Q. I just stumbled across your site while almost weeping with desperation. Our baby girl is 9 weeks old and my husband and I fight nonstop. We are both so into our baby and are madly in love with her. And my husband does a lot … cooking, tidying up our home, picking up groceries etc....
This period is short, but it can be savage. As new parents, we often experience fear, extreme sleep deprivation and cluelessness. We wind up bickering more than ever before. It’s like we just entered The Twilight Zone. Why? The answer is simple. There is a newborn in the house.
“Despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, I have not been able to answer . . . the great question that has never been answered: what does a woman want?” —Sigmund Freud
All Dr. Freud really needed to do was spend a day with a mother of two preschoolers and he would have had his answer: we want a partner, not a helper on the domestic front. We want the gender equality we were raised to expect in our marriages and our parenting. And we’d also like some validation from our husbands to go along with it.
“We had our first kid and almost overnight I felt like I went from being an equal to being the lesser partner in my marriage.” —Becky, married 8 years, 3 kids.
“Why am I the only one in the house who knows where the pacifier, diaper wipes, and sippy cups are? Where the hell has he been living for the last three years?” —Rachel, married 6 years, 2 kids.
In the course of writing about this topic, we realized women tend to keep score more than their husbands. There are two very good reasons for this:
Q. I tried your "Training Weekend". I went away for a weekend in hopes of showing my husband just how my day goes when he is away, but he just packed up baby and himself and headed to his parents for the entire weekend.
Imagine, if you will, an entire week or even a month going by without having a conversation with your husband. Imagine a day spent together without as much as a "hello, how you doing?" from him? Or going out for a meal together and having him read a book/read his phone with scarcely a glance in your direction, as you chew your food in silence. Can you imagine how hurt and rejected you would feel?
If it has been a while (let's say weeks) since you and your husband have had sex, it's possible that he might be feeling as ignored and rejected as you would feel if he had not spoken to you for weeks.
How many times have you heard/read the advice,
“You need to make time for yourself …”
“You need to put yourself first …"
“When Mama is happy everyone is happy ..”
You have possibly even said it yourself to another tired-out mama. And, of course, it’s all good stuff, but really somewhat meaningless if you don’t know what really and truly recharges you and makes you happy.
Google “happiness and having children” and you’ll find a lot of depressing studies that seem to conclude that we have a national epidemic of miserable parents on our hands. While you may not be miserable, we have all, as parents, had those days when we want to run out the front door screaming and hitch a ride to anywhere that Barney, Dora and friends cannot go.