Kate’s post, “Then Comes Baby in a Baby Carriage” encouraged new moms to remember to keep their husbands a priority even when they bring that new bundle of joy home. I wanted to address the unique realities of the new baby from the dad’s perspective.
When Kate first told me she we were pregnant I was thrilled! Even though you can never feel completely ready for the reality of a first baby, I was excited. I knew things were going to change, that we would have new responsibilities and priorities, yet I was looking forward to turning our 2 of us into 3.
After the roller coaster of pregnancy, came that amazing day when our pink and perfect little man popped into this world. Then it happened…. Our little angel came home and . . .
New babies are exhausting! Very exhausting! The first few months of interrupted sleep take a toll on every new parent. It doesn’t take long till “adorable” turns to “ug” at 4:00 am. Exhaustion leads to frayed nerves. Remember that everyone in the family will be a bit on edge and can be quick to anger. If you hear that tone entering new mom’s voice, make sure to notice and give her a well deserved break. I’m sure most couples will have at least one argument in the first few weeks baby is home. Try to remember that sleep deprivation is probably at the root of it!
Breasts Took On a New Function
We are supposed to think “ahh isn’t that cute” seeing our little one breast feeding. Yet most of you are really thinking, “hey those are mine!” We’re smart enough not to say that at the time, but the thought was there. It’s true that baby gets priority for a time. Don’t worry too much, once the baby’s done they will come back to you!
Stuff and More Stuff
Now it wasn’t just the two of us, it was us, baby, and lots and lots of baby stuff. Who knew babies came with tons of equipment? Not only was there stuff everywhere, everything took more time. Simply going to church became a trek with more luggage than most men take on an overnight business trip. This is actually one area that husbands can excel and really help in. Get to know your baby’s accessories! Getting ready to go somewhere? Start packing the baby bag(s). Mom and baby not quite ready to leave on time? Get the car loaded up with all the stuff.
In all of the changes baby and mommy naturally take the lead. All the sudden there is a real physical barrier between you and your wife. As a husband who wanted to still be the priority in his wife’s life it was difficult to adjust to this new reality. I quickly discovered that if I wanted to be apart of my new family I needed to act. Kate might naturally take the lead in the feeding, bathing, rocking, changing, and all the other new baby skills; but that did not mean that I was off the hook. Mom’s seem to immediately become super mom and jump to do it all. It is easy to let them, it is easy to roll over when the baby wants food, or to ignore the smelly diaper, or pass off as soon as they start to cry.
It is easy to see the little one creeping in on your territory, but how you respond now sets the tone for a very long time. Either you get in the game, or you get to be on the sideline. If you would like to get connected with your new baby, and remain a priority in your wife’s eyes then you need to take every opportunity to do something.
Don’t roll over at 4:00 am. Get up first, go and change little jr’s diaper while mom is getting ready for feeding. Don’t just ignore the odor emanating from your little bundle of joy, get in there and change it! Don’t ignore the piles of dirty laundry, (how something so small could accumulate so much laundry I’ll never understand) figure out how to run that washing machine and get moving! Baby needs burped after mommy’s done? Great it’s your chance to jump in and give mom a rest!
Unless you jump in she will do it all. If you sit on the sidelines you will be forcing her to do everything with the baby and around the house. That is going to quickly lead your exhausted wife to frustration and push her away. If you sit on the sidelines a gap is created between the two of you that could end up lasting until your kids eventually move out of the house.
Want to Have Sex Again? Ever?
There are 2 barriers to having sex after baby comes home. First, mommies have to be physically ready, which often takes a bit of time. Second, and frankly more importantly, unless you are helping out she won’t have the time to even think about getting busy with you, she is too busy with all of the other new responsibilities! I don’t care if this is your 1st or your 5th if you want to start “practicing” to make another you better get in the game!