Be it for the first or the third time, parenthood can at times cause unnecessary stress between you and your spouse. Here’s how to tackle fights all (new) parents have.
The heightened emotion and severe lack of sleep of new parenthood leaves many of us on the edge and agitated. This is why we tend to take it out on our spouses more often than other. “Physically, parents with a newborn may be suffering from fatigue, largely due to sleep deprivation or the constant care needed by a newborn. When one is physically tired, it’s easier to lose one’s cool,” says Shelen Ang, Principal Trainer from Focus on the Family Singapore. Here are four common fights parents have, and solutions on how these can be avoided.
- “Why can’t you do the night duty this time?” The Problem: You’ve both become so accustomed to playing the new-parent blame game that it becomes a conflict each time someone asks for a night out or swap in diaper duties and graveyard shifts. The Solution: If mum is constantly the one getting up to nurse a fussy baby and as a result spends more hours in the baby’s room than in her own bed, daddy may need to assume a larger share of the night time duties.
- “Can’t the baby sleep in the cot?” The Problem: In the first few weeks when your baby is walking up almost every hour to feed, it’s easier to have the little one next to you in bed rather than having to get up from bed to the cot each time. This will surely disrupt sleep for you and your partner. The Solution: Determine the sleeping arrangements that work best for your family and be flexible about the various possibilities. It is important that couples keep their communication about this subject open. If mummy and daddy are equally enthused about having a new bed mate, that’s great. If not, adjustments have to be made.
- “Can you just do it my way? Your way is wrong!” The Problem: First-time parents can get confused with the myriad of advice out there on the best method for baby care and even rules for confinement. Many conflicts can be avoided if a couple takes time to discuss these issues respectfully. The Solution: Be informed and educated on the various methodologies, and discuss as a couple on what will work best for you and your baby. Remember that every baby and family is unique. Be flexible to explore other possibilities if one strategy does not work.
- “Why do you not want to have sex?” The Problem: You’ve been so busy feeding, changing, and getting to know your baby that you’ve forgotten the most important being in your life – your man. The problem is that your man misses you too much and when he gets no for an answer – it agitates him. The Solution: Husbands need to understand that wives may be undergoing physical discomfort in the days and even weeks after birth. This is especially so if an episiotomy or caesarean was done. Give each other lots of understanding in the early days, and also time to resume your sex life.
Let’s face it, parenthood is a life-changing experience, so you have to be ready for it. While it would take you and your spouse some time to get used to the mummy and daddy game, you need to remember that before anything, you are he/she is your husband/wife. Good luck!