Allegedly there are people in this world who try to “save” a relationship by having a child. I wonder for how many couples this actually worked. I can only say that things got a lot harder. The complete change in lifestyle is something that affects new mums the most – or so I thought. I played the “I’m way more exhausted than you” game many times and I can say it didn’t really help us become a “parenting team”. The first few months are the hardest. A new little person just joined our home. While I had known he was going to move in for months my husband just saw me get bigger and bigger.. perhaps not fully realising what it meant.
I started to resent my husband for going to work and also for going out with his friends for a casual beer. I resented him being able to have a coffee and eat his lunch by himself in one sitting. In my eyes he had the perfect deal: Beautiful cuddles with a beautiful baby for a few hours a day and also “me” time. I was jealous. The thought of a baby actually furthering his career while it did collateral damage to mine upset me as well. I had never considered myself a a stay at home mum but that’s exactly what was lying ahead of me. Cook dinner, do the washing, look after the baby – repeat. My need for reinvention was strong.
Being both frustrated we had more and more “surface disagreements” over who didn’t do the washing / take out the rubbish etc. It got pretty difficult as we both thought we were pulling 100% of our weight in this parenting game. We stopped being a team. So I initiated a few steps – admittedly with some prompts from him:
1.) Put. Down. The. Phone
Now, this is a hard one. I wanted to keep in touch with my friends and also start a business and both of these things need attention and the best time is when the baby sleeps. If you’re a lucky mum your baby sleeps at around the same time in the evening (I’m that lucky) and I know from 7pm work starts. I try to squeeze in as much as I can but I forgot about my husband.. I now make sure that at least on 2 or 3 evenings I hang out with him and we just relax / watch TV or have a proper sit down dinner together. It helped a lot!
2.) Let it go..
There are times when the house could be cleaner, the washing could do with some attention and cooking is somewhat of a distant memory. I say that’s ok and I try not to blame my husband for being his usual self who is helping a lot but is also a little messy. I sometimes feel like I want to tidy the house because it makes me feel like I have a tidy mind but to be honest it got very tough and I had to prioritise. I chose a happy family and my business over a clean house but it’s not always easy to justify it to myself that I can’t do it all.
3.) Loosen the grip
As a mum you have more flexibility. Yes, it’s true that I always have the baby with me but it’s also true that I can still see my other mummy friends. My husband can only see his friends on the weekend and in the beginning I didn’t really want him to go anywhere. I realised that he still needs his time with his mates and I think he is happier and more present when he’s home because of it.
4.) Remind yourself why you’re with him
I feel that over the months (years?) I’ve let a lot of my frustration out on him. Snappy comments or being a bit short (or being passive aggressive anyone?) have happened more often than not at times. I had to really remind myself that we are both on the same side. We are in this together and it was our choice to have a family. Every day we choose to do it together and every day I think that’s a great thing. I try to appreciate him more for who he is and how he supports our relationship and our family. I try to remind myself of the reasons why we are a couple in the first place (doesn’t always work but give it a go – it helps now and again).
4.) Involve him in your life
Tree Hut Village (a parent to parent baby equipment hire platform) was his idea initially and somewhere along the lines I took over – completely. I think he felt a bit sidelined and focused on his day job. Fair enough. However, I wanted to celebrate with him but his enthusiasm had vanished. I decided that by involving him more we could become a team again and have something else to talk about than housework and our baby. So I did and he came up with gold nuggets like the algorithm for setting the rental rates so they work for both long term and short term rental. He is now fully behind it again which makes life a lot more exciting for the both of us (we are genuinely happy about every single positive / encouraging comment and celebrate every single person who signs up). We can’t wait to use the website ourselves for when we travel in the near future and to put it to the test!
Let me know your experiences! Was the transition into parenthood easy for you as a couple?
Eva from Tree Hut Village