Jay Z and Beyonce just tweeted pictures of each of them holding little Blue Ivy Carter. And the pictures say it all. They are truly beaming with pride and joy over their beautiful baby girl. A huge congratulations to them! Those of us who have also passed over to the other side know these feelings of overwhelming love and fulfillment as we hold our newborn baby. We also know that, right now, Jay Z and Beyonce are essentially in the honeymoon stage of parenthood. Once they have a few weeks of caring for a newborn under their belt, the king and queen of hip-hop, like any new parents, need to baby proof their marriage.
Parenthood changes everything. Here are just a few of examples:
* As individuals, we are all just stepping out of the caves as we have different hardwired responses to parenthood – she has the Mommy Chip that never shuts off (Is the baby eating enough, how many preschools should I register for, is the baby breathing…?), and he has Provider Panic (I better go make more money…) forcing a laser-like focus on work. Both programs are important for the baby’s well-being, but at times our wires can get a little crossed.
* As a couple, post-baby, men and women view sex differently – she would like to shut the factory down for a while and focus on the baby, while he wants sex, baby or no baby.
It’s important for all couples to baby proof their marriage by, 1) recognizing that everyone goes through these types of changes, and 2) making the necessary adjustments to keep their relationships on track.
So how can Jay Z and Beyonce baby proof their marriage? What is the biggest challenge for these globe-trotting international superstars? For them, it comes down to prioritizing FAMILY TIME. We’ve all seen it before. When a high-profile couple has a baby, they typically divorce within the next couple of years. We don’t even need to include a list. All we have to do is stand in the grocery store checkout lines and find the latest magazines with the word “split” on the cover. Most of these celebrity couples aren’t spending quality time together as a couple or as a family, often times working on two different coasts to keep their careers humming. Next thing you know, they are the next relationship casualty as their child(ren) shuttles back and forth from coast to coast (or from one country to another!).
Why is family time so important, especially for women, during the newborn stage? And why do men and women find themselves at odds when defining what constitutes quality family time?
Women, especially vulnerable and emotionally overwhelmed after having a baby, need to feel that love and security from their husbands, and want to see them fully vested in the baby. When women see their husbands participating in family life, they interpret that to mean they are fully invested in them, their relationship and in the family. When husbands are missing in action, however, women have this subconscious fear that they aren’t going to provide the long-term resources, security and love to them and their babies, and maybe, just maybe they are creating a nest with someone else. So many women we talked to were reduced to tears as they recalled how “disappointed” and “abandoned” they felt during the early newborn phase. Sometimes, the kids are in junior high and they still remember how hurt they were by a nonessential trip their husbands took, or how he behaved as if nothing had changed in his life, or how he never once offered to do a full night of feedings.
But we like to be fair. Like women, men, too, are rendered speechless by the enormity of the love they feel for their new babies. They are delighted by their new role as Daddy, especially when the baby looks like them (which it invariably does). Just check out Jay Z and his new little love of his life who already has him wrapped, big time, around her little finger.
Quite a few new dads told us they cried for the first time in their lives. My husband, Ross, remembers the morning when he first felt a powerful connection to our daughter: “It had been a long, sleepless night, and as I was rocking her to sleep, it happened. She smiled at me for the first time. It was one of the greatest moments of my life.” So let’s cut the men a break. Without a doubt they love their babies, but their love is of the low-burn variety, not the flaming vortex that engulfs their wives. At times, men admitted that they just find newborns, “the inputting and outputting machines” (dare we say it) a bit boring. We didn’t hear of any men carrying baby blankets with them to work, or indeed finding it at all difficult to leave the baby for prolonged periods of time. Their bonding happens, but it just happens in a different way and on a different timetable. When the kid actually walks, talks and throws a football, dads tend to be much more engaged. It’s how they are hardwired.
“I’m just as excited as Paula is about little Avery. I just get excited about different stuff. Paula notices the day-to-day incremental steps. I’m more into the big-picture milestones . . . I’ll be excited about getting her a bike, playing ball. I can’t relate to the baby stuff.”
—Ben, married 5 years, 1 kid
So guys, although you feel the love, we know that it’s just not natural for you to hop on that endless newborn ‘feed, burp, diaper, sleep’ treadmill without looking for the nearest escape hatch. As much as caring for your newborn can be a sacrifice, it’s also an opportunity: it’s your chance to be a hero. Women whose husbands had stepped up to the family plate, spending that quality family time, couldn’t sing their praises loudly enough. “He was fantastic.” “I was so lucky. He was with me every step of the way.” You have an opportunity during this time to foster feelings of love and tenderness and pride in your wife. These are feelings that she will hold on to forever.
Jay Z, that’s so sweet that you wrote a song for your new baby girl. You earned big points, however, you’ll earn even more when you make an effort to spend that quality time with your family. We don’t want to see you as the next casualty on a magazine cover. We want to see you and Beyonce smiling, celebrating your most important achievement of your life – your family. We wish you all the best. :)
Image from www.nationalturk.com