When you are married or living with your partner and you ask him to take out the trash the conversation goes something like this:
” Hey babe, can you take the trash out before you leave in the morning?”
” uh yeah”
” Are you going to remember? It’s really smelly!”
” Yes babe, I’ll do it.”
If you are wise you don’t push the issue any further and you head to bed. You wake up and walk to the kitchen with your fingers crossed….
“DAAANG IT” (insert your favorite expletive here) “He forgot to take out the trash before he left!”
Now you might be a little ticked off, but you put on your big girl panties and take out the trash because you don’t want to come home to a house that smells like yesterday’s tilapia and steamed broccoli. You send him a text.
He isn’t as sorry as you would like him to be, but things happen maybe he was running late.
Now Fast Forward this same scenario and this time add a 5 month old baby girl.
“Hey Babe, can you take out the trash before you leave in the morning?”
“Uh yeah, didn’t I just take the trash out yesterday. Why is it already full?”
” BECAUSE we have a BABY who runs through 10 diapers a day, can you please just take it out?”
Again you wake up in the morning and find the trash didn’t get taken out, this time your reaction is a little different…
” I can’t BELIEVE this clown did not take out the trash! He knows I was up ALL NIGHT nursing the baby and now instead of making myself breakfast in the TWO seconds I have before she wakes up, I have to take out the trash.”
So you walk ( or stomp) out to the dumpster and you come back to hear your baby screaming and crying because she was alone when she woke up. You rush to wash your hands and you immediately pick her up to console her. You take a seat and begin to nurse, which makes you hungrier, so much so that your body begins to shake. After 20 minutes your baby falls back asleep (because that little SUCKER was up all night). So you decide to hold her while she naps because if you put her down she might wake up and be cranky for the rest of the day. So you wait…
Now you are stuck, starving and tired. Your exhaustion and hunger are telling you that your partner is untrustworthy, unsupportive and that he takes you and all the work you do for granted. So you whisper these words to yourself…
“I should leave this dude, I’m doing this all alone anyway”
I know that sounds drastic but it’s a real sentiment.
That teeny little problem grew exponentially when you added in a baby. Something as simple as trash has women all over the world re-evaluating their whole relationship. But before you call your lawyer… Remember to your partner, it’s still just a trash bag that he forgot to take out.He didn’t know you would be hungry, and you would miss breakfast. So when you call him with an attitude the size of Mt. Kilimanjaro it might not go over too well.
This biggest difference in these two situations isn’t actually the baby, it’s YOU! Your needs have changed drastically, you’re tired, you’re hungry, you’re stressed. What was once a small annoyance is now a large aggravation that is amplified because of the underwear he left on the bathroom floor and dirty dishes in the sink.
The best advice I can give you is this: ” To everything there is a season….a time to plant, and a time to harvest.”
Having a new baby puts many relationships in a grueling yet beautiful season. The key is to remember that it’s just a season and it won’t last forever. The first two years after a baby is born is NOT an accurate reflection of your entire relationship. In fact a good portion of that time is designated solely to nurturing baby and not your relationship.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
You and your partner will have to learn what it really means to work together as parents, not just as spouses. So give yourself some empathy; cry, take a nap, order take out. Explain to your partner your new needs as best as you can. Even after your explanation he may not fully understand. Remember he doesn’t experience baby the way you do. You are the mom, the primary caretaker and Mother’s Day is a huge deal for good reason. So call your mom, aunt, other mommy friend, or whoever else and take whatever help you can get. This will be one of many seasons when your support system will have to live up to its name. Take the help and when its time to harvest remember to share the love and support you received with the next mom. She’ll need it just as badly as you did.