap. He usually asks if it’s okay if he takes a nap first. I also wake up with DD at night because she bedshares and breastfeeds, so there’s nothing he can really do. He does change diapers and stuff throughout the day and sometimes at night. When I go to work, it’s all him from 10-5. I know it is not easy for him, but she is not an easy baby. She doesn’t nap very much at all. It’s hard if he’s been awake all night at work and then has to take care of her alone. I would say that the work is split about 60/40.
Post # 3
MrsMath: I think it depends. Are you on maternity leave and is he working full time? If so, then taking care of the baby is your “job” for now.
That’s not to say he can’t help, but if he is working full time then he needs to be alert and able to function during the day. It’s hard for me to get up for work when I didn’t get much sleep the night before.
I personally won’t expect my partner to do much when I’m on mat leave. He’s up so early everyday that it wouldn’t be fair. Weekends are fair game and if I need some extra help then that’s different. However I fully expect to be the primary caregiver.
Also, my one piece of advice is that no one is a mind reader. If you need to ask for specific help at first, then do it. Who cares how you get the help so long as you do?
If he hasn’t even held a baby other than yours than perhaps he doesn’t know what to do and can’t just “jump in.”
Or maybe because you wanted a baby so bad, he thinks you want to do everything (especially because you missed out in the hospital).
Bottom line, if it was me then I would simply talk to him about it.
Post # 4
With my DD, DH did very little–not because he was “lazy,” but moreso because there wasn’t anything he *could* do.
I breastfed, so feeding was up to me. I did diaper changes and got up all night with her, but the way I viewed it, was that it was my “job” to be doing that. I wasn’t working outside of the home, DH was. I couldn’t expect him to be up all hours of the night with a baby when he had to be to work the next day, working with electricty.
My DH was good for the first few weeks with helping in other ways though (until I got more of a routine established). He would cook, tidy the house, etc. He also spent time with the baby when he was at home too, so I could go soak in the bath and read for a while 🙂
Being a new mom is tough. It is tiring and a lot of work, but when you’re breastfeeding, and your partner is working all day long, I don’t think it’s fair to have resentment towards them for them not helping.
Now, with your DH being a baby with his “man-cold,” I would say my patience would be wearing thin as well. He does need to suck it up, or at least try to look less pathetic. lol
Post # 5
My DH was super dad in the beginning because I was EP’ing and we were having major issues with latching. He did most bottles while i pumped. He was home with us for 5 weeks. Once he went back to work we started doing shift work, i would go to bed at 8 and sleep 5ish hours. His shift was 8p-1a with baby girl then we’d trade off. During my sleep shift i’d sleep in the guest room, during shift change DH & I would switch rooms. About 4 weeks ago DD decided she hated bottles and only wanted to nurse, all fo the time. DH can’t stand the sound of the white noise in our room so now our schedule looks something like this: Mom and baby go to bed between 7-8pm in master bedroom, and dad goes to sleep between 9-10pm in the guest room and sleeps all night. Me and DD are up every 2 hours all night and up around 7 for the day. DH gets up and acts like he hasn’t slept in years, he’s so exhausted because, “he sleeps with one ear open all night to make sure we don’t need him.” Oh please! The past couple of weekends i’ve been giving him baby girl around 6:30/7am after i feed her and going back to sleep for 2ish hours. Its lovely but then DH goes back to sleep after I get up and “take over”. Oh and on the week days, he usually gets home around 6 which is when she starts to cluster feed for bed, so there are literally days where he doesn’t even hold her because she’s attached to the boob when he leaves and gets home from work…
On the other hand, he takes super good care of me. Makes sure i always have my water, tv remotes, phone, etc at hand before he leaves for work and he’ll make me dinner too. We are moving in july and will be staying in temporary quaters when we get there, a 1 bedroom condo, so DH better get with the program and learn to sleep with the white noise on =)
I tend to feel most resentful on the days when we are supposed to be going somewhere and he sleeps in and i have to get myself ready and baby ready all by myself while he sleeps in. Pisses me off.
Post # 6
Hi MrsMath!! 🙂
Just wanted to chime in and say you are definitely not alone in your frustration! Every other mom I’ve talked to (my mama and MIL included) have talked about resenting their partners at some point during the newborn stage 😉 My DH was off for 5 weeks after LO’s birth, and it wasn’t until he went back to work that I was pissed (at myself) for not having him do more while he could (although I felt like he did a lot, like all of the cooking and most of the cleaning). Now he’s away from the house for 15 hours a day most days, so I feel like I can’t expect him to do much. Last week, baby and I were also both sick with colds (sucks!! I feel for you) but DH was on night shifts, so it was really hard–and hard to not be cranky at DH for not being home to help or let me get the sleep my body needed. Since I know I’m the one who take care of baby 24/7 mainly due to breastfeeding and just being home, I’ve just accepted he’s going to be doing so much less than me. I just want him to acknowledge that it’s tough work, and that I deserve a break sometimes too, yanno?!
I am getting nervous for when I go back to work. I find myself getting agitated with him, and it usually ends with me saying, “If this is hard now, how are we going to function and split baby care and household work when I’m also working full time?” Are you going back to teaching, MrsMath?
Post # 7
I breastfed too and took primary care of blth my babies for at least the first 6 months. I alo worked full time. Honestly, I will say the first year is so very, very hard. Especially if you work. But it does get easier and you do get a routine down. Hang in there. You’ll live through it. I promise.
Post # 8
My son is almost 4 weeks old. My hubby works full time and only had a week off when he was born. Still, he does a ton. I’m bf-ing but he does the first night feeding (before he goes to bed) so that I can get a few extra hours of sleep. Obviously I look after DS all day when he is at work, but once he gets home he takes over. I count my blessings! He is definitely kid crazy and over the moon about DS so I think that’s why he is so helpful – he really wants to be hands on.
Post # 9
Thank you all so much for the responses. I am feeling much better and so is DD. We are finally over our colds. It was pretty rough seeing DD sick and cranky and I spent several days in a row being the only one that could comfort her. The good new is though that she has gone to DH today and he was been able to get her down for a nap twice! I am very excited about that.
I wouldn’t say what I am feeling is resentment towards DH because I know he isn’t being lazy, it is just that there isn’t much he can do. I think it is more jelousy that his daily routine hasn’t changed much and mine has completely changed. I love DD so much, but once in a while I miss being able to go to bed anytime I wanted or soak for an hour in the bath whenever I want. Overall though I just feel so lucky that I have this little girl to love for the rest of my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
jackieee: I am going back to teaching in the fall and I will also be taking a class in the fall. (I am also taking a class right now). I get worried sometimes how it will be when I return to work because before DD was born, I worked full time and took care of all the housework and cooking. I did it because I liked it and was able to manage it. I doubt I will be able to do all of it plus take care of DD by myself though. I will need to work out something with DH and probably split up chores on paper as he isn’t one to just do things on his own. I’m sure we will make it work though and DD will be about 5 months old so things should be easier.
Post # 10
ThePrincessBride10612: this is us exactly except for the EBF and I do 99% of the cooking. It’s hard not to get resentful, especially now that I work full time. I didn’t expect us to fall along such stereotypical gender roles. I wasn’t expecting to be the primarily caregiver once I started working, but I guess we got set in our ways.
unfortunately, I’ve blown up at him a few times for not pitching in more and always waiting for me to ask/delegate stuff. If I’m napping he does a good job taking care of him but otherwise our boy would never get his diaper changed, be fed or have his diaper bag prepared if I didn’t do it or ask him to do it. We are making baby steps to improve the balance. Pun intended 🙂
Post # 11
DH does alot with DS and I expect help at night and weekends with baby no 2. When I say expect I mean if I’m exhausted I’d like him to get up and give me a hand. I’d also like a nap on the weekends!! I’m happy to do housework and cooking but if I’m exhausted he’ll know about it lol. Sometimes it just helps knowing I CAN have a rest if needed, not necessarily that I always do.
Post # 12
I think I’m also lucky that dh does dishes and laundry without being asked. If I was working full time I’d tell him he needed to do 50/50 chores. We’re only human and can do so much. Even supermum’s 🙂
Post # 13
Can I also add, while I agree with other mums that being at home with bubs is your “job” at this point, it’s an unpaid job!! You’re expected to be tired and on your feet all day while our husbands aren’t. And while yes, they are bringing in the money, it is not safe to be driving etc while exhausted. It’s ok to ask for help once in a while and say hey, you might not be able to feed bubs but could you keep me sane? Do the diaper and rock her back to sleep? There’s a lot of pressure on mums to do it all. I learnt with my first baby that it was ok to say ‘this is hard. I need help’.
Post # 14
MrsMath: Glad you are feeling better! Have you looked into doing freezer meals for the fall when you go back to school and work? I did a bunch before I had baby and it was wonderful just to pop something in the slow cooker in the morning and have dinner ready when i got home from work. The left overs also made for great lunches. I wrote a blog on it if you want to PM me i can send you the link.
sept22insf: its hard not to get mad at DH for not pitching in. Like he should just KNOW to do it and not have to be asked… but then i remember that i have to remind DH every.single.week. to take the trash cans to the street and it occurs to me that he’s more than willing to help when he’s asked/told what to do. oh husbands =) also the only reason DH has been cooking (something i’ve never let him do) is because he’s on a super strict diet and we are eating separate meals. He’s super good at boiling water for me or preheating the oven while he whips up his meal. I can’t wait until he’s off his strict diet so we can eat the same foods again. He’s SO messy in the kitchen :-/
Post # 15
DH and I were in a LDR when our DD was born (and it stayed that way until she was about 9-months-old), so I did everything for her, for the most-part. That being said, when he was visiting, he definitely took the reins because he felt it was ‘his turn’. He’d get up with her in the middle of the night, walk the hall with her, feed her, change her, etc… getting the extra sleep was a nice treat from time-to-time, lol.