I just had a baby and I'm feeling kind of abandoned by my husband. I've got a baby attached to me basically 24/7 but when my husband gets home from work I basically have to beg him to take the baby just for a few minutes. I don't think he's gone more than 10 minutes with the baby by himself.
He said he wanted kids, but here I am wondering why if he's just going to leave me to deal with everything on my own.
I don't feel like I can bring it up, given that he works, and I don't, but I don't know that I can keep juggling everything by myself.
Any advice from one mom to another?
I'm grateful for any help you can give me.
-Overwhelmed in Lacey
I know how you feel; taking care of a newborn is extremely difficult, and children, in general, tend to remain on your mind even when they aren't actively asking for something. I would definitely recommend talking to your husband though because that's pretty much the only way that you're going to find a solution.
Before you go off, guns blazing though, I want to take a minute and give you a little perspective.
We, as a society, tend to undervalue anything that does not generate income. And while we know that the job of a stay-at-home mom is hard, it can be really difficult for us to overcome societal training. So, your husband is likely coming home, exhausted, feeling like he needs a break, and for a good reason.
Being a stay-at-home mom, I know that you need a break too, but I also know the feeling of guilt you may have over this request. You are likely not valuing your efforts either, despite the challenge, and so you feel obligated to stick it out even though you're literally going crazy.
Both of you likely feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and frustrated by the other.
And while some of that is due to the fact that you have a newborn in the house, the more significant reason is that you're not having conversations around the problem points.
Here's an example from my own life. Angus and I are working with a business coach who sends us daily voice messages. We generally will go through these at night. It's innocent enough, you probably wouldn't think this was an issue. The problem though, is that Angus goes upstairs to listen to his messages in a quiet space, leaving me, by default, with our newborn.
Now, to me, this kind of feels like a slap in the face, but, from a third-party perspective, I doubt he's ever even considered that this could be a problem. He's just trying to do his best, and in regard to business-related tasks, that means going to a quiet space. The problem, of course, is that if he has his quiet space, I don't have one myself. But what's a better solution?
Now, there are things that can be done, such as trading off and doing our work one at a time, but those kinds of solutions can only be implemented through conversations. Because you're already strung out and feeling overwhelmed, these conversations tend to be a little harder to start without them immediately evolving into an argument.
So, if you can, take a minute, breathe, and try to bring yourself to a centered place. Make an intention, something like “I'm going to bring up this topic and have a rational discussion without letting my emotions get the best of me.” Play out what you want to say and imagine how he's likely to react to what you say.
Now, when you're ready, approach your husband and have the conversation.
Things may not go exactly as expected, but this kind of preparation is likely to give you better results. When things start to derail, you'll also be able to respond better with a statement like, “I'm not trying to hurt you, I'm trying to find a solution.”
Always remember that you are a team. You're in this together and you can find your solution.
Hope this helps,
EDITOR'S NOTE: The opinions expressed above are those of Alexis Rae Baker and not necessarily of The JOLT or its staff or board of directors. Alexis Rae Baker is not a licensed psychologist or specialist healthcare professional. Her advice does not replace the care of psychologists or other healthcare professionals.