A stressed-out father of twins is turning to Reddit for parenting advice now that family life has overshadowed his once-perfect marriage.
“I am writing this post to get some things off my chest, anonymously, to fellow strangers on the internet,” he wrote on Reddit’s Am I The A**hole section. “You may take it as a warning, you can give advice, or just laugh at me.”
The dad explained that while he is committed to his children and takes parenthood seriously, “…I wish I could have told my younger self to not do it because I feel like I lost everything. My plans and dreams are gone, my life was reduced to supporting someone else.”
He described a recognizable life for most parents: Constant feeding and diaper changes on no sleep. “…Day and night, nonstop,” he wrote. “Getting more than one hour of sleep between feedings felt like a victory. Eating and cleaning ourselves only by sacrificing even more sleep.”
Now that their children are two and a half years old, life is easier — although they still don’t sleep through the night. “Little kids are crazy,” he noted. “They have enough autonomy to fight you, to refuse things, to break things, but no reasoning at all. And there are two of them, if one sleeps, the other one doesn’t. If one cooperates, the other one doesn’t.”
And there is a power imbalance within the extended family; his wife’s parents live far away, while his are local. However, “After the kids something changed, she hates them now, doesn’t want any help from them, avoids visiting them as much as possible,” he wrote of his wife. “I can either upset my family by not visiting them or my wife by visiting them.”
And the stress affects his job performance. “I don’t get enough sleep, I am constantly interrupted during work and honestly I am not really motivated anymore,” he confessed. ” … Sure, I could rent an office, or just close myself in a room with headphones on, but I can’t leave my wife taking care of them alone – it really isn’t something one person can handle on their own long term.”
But his wife refuses to hire childcare, and he claims that all she talks and thinks about is their children. “I admire her for trying so hard, she wants the best for them,” he wrote to a commenter. “I just wish she would take it easier and found time for other things (including me).”
“Our sex life suffered a lot,” he added, noting that his wife sleeps in the children’s bedroom. “We rarely have time for it and when we do, it is rushed, there is always the threat of baby monitor going off and stopping us at any point. Sometimes I don’t even feel it is worth the effort.”
Watching other families on social media that “appear to handle everything so easily” is hard, he admits. “But on the other hand, I think we appear the same way on the outside. Maybe it sucks for everyone, but nobody warns you.”
His post struck a chord on Reddit, where concern was abundant. “….I feel for you. I have friends who have twins and however explosive it is to add one newborn baby to the family, adding two at the same time is … infinitely more explosive,” someone wrote. “I would urge you to try and not compare yourself to what you see on social media. I guarantee you it’s nothing but a highlight reel of the very sunniest and best moments, however fleeting.”
The same person added, “I mean this with all respect, but has your wife been evaluated for postpartum anxiety or depression?” The disorder — which men can suffer from too — brings mood swings, anxiety, or sadness, reports the Mayo Clinic. Postpartum depression can surface after childbirth and can last up to three years.
Other readers stated it was “pretty odd” and “not normal” that toddlers don’t sleep through the night. According to experts at Stanford Children’s Health, most children start doing so around three months of age (or until they weigh about 13 pounds). Although toddlers, many of whom still need naps, can experience sleep disruption without healthy bedtime routines.
And the post confirmed the decision for some to avoid parenthood: “Who doesn’t love free birth control like this?” and “This reinforced my childfree status.”
There is a lot we don’t know about this family, but we wish them well in finding their rhythm as partners — and as parents.