You guys were best friends through the pregnancy and imagining about what kind of parents you guys would become filled you with excitement for the arrival. Your wonderful baby is born and you are thrilled about that, as expected but something is amiss. You guys are not connecting like you used to. Your communication is off, your sexual relationship is suffering and you might start feeling alone in the relationship even when you guys are together. Does this sound like you or a situation you went through with your partner being new parents?
The biggest question moms and dads ask themselves is 'Does he/she get what I am going through?
The truth is, probably not.
A lot of times our family structure and roles even in modern times are very distinct. These distinct roles can create unrealistic expectations and create detrimental affects to our relationships as adults who have a romantic responsibility to each other as well.
Moms tend to be caregivers and dads tend to be providers in most cases and if dad for some reason is not able to provide he faces an even greater hit to his ego once a child is born. If mom does not the fit the role of being put together in terms of the house she feels doubtful of herself.
In most cases, mom is working her ass off at home and dad is working his ass off for the paycheck so mom can have the luxury of staying home - and mom hates that he uses that 'luxury' term. She surely doesn't feel luxurious so why call it a luxury when you have coffee and smoke breaks when all she can do is drink cold coffee and tea? And when she does go back to the workplace she is responsible for everything plus! Dad feels like she doesn't get that he loves his child just as much as she does and hates that he has to work so much and which he could do a better job at balancing this like she seems to.
The truth he is jealous of all the time you get to spend bonding with the baby. He feels left out in many ways especially while the baby is small. He spends a lot of time too tired to interact with the baby the way he wants to or he feels like you will scold him because he cannot seem do things correctly. He feels inadequate. He feels like he is being micro-managed by mom and mom wishes for a break where she doesn't have to manage anyone! I mean why does dad get to make mistakes with the baby and everyone laughs and when mom makes mistakes with the baby everyone judges?
IT'S NOT FAIR!!
Society expects so little of men when it comes to the household and so much of women that it causes unrealistic pressure and expectations . Even though women are seen as emotional beings, we are often told that a 'good' woman is one who runs herself to the ground taking care of her family and suppresses her feeling in order to not be a nag.
Society also puts a lot pressure on men to be providers and successful, that requires that they suppress their emotions, natural abilities to nurture and their need to pause for the sake of the family. When they are not successful they are often shamed without attention paid to their efforts.
This is what leads to miscommunication and misinterpretation that can become emotional burdens that way heavily on what was once your loving relationship. This lack of emotional awareness can lead to resentment between partners, making many couples struggle to find what they had before kids came along. Your relationship just becomes task related without really knowing the needs of each other. While we know many people in task related marriages, don't you deserve to be in a happy one?
If you and your partner are finding that you are now in this spiral that you can't seem to get out I am here to tell you - YOU NEED TO COMMUNICATE YOUR EMOTIONS AND SHOW ACTS OF EMPATHY TO EACH OTHER. Yes, its that simple. When he is sharing his woes don't try to top it or vice versa. Do as much as you can to support each other. Do not fall into the my pain is harder than yours wormhole. Who really wants to win that challenge anyways?
Even though you may feel like you are doing everything, you probably are not, so make sure that you and your partner can communicate what you both are doing. Do not just assume that the other knows exactly what you are doing.
IF you need advice about how to deal with each other, the best place to go is towards each other and not other people. Try as much as possible not to bring other people into your relationship, you understand your relationship best. Of course sometimes it is needed but you guys trusted each other in the past and now it's time to trust each other again if you really want to stay together.
I am not here to tell you that this will automatically save your relationship, what I am here to tell you is that self awareness, mindfulness and the ability to communicate our emotions go a long way. You have to be willing to fight for your family.
He doesn't want to be talked to like a child and you know it - so why do you continue to do it? You do not want to feel like his mom - why does he not make himself more capable in the home? What can you both do to support each other to make the important changes?
You guys are not only parental partners but also romantic and sexual partners. Communicating what is necessary to be satisfied on all fronts is extremely important. Realize what you might be projecting on the other person instead of dealing with . How does the girl with the post-pregnancy body begin to feel sexy again? How does the guy whose wife has to literally tell him how to hold his own baby gain his confidence again?
WHO ARE YOU NOW THAT YOU'VE BECOME PARENTS??
Take the time to understand the complexity and beauty in the answer to that question for both of you in an honest way and you will realize your relationship was just going through growing pains and when you guys see who you've grown into, you will probably find that you love each other more than ever.