I need some help/advice! My husband helps with cooking and cleaning, but doesn’t help me with our baby (well, not very much at least). He seems to think out son (who is 7.5 months old) prefers me, and so I believe part of it is he’s nervous to be solely responsible for the baby. But it is EXHAUSTING to constantly watch our son and never get a moment to myself. How can I help foster their relationship, and broach this topic with my husband without offending him or making him think I’m not grateful for what he DOES help me with?
One Overwhelmed Mama
The shift into parenthood requires many adjustments as a married couple. There’s a whole new set of duties, and you should know that you aren’t alone in trying to find an appropriate balance. Many couples struggle with similar feelings, and feel overwhelmed as well. There are two ways you can approach this. You can choose to use both of them, or one of them, whatever you are comfortable with.
First before you approach it, think about timing. Even when talking with the nicest most patient people on the planet, timing is incredibly important when it comes to approaching difficult topics. Choose an evening when he is well rested, and in a good mood. Not right when he gets home from work, but when he has had a few minutes to settle in, and relax.
You can approach the situation directly. State that you appreciate all he does, but you are getting burnt out, and need some time to yourself (Use your own words to describe what you are going through). The old rule of using “I” statements is always a good one to hold to. Try to make it more about what you are feeling, and what you need versus what he is not doing. Some examples would be “I’m feeling really exhausted”, “I need help”, or “Sometimes I need time away from the baby” instead of, “You aren’t helping out” or, “You don’t do enough”. This makes the conversation less confrontational, and more to the point.
The other solution is to directly delegate when you need a moment to yourself, or if you would rather take on a household task than a baby duty. Directly ask your husband to bathe the baby, calm him, feed him, etc. I personally recommend having a direct conversation as described above, as well as directly asking for help with certain tasks. If he is uncomfortable or unsure on how to carry out certain tasks with the baby, offer to show him how you do it or help him. Also schedule activities outside of your home such as a work out, walk, or a meal with friends that will allow you to have time to remember the other roles in your life other than motherhood.
Whether your husband is the sole breadwinner for your family, or if you work, you still deserve and need time to yourself. It’s ok to ask him to take the baby night shift sometimes no matter the situation if your son is still waking up at night. It can be a tough conversation to have, but important for your sanity, and your ability to continue to provide your son with the care he needs. I wish you luck!