The expectation is that you’ll both be immersed in a delightful and cosy baby bubble, snuggling your tot and beaming at each other across the breakfast table. The reality is you’ve got a sneaky newborn spew down your back, seven rice bubbles in your hair and a very unsympathetic and now strangely monstrous partner who is frankly lazy AND mean AND must be stopped.
Okay, we’re exaggerating, but we wanted to talk about some very common relationship snags and solutions – and to let you know that you’re in good company with these six upsetting pressure points.
1. Your sleep
BEFORE you have a baby, you hear talk of the sleep deprivation, but you're fairly certain that a) you are prepared to tough it out and keep a smile on your face or b) YOUR baby will not be THAT kind of baby.
AFTER your baby arrives you not only are dead certain that your baby IS THAT KIND OF BABY, you also know that your partner is getting WAY more shut-eye than you and they must pay the price in snotty stares and exhausted shrieks - at least every now and then.
Part of parenting is ensuring everyone's needs and health are considered, so find some time to talk about this when you're not quite so distraught - and listen to one another kindly and take steps to provide some temporary relief, whatever you think the reality is.
2. Your baby’s sleep
Not only is your sleep a bone of contention, your baby's sleep will be too. You'll go back and forth with your partner hotly debating who overstimulated or mis-swaddled or breathed too loudly near your wakeful tot.
Your mutual exhaustion can take this blame game to a whole other DEFCON level with many slammed doors and pillow forcefields springing up in bed between you.
Babies do sleep in fits and starts during that first year. Avoid pointing the finger at one another and try to spot - and repeat - the circumstances that create sleep success, instead
Who is doing more? Whether you're sharing the parenting and out-of-home work evenly or it's split in a stay-home parent and out-to-work parent way, we can guarantee that rumblings about who is more overwhelmed will spill over into cross words and wild eyed accusations.
THIS. IS. NORMAL. (And also upsetting, obviously. Hugs to you both). If you can't get to the bottom of this problem, try chatting to a counsellor about your respective responsibilities and feelings of overwhelm, and see if the three of you can troubleshoot a fix to what is often a logistical glitch.
Crippling fatigue coupled with the physical effects of birthing a human - and possibly breastfeeding - can make coupling-up as enticing as accidentally grating your fingertips into that Mac and Cheese you WISH you had the energy to make.
A respectful approach - and plenty of communication can help you to understand one another's feelings and keep the balance in check.
Note that coercing your partner or deliberately making them feel guilty is NOT the best way forward
Money. Ugh. Is there ever enough? I think the answer is no.
Combine one half of a couple being out of the workforce with the cost of all the cute baby things you need and you are guaranteed to a) not have enough and b) possibly accuse your partner of having a secret Swiss bank account because WHERE IS ALL THE MONEY GOING?!
Aside from earning more money, you can also get more of a handle on the money you have. Try connecting your bank account to an app like PocketBook to see what's going where and budget better. Meal planning and fewer visits to the shops are also excellent ways to make what you have go further - and avoid these fights.
6. Parenting techniques
There are eleventh billion websites and books which will helpfully tell you how to raise your kiddo.
Couple that with ideas from family and friends and people you meet on the bus and it's fair to say that each parent will be exposed to a tonne of different ideas on "how to baby" In an attempt to better parent, they may then bring those ideas home.
This can disrupt the status quo, feel like a criticism AND spark some very upsetting arguments. Go carefully with each other - and your baby - and discuss ideas on raising your baby together to see if you a) agree and b) can strike some middle ground if you don't.
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