Bringing a new baby home can feel overwhelming, even for seasoned parents. But one mom on Reddit is feeling the pressure, as she tries to balance both her baby’s needs and her husband’s needs — without seeming to take care of herself at all.
In the Parenting subreddit, one mom posted about her struggles balancing being a first-time parent to her 2-month-old daughter and being a wife.
“I am my husband’s wife before I am my daughter’s mother,” she wrote, “but I’m having a hard time finding a good balance.” It seems like she’s saying she wants to think of herself as a wife first, mom second, but at what point does she think of herself as a woman with her own needs?
She explained that her baby isn’t difficult, although she finds it tough “learning the language of a newborn.”
“I feel that when I’m tending to baby, I’m hyper-focused on making sure she’s good and this sometimes leaves my husband feeling unheard when he makes suggestions,” she wrote. “I think this is also making him feel inadequate as a father as most times.” She added that she doesn’t outright dismiss his suggestions, but she does “stick to what I’m doing, leaving him feeling unheard.”
Sometimes it’s hard to listen when someone is making suggestions, but it seems like the problem has more to do with the the husband’s ego — because it gets worse.
“I also have a horrible habit of multi-tasking and trying to make sure EVERYTHING gets done,” she said, adding that this leaves her “not prioritizing what he may need/request.” The mom then said her husband has felt she has “left him hanging when he needs help with baby more than once.” She doesn’t go into specifics, so we can’t say for sure if the husband actually needs help while his wife is busy taking care of other things around the house, or if he is just complaining about taking care of his own baby.
“I know I need to work on slowing down and doing one thing at a time but with lack of sleep it’s somehow more difficult to just chill,” she writes. Then she asks new moms and dads for advice.
“To the new moms out there, how do you still tend to your husband’s needs while tending to baby and making sure you are also taking care of yourself?” she asks. “To the new dads out there, what is something your wife does or that you wish she would do to make sure you do not feel neglected or unheard?”
Reddit did not disappoint, with several dads chiming in. One suggested the wife let her husband know that she cares, she misses him, and she loves being his wife, but clarified that it’s OK to just focus on the baby. “Right now? At this moment? You are a mother first, and he is a father first,” he wrote. “The first year of the first baby takes a toll in the relationship. Almost always. That’s a price we pay for the happiness of a first child. If the relationship is strong it will survive it, and get stronger with time.”
Another dad said, “As a dad, my wife is not obligated to tend any of these so called needs of mine. It my responsibility to ensure all of her needs are met. So, I communicate with her by asking what I can do to help.” This super dad goes on to say he cleans the house “to her standards,” keeps the fridge full of food and easy-to-prepare meals, makes sure she has supplies for her and baby, and makes sure the dog is fed. “This time period doesn’t last forever,” he added. “Before you know it your baby is a toddler, then a child, and you and your partner will have tons of time to get back to each other’s needs as partners. Right now, your needs are as parents.”
Someone else chimed in saying the couple need to work as a team. “The newborn period is tough and exhausting for both of you, you guys need to be working together as a team and not having one person stretching themselves to cater to a grown man’s ‘needs’ as well as those of the baby,” he wrote before clarifying that she should encourage her husband to bond with the baby too. “Good team members listen to each other and rely on each other though, so slowing down a bit to open the communication up and let your husband in to bond with kiddo too is a good idea.
However, a few dads in the comment section agreed that the marriage should come first. One dad wrote, “If the bond of the parents is strained, the children are affected. Not to say ignore the children, but my wife and I make sure our marriage comes first, so that the rest of the family is on a strong foundation.”
“Your husband doesn’t come before your daughter,” a mom added. “Your relationship should be first, but that means both of you working as partners to ensure your daughter’s needs are met. Not you busting ass to ‘take care’ of two babies. Because I haven’t heard one peep about your needs, and right now, they are a bit more important than his.”
I couldn’t agree more. Relationships are important, but new parents should focus on taking care of their baby and themselves first. If your partner demands his needs over your baby’s, then he needs a reality check!
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