Do feelings of resentment ever creep into your relationship?
Being a parent is an all consuming job that can both fill and empty your cup multiple times a day! It’s no small task & it takes an army. Although my husband is a wonderful partner & active father, there was an incredible learning curve after we had our first bundle of joy. It didn’t take long for the resentment to start mounting.
I felt like every aspect of my life had changed, and the daily demands of being a brand new mom far exceeded what I saw my husband doing. After all, his life didn’t look that different. From my perspective, albeit clouded by a few postpartum hormones, he woke up, went to work, came home, ate dinner and went to bed — just as he did before we had our son.
My day to day no longer remotely resembled life pre-baby. Cue the resentment!
So my husband and I came up with 5 parenting responsibilities to share to help keep resentment at bay:
1. Trade mornings on the weekends
In the beginning, trading night time wake-ups are difficult — especially if you are breastfeeding. However, you can trade off who starts the day on Saturday and Sunday morning, or whatever mornings you both are home. When the baby was really little, and I was still breastfeeding, I would do the Saturday morning feed, and then my husband would take him until he was ready to eat again. I would get to sleep in an extra two hours and it made all the difference in the world! Then on Sunday mornings, I would get up with the baby and stay up with him and let my husband sleep in a few extra hours. When you sleep better, you think, feel, and treat each other better.
2. Share night feeding responsibilities
Even if you have chosen to breastfeed, night feeding responsibilities can be shared. Although it didn’t happen for every feeding, it was incredibly helpful when my husband would bring the baby to me, and then take him back to the bassinet or crib once we moved him there. This didn’t leave me completely responsible for the nighttime madness that is newborn stage. Sharing this responsibility helped to not drive a wedge of resentment between us.
3. Mix it up
It is easy to fall into a pattern of who takes on what household responsibilities. We found just mixing these up really made a difference. He would come home and cook and entertain the kids and I would go outside and do yard work. I would rotate the laundry and he would put it away. Just mixing up the chores gave us both a break from the monotony of life and made us more grateful for each other.
4. Say “Thank You” and mean it!
A lot of times it’s easy to get in a habit of quickly thanking your spouse at the end of the day before turning off the lights and going to bed. We experienced an incredible shift in our marriage when we really took time to really thank each other for all the things that were done that day. Instead of a quick “Thanks, babe,” try “Thank you so much for doing the dishes today; being able to come home to a clean sink really made my night!” or “I can’t thank you enough for taking the kids on a walk tonight. They needed fresh air and I got a quiet house to reset in!” This is such a simple way to make a massive impact!
5. Give each other glimpses of life before kids.
Before we had our babies, I loved to run…well maybe not “loved” but I did run quite a bit. Recently I have made a commitment to get back into it, but it wouldn’t have been possible without my husband’s support and willingness to watch our kids while I train. The freedom of a 20 minute run does more good for my mental health than a night out with the girls. It reminds me of life before the littles and who I was before I became a mom.
Giving each other just twenty minutes a day can really change the trajectory of your week!