Marriage with a Newborn - BT Segment
In case you missed it, yesterday I was on Breakfast TV Montreal, you can watch it here.
think it is totally normal to worry about your marriage or connection with your partner when you start talking about bringing kids into the equation. You hear it all the time; babies change everything...including your relationship. But I found that it doesn't have to. To be honest, my husband and I's relationship/connection has not really changed a bit. Okay, maybe a little, when we sit down to watch a movie I am for sure going to fall asleep, haha. But that has been pretty much the only change.
So how did our marriage stay so strong during the first year of having a baby? Today's post I am sharing exactly what worked for us. Fair warning I am throwing out all the typical "rules" and getting down to what really worked. I am not here to promote forced date nights, weekly marriage meetings or encourage you to "learn your spouse's love language." When researching this topic, these are actual things I came across. WTF is a love language...and what new mom has time for that?!
I am going to break this down into my top four...I don't want to say rules, more like suggestions.
1. Know who is doing what.
Before the baby even arrives sit down and have a serious talk to with your partner. Figure out which responsibilities fall on who and how you are going to make it work. If you are breastfeeding, then you are the one stuck getting up all night. It is easy to look at your spouse sleeping nicely in bed and hate his existence when you are the one getting up every 2 hours. ( I once took pictures of Carey sleeping so nicely and texted it to my sister telling her how much I hated him, haha.) This is why you need a plan. It will be tempting to want your spouse up with you "to support you" by that I just mean having someone there to be miserable with you. But that is not going to benefit anyone. Having both of you tired and grumpy the next day is only going to cause more problems.
My husband and I finally found a good system that worked for us. I got up for all the night feedings but once she was up for the day usually around 6:00 am Carey would take her so I could get three good hours of sleep. Now, that's not necessarily the equivalent of getting up every two hours during the night, but that's the way it goes. Women get the short in of the stick when it comes to sleeping with a newborn, may as well accept it now and not hold it against your partner. If you are not breastfeeding then it may be a bit easier for you, but no matter what it is good to have everyone's roles clearly decided beforehand.
2. Bite your tongue.
I am sure women will roll their eyes when they read this one. But seriously sometimes we just need to pull in the reins. As a new mom, we are tired, we have crazy hormones racing through our bodies, and we are not always thinking clearly. The mistake a lot of women make, they let that be an excuse to stop being a wife. To stop treating their partner like they are an actual human being. There were so many times in the first few months I wanted to lay into the hubby, but I didn't, I bit my tongue. This also applies to when the dad gets the baby dressed, or changes their diaper, or pretty much anything they do that we feel like we do better. It is so so tempting to nose in and tells them how to do it your way (the right way), but don't. Let them figure out their way, if indeed it is not as good as your way they will eventually notice and make the needed adjustments.
In the early days, it drove me nuts watching Carey try to sooth the baby. He was awful at it, I knew I could make him hand her over, and I would have her sleeping in minutes, but I didn't. It took a couple of days but he finally found what worked, and you know what? It was something completely different than I was doing...now, I am not saying it was better, but, well, ya it was better.
If the damage is already done, and you snapped own up to it and apologized right away. Acknowledge that you know that was out of line, or even a little crazy of you. Every man knows that women are dealing with a multitude of hormones at this time and it will be easier for them to accept the occasional flip out if they know you realize that you are being a little kooky.
3. Go to bed mad.
I hate the saying 'Never go to bed mad.' I think that is awful advice. The only people who should take that advice is a well-rested, calm, level-headed human beings (so not a new mom, haha.) I carry this advice with me always, not just when adjusting to being new parents.
Carey does something or says something that pisses me off. Right, when this happens it seems like a huge deal and something that needs to be discussed immediately. But in reality I am pissed, and I am in no way going to be level headed (especially with sleep deprivation, and hormones). Even if it is a serious issue that needs to be discussed this is most likely not the time where you are going to have a civilized discussion about it. So table it. Sleep on it. Come back in the morning with a clear head.
This is easier said than done. So what I do is when an issue arises ( the majority of the time the hubby is clueless that there is an issue) I write it down. I either get on email ( usually if the hubby is away) or I write it down with pen and paper. And I just go to town. I get everything off my chest, everything. By the end of it, I am usually actually impressed with myself. Very structured and organized, I hit all my good points. There is no way it would go that way verbally in the heat of the moment. This next part is key: I then save it to my drafts or put it away for the night, and sleep on it.
In the morning if I still feel the same way then I send it out or just leave it out for the hubby to read. And I try not to be around when he reads it. I had the time to collect my thoughts and think about it; it is only fair that the partner gets that too. That way you will get a more quality and truthful response. But about probably 70 percent of the time the next morning I feel like I was blowing something minor out of proportion and I delete what I had written.
4. Talk your man up!
We all probably have those friends...the ones who "joke" about their husbands but in reality are bashing him in front of all your friends. At first, it seems harmless and even kind of cute. Their comments seem playful and entertaining. But over time, more and more pointed, masking their true feelings towards one another. In the end, this is only going to cause more frustration and not resort to anything positive. Focus on the negative, and that is what you are going to notice. It is way more beneficial to be positive. It starts when we are children; you are praised, so you want to repeat the behavior that caused it. This can be a powerful way to motivate your spouse. Speaking well of your spouse is big in terms of reinforcing their behavior and getting more of what you want.
Some of the best advice I got when we got married was 'Talk about your spouse publicly, positively, and often.'
I think it is crucial to note that this post is not intended for all women. If you are experiencing postpartum depression, in no way should you be trying these silly tips? Instead, you should be seeking help from a professional. Postpartum depression is no joke and should be taken seriously. For more information check out this article the goes over symptoms of postpartum depression and anxiety.