Since our baby was born almost 5 weeks ago, I have experienced a lot of irritability/hostility toward my husband. This really disturbs me because we always had a great relationship/marriage... as in better than any other I've ever seen. We have always been best friends (together for about 7 years, married for about 1 now, and friends for longer) able to talk anything out and have never experienced any serious issues or breakups in our relationship.
He is a great father and husband. He is a full time student and also has a full time job (although he has been laid off and will be back at work early next month). He is working his way through a tough engineering program. When he gets home, he does things around the house that need to be done and often makes dinner for us (he is a cook). While I spend more time taking care of the baby than he does, he does also help with the baby when he isn't doing these other things.
I have a full time job, but I am on leave right now, and I am not currently in school. This means I stay at home and care for the baby. I also try to get things done around the house when I can, but it depends on how much free time the baby lets me have on a given day.
During the nights, if it's a school night for my husband, I do wake him to begin feeding the baby while I pump (I am an exclusive pumper) and then I take the baby and finish feeding her/doing her diaper/putting her back down to sleep and let him go back to sleep, since he has to get up at 6:30 am. If it's a weekend and he doesn't have to get up early, he stays up longer with me to help. The thing is, he CANNOT WAKE UP. He has always required more sleep than me and sometimes sleeps through his alarm. I have never understood how someone could sleep through his alarm. While I am extremely tired and hate having to wake up in the middle of a dead sleep as well, I do wake up and try to get things done as quickly as possible so that we can go back to sleep. I sit there pumping and watch him nodding off as he's feeding the baby. The bottle will drop and all I can do is obsess over how she is probably gulping air and going to be gassy. And I'd get irritated, too, because he'd stop feeding her a million times to reposition or burp her or just give her a break before checking to see if she's still hungry. I'm thinking/saying... "There is no way she isn't still hungry. Just offer her the bottle and see instead of giving her a break and watching her behavior." Just because she starts to fall asleep during a break doesn't mean she is full. She will probably wake us up again in an hour now." I almost always end up feeding at least some because he'll ask me to finish while he handles putting up the milk/washing pump parts and, honestly, I feel like I am better at feeding and know that she will be full and more likely to go back to sleep if I do it. Then, while I am burping her and putting her back down to sleep (which can take another 30 mins), he almost always falls back asleep. Granted, there is really nothing left for him to be doing at this point, so I sometimes don't feel justified for prodding him back awake. If I'm feeling upset, though, I will wake him back up just because I have to be up and I don't feel that it's fair. If he does this both times that we have to wake up during the night, he'll be getting at least an hour's more sleep than me (and again... I have no problem with this if it's a school night. I just look forward to extra help/company on weekend nights). I can only prod him awake so many times, though, before I just get irritated and give up. I guess, sometimes, I just feel resentful when he is sleeping right next to me and I'm still awake, especially if I'm having trouble getting her to go back to sleep. I don't necessarily want him to do anything... just keep me company. But I feel selfish for waking him back up just to keep me company. Anyway, I can get really irritated during the night and everything seems really dramatic... then during the day, I'm not sure it was as big a deal as I made it out to be. Know what I mean?
Then there are other non-baby issues. Sometimes he comes off as pretentious to me, now. And obsessed with the quality of intelligence. He'll use unnecessarily big words in conversation and it's kind of embarrassing/annoying. Just because you use big words doesn't mean you're more intelligent than anyone else. And he is intelligent... not everyone can get through the engineering program that he's doing... but it's not attractive when it's flaunted so much. There is something to be said for modesty. He has, for years, "joked" about being really smart. For instance, there was a time recently where he told his brother that he didn't think getting married at a courthouse was a smart idea and his brother got pissed at him. I told him that maybe he should have just acted happy for him and kept his opinion to himself. He "jokingly" said something along the lines of how everyone should always hear what he has to say. I feel like I used to be able to tolerate his "joking" better than I do now. Now I feel like he must believe the things he says, at least a little. When someone says something so much... there must be some truth to it. Other people start to take you seriously and maybe YOU even start to believe it a little. I guess I am just afraid that completing this program is going to give him a fat head.
When I first met him, he had no self esteem whatsoever and I helped him to build it. He would say things about how he thought no one would ever love him and he'd be alone forever. I wanted to be with him. I helped him realize his potential. Now I feel like it's the other way around. It's like he has TOO much confidence. I would never ask, but I bet he thinks he's smarter than me. There is more to life than intelligence, anyway... like being happy and healthy. i have to admit than intelligence is a quality that I value, too, but I don't value it as much as I used to.
I don't know how to talk to him about this. I don't know if what I'm feeling is legitimate/justified or if I am just hormonal and bitchy. It feels like I am PMS'ing constantly, now. When I used to PMS, I'd be really bitchy or something would bother me and seem really important at the time, then it would go away after i was done PMS'ing. It was really confusing because I never knew if what I was feeling was real or hormone-induced. That's what this feels like.
Anyone else feeling this way? Before the baby, I felt nothing but warmth toward my husband. Now I feel annoyed far too often, and I don't know why. It's scary and I wish it would stop.
Any advice? If you think I am being bitchy and out of line, please feel free to say so. It won't hurt my feelings and I need to know if you think it's me or him.
Sleep deprivation plus the stress of caring for a new baby can test anyone's relationship. I think that I honestly didn't realise how much the childcare would end up being predominantly MY responsibility, I really thought it would be pretty much equal, and it was a bit of a shock.
My husband is a great father and helps out as much as he can but the fact is that he has to go to work so I'm the one LO spends MOST of his time with, therefore I get to know his little quirks and what settles him quickly so it becomes easier for me to do it meaning that it becomes even more unequal.
The BF obviously plays a part as there's a lot he simply CAN'T do, but he would never think to sterilise a bottle after giving EBM, or to wash a bib etc so these things all come down to me.
At first it really annoyed me and I felt bad about it as it was overwhelming and I felt he was getting away with minimal disruption to his life, whilst mine was turned upside-down.
Now I see that this was unfair - his life had changed massively too but his role was harder to define which wasn't easy for him either. As time has gone on it's become much easier as I feel much happier being the main carer, and actually feel a little sorry for OH that he doesn't get to see all the fun stuff with LO that I do sometimes. He's become more confident at handling LO's needs so it's easier for him to help (although I still have to point things out ).
I think my main advice would be to try to tell your OH how you feel in a calm way (if possible!) as often I think men feel sidelined and don't know how to help. Hopefully after you have a chat about it you might feel better
Girrrl...I could've written that post. I'm in bitch mode a lot of the time towards my husband, especially this week. I think it's sleep deprivation combined with hormones. I feel like he just doesn't do as much as I do or even understand the strain on me as a new mother.
Hun, I was a COMPLETE witch in the early months. My LO had some minor health problems that made him cry loads in the day + restless most of the night. So OH could cope at work we slept in separate bedrooms for about 3 months. I hardly saw him, but, when i could claw back some sleep, go out for dinner, I was a bit more like my old self. Do you find you're always feeling like this, or are there times you're feeling differently?
Thank you so much! That's reassuring... although I'm sorry you guys are going through/have gone through the same thing, too. It sucks.
Yeah, I did talk to him about the nighttime issues. He got a little defensive and said that he didn't think he was getting enough credit, but the conversation did calm down and I guess we decided that he'd try harder to stay awake and I'd try harder to be more understanding. I need to remember not to give up on that... try to wake him up with kindness rather than hostility. Haha.
I haven't talked to him about the pretentiousness thing because I'm scared to and I don't know if it's a real or made up issue. I've kind of been waiting for him to say something so that I can say "That sounds so pretentious" rather than have to just bring up the topic out of the blue... haha.
Oh, and Eva, I wouldn't say I always feel this way. Either that or it's to varying degrees. I'm happier during the day and more irritable at night, but sometimes I have bad days, too.
It's funny how, before you have a baby, you're real practical and think, "Okay, my husband will be going to work AND school full time and I'll be home, so it's only fair that I care for the baby more than him." Then the baby comes and you do that and feel resentful anyway.... She isn't a chore, like everything else. She is our baby daughter, and I resent him a little when I feel like I'm doing more. But it makes me feel like a bitch at the same time because he works so hard, and I don't want to be unreasonable.
'I sit there pumping and watch him nodding off as he's feeding the baby. The bottle will drop and all I can do is obsess over how she is probably gulping air and going to be gassy. And I'd get irritated, too, because he'd stop feeding her a million times to reposition or burp her or just give her a break before checking to see if she's still hungry. I'm thinking/saying... "There is no way she isn't still hungry. Just offer her the bottle and see instead of giving her a break and watching her behavior." Just because she starts to fall asleep during a break doesn't mean she is full. She will probably wake us up again in an hour now."
I could have written the above myself! I also have a good husband that pulls his weight but when he doesn't do things right I can feel myself getting really irritated and worked up. My husband never seems to hold the bottle right and stops feeding him far to quickly and I lay there thinking grr the babys gonna be up in another hour as hes still hungry!! And of course if I say something he gets annoyed. I've always been a placid person and we never had any problems before.
I definitely think it's sleep deprivation/hormones causing this. It just feels like constant PMS!
I know exactly what you mean, me and OH have worked out a lot in the past few months but its taken a while and I never thought I'd have to put so much energy into my relationship, I thought it would all go towards the baby! Things do get better
Oh, and Lisa, I know exactly what you mean about knowing LO's quirks and so you take care of him/her because it's easier and so it makes things unequal. During the first week after our LO's birth, I stayed home and he had to go back to school, so I learned a lot about her that he didn't have the chance to learn. Then I would try to give my husband tips when he was caring for her and he would take offense or defend the way he was doing things, which in turn irritated me. No need to get defensive... I am just trying to help. He is just really sensitive about the topic of the baby and being a dad (understandably, I guess).
I never would have guessed that having a baby would have affected our relationship so much. I know that sounds stupid. It's just that we have never ever had trouble and were always rock solid. I can't even imagine adding a baby to a rocky relationship! It would sink it, for sure.
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