Author Topic: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)  (Read 7875 times)

davef

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What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« on: March 17, 2017, 01:07:39 PM »
I need some help, Is my time management that bad or is my wife being unrealistic?

Hello, My wife of 7 years and I have a 9 month old son.
We live in Oregon for my job, and have no family and no close friends within 1000 miles.
I work 40 hours a week, plus I am on the road 7-10 days a month.
Yesterday, my wife said to me, I need more help with the baby, but she refuses to seek out a sitter of any kind, she expects me to be able to relieve hear, at least 12 hours a week on weeknights and weekends she told me.

Yesterday, I woke up at 6 showered, was ready for work by 6:30 (when she and the baby woke up) I made a bottle, coffee and changed the baby then handed him off to her, I then made breakfast while she fed the baby and I left for work at 7:30. I cam home at 4:30 (she was away at a doctor's appointment) I mowed the grass, took out the garbage, walked the dog, getting back around 6, when she had just arrived home. I told her she could cook dinner and I could watch the baby or the other way around. She chose to watch the baby. I made dinner, we ate, she fed the baby and put him to bed around 8 meanwhile I cleaned the kitchen and picked up the baby toys. She comes  down and says she needs more help. She had the baby all day again. Whet the heck am I doing wrong?   

swick

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2017, 01:18:03 PM »
This doesn't sound like you are doing anything wrong, it sounds like there is more going on with your wife. Is she feeling overwhelmed? Is she suffering from post-partum, or loneliness and is missing her family? Is she missing her time with you? Is she loosing her sense of self?

Are you communicating regularly and checking in with each other and making sure both your needs are being met outside of caring for the baby? It sounds like "I need more help with the baby" is how she is articulating something much deeper, and maybe she doesn't know exactly what it is, but that is something easy to point to and share.

It is possible she is so tired and overwhelmed that she is not seeing and appreciating what you are doing. Also, how do you each show and receive love? (Look up 5 love languages) If you are an acts of service demonstrator and are showing your love by doing all of these things and holding down the fort, and she receives love best by physical touch, quality time, gifts...she might not feel like her needs are being met.

It sounds like you need to have a date night one night soon when the babe is in bed and go through some of these things with her. Don't accuse or presume anything, just ask and be open and take the time to explore both of your needs. This is a tough time, even tougher without a social support network. Good luck!

ysette9

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2017, 01:20:32 PM »
Oh jeez, this is such a hard time in life all around. I don't think I can tell you what help your wife needs; you two need to sit down together in a low-stress environment (when the house is clean and the baby is asleep and there is nothing else pressing to be done) and talk it out. I'd recommend starting by asking her what specific help she wants. Really listen to her. See if you can get a schedule or list of responsibilities written out and agreed upon by both.

I have (sort of) been on both sides of this. It is really physically and mentally exhausting to be home with a baby all day because you NEVER get a break. If you do get a break from caring for the baby, that is the time you shower, dress, cook, clean, or maybe have 30 seconds of time doing something you used to do so you can remember what it feels like to be an adult. When on maternity leave my favorite time of day was when my husband came home from work and I could hand the baby off. "Here, take this, I'm going on a walk."

The flip of this was when I went to work and my husband stayed home with the baby for his paternity leave. I was tired from a full day of work (plus pumping!) and would come home and jump at the baby because I missed her and my husband was ready for his own hand-off. The hard part for both of us is the total lack of a break. Even now with a toddler we have to focus on having separate "me" time for each of us (more important for him).

I think the best suggestions are going to come from her, but you could suggest something like you taking the baby on Saturday mornings while she gets out of the house (or you and the baby go someplace). Can you in any way cut back or eliminate the travel for now? Being the parent at home while the other goes off for work can be really challenging, again because you NEVER. GET. A. BREAK. Yes, work can be tough, but it is honestly easier than being at home with the kid. If I want a little break I can at least go to the ladies' room and have a pee without someone crying or wanting to stand next to me to watch. :)
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ysette9

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2017, 01:23:29 PM »
I'd also recommend treading cautiously on the subject of getting help with the baby. It is an easy answer for those of us on the outside to say "duh, hire a baby sitter for a few hours and go get a massage/watch a move/have a date night!" but it can be really hard for a new parent to let go and see that as a viable option. A break from childcare is restful and rejuvenation when you have total trust in the caregiver. Anything less than that is a recipe for additional stress. That is why I recommend you suggest YOU taking the baby out for part of the day (or sending her off) because you are the best person to care for her offspring.
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chemistk

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2017, 01:28:03 PM »
Your story sounds similar to what my wife and I were working on after our son was born (and for that matter, the month or two leading up to it). Becoming a stay-at-home parent is a major paradigm shift. It's isolating, frustrating, tiring, and sometimes can seem completely unrewarding. There's also an increasingly negative perception around SAHP. Being a SAHP is a lifestyle change that both you and your wife have to agree upon and it sounds to me like you guys aren't completely on the same page.

As I said, what you describe is similar to what I have experienced. I relocated from my family and friends a few states away to live with my now wife, and we live fairly close to her family. We found out we were pregnant about two months after our wedding, so it was an emotional period for both of us because our plan was to wait a few years and enjoy each other's company. Most of our friends and family close in age are still single, and even fewer have children so we're the odd duck - our nights and weekends have never been spent at bars, out with friends, or traveling. They've been mostly consumed by child rearing and traveling to see family.

After our son was born, my wife started to feel a little too isolated. Our son wasn't exactly thankful for the round the clock care and she had few opportunities to change it up. It manifested itself in frustration and anger toward me because I "get" to leave the house for work every day.

You probably won't be able to fully reason with your spouse at this point. Hormones are still high and at this point in your child's life, you're just starting to see the payoffs (laughs, giggles, crawling, etc.). Unless you feel you are being emotionally abused, don't take what your partner says to heart but don't blow it off as the mad ramblings of a crazy new mom. The good news? Your time management is perfectly realistic, but your attitude is not.

I suggest having an honest conversation with your wife (and have somebody watch the baby to eliminate the distraction) about your life right now, what each of your expectations are, and what you see as an ideal balance. I'm going out on a limb here, but it sounds like your wife is actually looking for a reliable amount of time that she can choose what she wants to do with - even if that's reading a book for 2 hours while you take care of the LO. The bad news? You'll probably sacrifice a little more than you're initially expecting - but just remember that this stage is only temporary and soon you'll be wishing you had all this time back when your child/(ren) are grown.

Oh, and I also  suggest your wife talk to her doctor about PPD if she hasn't yet. It's nothing to be ashamed of, and it doesn't just affect women immediately after birth - its effects can last for much longer.

ltt

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2017, 01:31:06 PM »
Female here.  You are doing nothing wrong.  Taking care of an infant/soon to be toddler is a lot of work.  Does your wife work, or is she home all day with your son?

Could it be that your wife is not the mothering type?  Does your son not nap?  If he does nap, does she lay down with him to take a nap also?  That can help a lot because she can get some downtime also.  Does she want to go out with friends?  Does she want her family to visit?

Does she need help with the baby, or help with the housework?  How active is your son?  Some babies are very active, and it can be hard to get any type of housework/errands done.  Does she go out with him--take him for walks, etc. during the day.  I'm sure it can probably be somewhat lonely for her.  Does she go to any moms' groups, play groups, etc.?

For what it's worth, when we had our first born, who never went to sleep until late at night no matter what time I put him down to sleep, I remember saying to my husband--we won't get a break until he's 18.  Those words rang true, although we have 4 kids total. :)

bogart

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2017, 01:34:05 PM »
Congratulations on your new baby, and I'm sorry you and your wife are struggling with the things you describe, though unfortunately I think that doing so is totally normal.

Is your wife at home with the baby?  Does she have opportunities to get out of the house without the baby?  Staying home's not what I chose to do, but if I had it would have made me totally nuts -- your wife may feel as I would have, even if this is the choice she made and the right (or best available) choice for your family.  I adore my son, but the nonstop neediness of little ones drains me -- I'm very much an introvert and need to have times/places where no one can ask me to do anything or want to interact with me -- those places are hard to find when you're responsible for an infant (this is true no matter what care arrangements you make, of course, but that much more true for a SAHP).  No idea if your wife may have similar needs, but thought I'd post in case that may shed some light on some of what she may be feeling. 

GL to you in sorting things out.  In my experience, it does get much easier and better as the littles get older, FWIW.

Cranky

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2017, 02:09:30 PM »
It is a huge, huge change. I agree that you have to work out what will work at your house, for you guys, but I think that a lot of times it's that feeling of always, always being on call that is so hard to get used to.

What would have helped *me* at that stage is having my dh be in complete charge for some particular time, which would have allowed me to sleep in or go out or just eat a meal in peace. So think about that - can you be the Head Parent and Bottlewasher for some specific chunk of the weekend? I've known people who each took one day of the weekend, and also people who swapped off mornings/afternoons.

Iplawyer

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2017, 02:34:42 PM »
Okay - there are some options here.  And don't tell me they aren't Mustacian.  Hire a weekly housekeeper to clean and do the laundry.  Hire somebody to do the lawn.  Costco has rotisserie chicken (if you aren't vegetarian) that is a meal pared with potato salad and veggies.  That will make a very easy, quick meal a couple of times a week.  I've been known to do this 4 times a week.

One day of the weekend - you take the baby and tell your wife to go out and do whatever she wants.  On the other day of the weekend you both do as little as possible except focus on each other and the baby.

On one weekend night - you need to go on a date with each other.  This means you are going to have to hire a sitter.  It is important for your relationship to do this.  I know it is your first baby - but 9 months is old enough to be baby sat. 

Continue to do what you do now.  Except instead of mowing the lawn or whatever you do as soon as you get home - take the baby for an hour and give your wife that time to spend on herself.  I think you'll find that if you do this daily she'll begin to feel rejuvenated. 

It is a very difficult time.  You'll get through it.  If she refuses to get childcare help - get help to do the other things so that she can exercise or read a book during nap time instead of racing around the house doing laundry and housework. 

Good Luck.

ysette9

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2017, 02:56:32 PM »
I agree about outsourcing stuff right now, unless you are in a very tight financial spot. We have cleaning ladies who come every 2 weeks; our landlord hires gardeners to take care of the yard. We did a ton of Google Express/Amazon deliveries and even some Instacart grocery deliveries. We definitely lived on very simple meals such as Trader Joe's frozen Boeuf Bourguignon with instant whole wheat couscous and a bag of steamed vegetables (everything done in 10 minutes, only 1 microwave needed!). Now is not the stage for pinching pennies; no shame in doing what you need to do to stay sane and married! In a year from now you can think about saving money. Things definitely get much easier as the baby gets older, so do what you need to in order to get through this stage.
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twojabs

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2017, 03:23:47 PM »
ok not everyone will agree with me here, im sure, and a lot of folks will try to solutionize too but it doesn't sound like you want (need) that.

i have to say i've had the same conversations.

sometimes nothing will suffice when your wife is tired and exhausted.  yeah it feels like you are out to work loads and help out loads, but you are (by the sounds of it) playing an equal part in a partnership.

i am sorry, but you'll have to put up with this in the short term.  she probably things your life hasnt changed much and hers is fundamentally different (and neither of you realise that your reason for being has changed)

continue doing what you are doing - help as much as you can, but appreciate that sometimes everything isnt good enough, and she probably feels that everything she does isnt good enough when in reality, you are both fine.

the only thing you both need: time to adjust to a massive change, and some good communication and cuddles.

CheapScholar

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2017, 03:42:36 PM »
The first few years are rough.  Dig in your heels and get through it.  My advice:  don't have any more kids. I'm an only child and I don't have any void in my life for not having siblings.  My son just turned 8 and it's a heck of a lot easier than 5 years ago for sure.  Yeah, I have to drive him to soccer practice and do Lego league and stuff.  But at least he wipes his own ass now and can shower himself. 

I love being a parent but having infants just plain sucks. 

davef

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #12 on: March 17, 2017, 05:06:32 PM »
Thanks for the great replies so far. We read 5 loce languges togeter last year. Great book. We still talk about it. Yes i think she has ppd, she has refused to see anyone. Yes she is a stay at home mom now, and though she is good at it she has cabin feaver. I regularly relieve her on week nights and weekends and suggest she go out and take abreak, but she rarely does. She usually does laundery or other chores.

mm1970

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #13 on: March 17, 2017, 05:20:37 PM »
Okay - there are some options here.  And don't tell me they aren't Mustacian.  Hire a weekly housekeeper to clean and do the laundry.  Hire somebody to do the lawn.  Costco has rotisserie chicken (if you aren't vegetarian) that is a meal pared with potato salad and veggies.  That will make a very easy, quick meal a couple of times a week.  I've been known to do this 4 times a week.

One day of the weekend - you take the baby and tell your wife to go out and do whatever she wants.  On the other day of the weekend you both do as little as possible except focus on each other and the baby.

On one weekend night - you need to go on a date with each other.  This means you are going to have to hire a sitter.  It is important for your relationship to do this.  I know it is your first baby - but 9 months is old enough to be baby sat. 

Continue to do what you do now.  Except instead of mowing the lawn or whatever you do as soon as you get home - take the baby for an hour and give your wife that time to spend on herself.  I think you'll find that if you do this daily she'll begin to feel rejuvenated. 

It is a very difficult time.  You'll get through it.  If she refuses to get childcare help - get help to do the other things so that she can exercise or read a book during nap time instead of racing around the house doing laundry and housework. 

Good Luck.

Pretty much this.

It's not that you are doing anything wrong.  You are doing a lot.  Pat yourself on the back.
- You work
- You do chores
- You take care of the baby
- When at work, presumably you get to eat and pee on your own schedule, and maybe zone out now and then. Especially when traveling.

Your wife, assuming she's a SAHM:
- She's at home with the baby all day
- Her eating, showering, and bathroom schedule is dictated by the baby
- When the baby is napping, she's probably doing chores
- If she wants to go for a walk, she has to take the baby
- You get home and help, which is awesome.  She gets to choose whether to cook or feed the baby. 
- But.  She doesn't get any time to herself. She is still cooking or feeding the baby.

My kids are 11 and 4.  I still struggle with this from time to time.  I have a FT job, and when I'm at home it's chores.  My kids are STILL AWAKE when I go to bed, so when do I get "down time"?

Well, I get some in the morning (I'm an early riser, and I go to the gym).
Now that kid #2 is 4 (it gets easier) - I get a few hours a week on weekends to run with a running group, or meet a friend for coffee.
I walk on my lunch break with a friend 1-2 x a week.

Each individual's needs - need for quiet time, need for sleep, need to regroup and recharge - it doesn't go away just because you have kids.  I can't speak for you (don't know how much sleep you get, don't know how much quiet time you get while traveling) - but it's hard when you don't get a break.

Back when the kiddos were 6 mos-2 years old, I took them to the park on Sat mornings to play while my husband played tennis (Sunday morning was my day).  It was FULL of dads and kids, giving their wives a break.

(I totally have a cleaning person, sorry not sorry!!)

moof

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2017, 05:35:55 PM »
You are probably not doing anything wrong.  Your wife is probably not being unreasonable.  Parenthood is hard on a good day, not all days are good.

A few suggestions:
1)  Find ways to encourage your wife to get more "mommy friends".  Try to plant the seed that good mommy friends can trade-off watching 2 kids to relieve the other (normal 20+ years ago, gone as a concept today).  It is good for the kid and the mom.  Expect this to mostly fail, even though it would be better for the kid and mom.  We probably spent $2-3k so my wife could go to Gymboree for about a year and a half, which hurt my soul at the time.  Once the kid was old enough to do drop off "classes" she got some needed mid-day breaks for running errands solo to decompress.  More valuable than the kids socialization is that she ended up with about 4 solid mommy friends out of it.  Now they get together weekly at rotating houses for "play group" and she uses those friends for occasional baby sitting  (and returns the favor).  It was worth every penny in retrospect, and is a major source of sanity for my wife now.

2)  Actively take the kid on weekends for a day.  Tell your wife by mid-week you are taking the kid on Saturday for daddy time (I take mine to the Oregon Zoo or OMSI a lot, but you are farther out of town).  Gently discourage her from joining.  It can be hard.  Even when my wife needs some alone time she has a hard time not wanting to go along and making it a family adventure.

3)  Be sympathetic and appreciative, even when it seems unfair.  Tell her often how good/amazing of a mom she has been.  She quite likely doesn't feel you are acknowledging how much difficult work it is to raise a kid.  Yes it sucks that you have to work all day and she doesn't see or appreciate fully how hard and important that is for the family, sadly you have to suck that up.  In her mind at this time she probably sees you as being able to escape for 9 hours a day to a heaven populated by adults who can communicate and wipe themselves.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2017, 05:41:10 PM by moof »

Fish Sweet

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2017, 08:39:08 PM »
Can I just chime in and say that I love all of the compassionate, nuanced responses in this thread and all the people willing to share the stories of their own trials and tribulations as new parents and what they have to do to balance out the crazymaking job of looking after tiny people with keeping them and their SOs sane?

New Dad, you are doing a great job.  Being a parent is hard hard work, and I wish you the best of luck in getting on the same page as your wife and finding a work/baby/life balance that works for you both.

milliemchi

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #16 on: March 17, 2017, 10:31:40 PM »
Your reference frame is OK, you are doing a lot, and pulling your weight. It sounds like you are both putting in a 100%. But - 100% every day is often not enough with a little kid. It is also extremely exhausting to do it day in and day out for 9 months straight, not to mention 3-4 years that it will likely be needed. It is true that working, travelling, house work, chores, cooking, etc., is a tiring life without a break. But serving a baby/toddler all day long is also a tiring life without a break. It just sucks. When I had to sit and play with the baby, and just watch it, and just do that, and not be able to do anything else during that time... it may sound relaxing, but I could only do that for ~30-45 minutes tops before going stir-crazy. The worst part for me was not being able to do things I like doing for myself, such as thinking. It completely drove me nuts, which made it even more difficult to focus on anything, and it just went like that in circles.

I don't know your wife, but if there is some PPD suspected, it is possible that her 'executive function' is compromised. Executive function is the part of the mind that is in charge of planning, organizing, etc. For example, for me it was difficult to track/use time. I may have been given two hours to do what I want, but I would have problems coming up with what to use it on. It's a little bit like not being able to wind down quickly and focus. So, I may do laundry, because that at least is a productive use of time and it doesn't require thinking. Making calls and interviewing sitters, on the other hand, takes a lot of executive function. So does deciding if you're going to join a fitness club, and which one, and will you do it monthly or purchase a year at a discount, and which classes are offered, and how can you synchronize those with your schedule, and will you be able to do it every week, and now it's another thing to worry about, and... and... and... it's easier to just do the dishes. Of course, sleep deprivation alone can compromise executive function, so there's that.

If the above is a problem, your wife may never be able to verbalize what she wants from you, because the general feeling of deprivation does not come from one specific thing. It's all-encompassing. That's why my first reaction was 'no, you don't need to sit down and talk about how to share the responsibilities, because it's likely that this is not a time allocation problem'. If you sit down to talk, talk about how it is hard for both of you, how you see her work hard, how you appreciate it, etc., and make sure to mention all the work you do in some simple statistic. You don't want to appear to be competing in who-has-it-worse, but it's important to mention how you're trying to help. She may honestly not see all that you do, but may appreciate it if you point it out. Objectively, you are probably both overworked and need to outsource things, but you first need to make her aware of the former, and then suggest the latter. Ask for specific ways that you can help, but don't be surprised if she can't come up with something coherent.

In the meantime, it would probably help if you could tell your wife that every Saturday from 1-4p, you will take care of the baby, and then take the baby out, or better yet, kick the wife out of the house. I imagine it might take her a few weeks to get used to the fact that there is a regular 'me time', and to be able to make a plan for it that doesn't include chores. Depending on your relationship, it may be helpful to brainstorm a  list of several things she would like to do in that time, and then pick one for that week. Then nudge her firmly to stick to it, because the decision has already been made. If she feels guilt about the choice to not contribute all the time (or else why wouldn't she agree to hiring a sitter?), it will help if she's not the one making that choice, or at least not on the spot.

Also, look into getting a mom's helper instead of a sitter. 'Helpers' stay with mom in the house and don't provide caregiving, but can cook a bit, clean a bit, launder a bit, and most importantly, sit down and entertain the baby for a while, while mom can do something else (like think :)). These are typically tweens and teens from the neighborhood, they don't cost much, and you don't have to trust them enough to leave the baby with them unsupervised.

I wish you good luck. Statistically, having a kid is the biggest hit a marriage takes. If you can stay on the same side of the problem, it will go a long way. Don't get into a blaming and resentment game. If she starts it, do not engage. Offer acknowledgment, offer to help, ignore personal attacks, and it will eventually pass (when kid is bigger). Think loving thoughts, even if it's not the natural reaction, and do not engage in conflict. Slowly work toward getting housework and childcare help. From your post, you seem to be still doing fine. This paragraph is just in case. Good luck!

Flyingkea

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2017, 07:19:01 AM »
+10 to what milliemchi said.

I'm going to share some of my experinces in the hopes it may be helpful.
I may have had PPD, definitely have Post Partum Anxiety (or generalized anxiety that became much worse after having a baby.)
I was also in a similar boat to the OP - when bubs was 26 days old we moved interstate to a place where I didn't know a single person.

For a long time I resisted seeing anyone (What if this ends my career? What if they think I'm abusive and take my baby away?) and when I finally did gather up the courage to see someone, it didn't really help. If you want, I can post some things that I think I could be useful in dealing with things like being all touched out,  PPD/A etc.

I also found, getting out of the house to be a challenge so I joined a local mothers group,where I decided that I was going to be there every week, rain, hail, or snow. So I did. And it was good for me to be able to get out there and meet people. I also went to the weekly baby sessions at the library, and eventually signed up for swimming, so that I had things to look forward to, and plan for each week. If there is a nature reserve, park etc, maybe you both could go for a walk there - use a stroller or babywear. Getting outside often did my mood a world of good, and if bubs has had a fussy days a change of scene can help. Going for a walk together can be good for your relationship too.
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marion10

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2017, 07:38:00 AM »
If you think your wife has PPD- what can you do to get her some help- is there a trusted person- mother, pastor who can talk to her? Can you do some research and make some phone calls? Can you make an appointment for her ? Or dial the phone and hand it to her?

Rural

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #19 on: March 18, 2017, 09:39:02 AM »
 It sounds like you're traveling 25% or more. I'm sure that's beneficial to you and your family financially, but with the new baby that's hard, hard, hard. It might make sense to talk over whether you could step into a different role and whether that would be worth pursuing.  When you're on the road, she is "on" 24/7 with no backup, and you're missing out.

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #20 on: March 18, 2017, 08:04:48 PM »
What about a gym membership with child care? I did that when my daughter was an infant.  It was great!  We went in the mornings, and I could work out and have a shower without having to worry about her.  It was enough time for myself that I could care for her the rest of the day without feeling overwhelmed.  My husband was not helpful at all with infant care.  It was 98% on me. 

milliemchi

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #21 on: March 18, 2017, 08:10:02 PM »
Our YMCA takes in little kids for 2h each day. You just have to be in the building. I've seen women bring kids and then do work, study, or whatever.

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #22 on: March 18, 2017, 08:13:09 PM »
It sounds like you're traveling 25% or more. I'm sure that's beneficial to you and your family financially, but with the new baby that's hard, hard, hard. It might make sense to talk over whether you could step into a different role and whether that would be worth pursuing.  When you're on the road, she is "on" 24/7 with no backup, and you're missing out.

I kinda have to agree with this comment.  Our child was a horror show . . . no sleep, constant crying, plus we didn't really know what the fuck we were doing so constant worry.  Just being able to hand off the little terror to your partner when you've reached your breaking point is very important.  Not having that pressure release valve (even just some of the time) might be causing some serious coping problems for your wife that you're noticing when you are around.

Don't get me wrong, it sounds like you're helping out a ton.  The first couple years of having a child are really miserable though (although things get significantly better as they get older, so there is light at the end of the tunnel).

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #23 on: March 18, 2017, 08:24:18 PM »
We used to do family hikes when the kids were tiny. We had a baby backpack, and even though the kids were with us, getting out as a family was good for everyone. Maybe a change of scenery and something to look forward to with the family will be rewarding to your wife, and give her a sense of the family you guys are building, rather than feeling like she is trapped and alone.
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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #24 on: March 19, 2017, 12:01:40 AM »
Can you seek out a babysitter?  Ask colleagues for recommendations and make initial contact?  If your wife is tired and overwhelmed and depressed it's hard for her to get the ball rolling, herself (and there's no reason why it has to be her doing all the searching.  She has to approve of the person but someone else can do the asking around and initial communication.)

Once you find one, have them come over as a mother's helper for a while (your wife is still there but MH tends to baby so your wife can eat a meal in peace, have a shower, read a book, relax on the couch).  This will give your wife some breaks and a chance to get comfortable with the MH.  Hopefully this will progress to your wife napping or going out on her own when the MH is over.  (If she refuses this, hire the MH to help you when it's your turn to watch baby, so you can recharge and do more to relieve your wife.)

If you're planning on more children try to have more supports in place (even just paid help and friends) before you have more kids. 

Hang in there, it gets easier as the kid(s) get(s) older!

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #25 on: March 19, 2017, 11:34:04 AM »
I have a 4 month old, going through this as well. "You get to work all day!" Lol, yes, yes I do.....do ya want me to quit?! I don't actually say this, just how I feel. But I get it, my boss is absent, hers.....well she's her own boss till the baby barges in like a micromanaging boss on a whim needing food, change, or company. Ours is fairly angelic compared to some I've read about, still tough when you got dinner on, a baby wailing away and a stack of clothes still not folded....and still need a shower.

We have family, but they are largely absent-coming by to check out the baby, not to help out. Really annoying. Having to pick up the house every other weekend just to entertain effing blows.

I do laundry, dishes, and cook. I do as much as I can. The one thing that has helped is......time away from the baby. Momma got her hair done this past week, I got a taste of baby's fun and she got time away from everything. It was very small and wasn't really supposed to be about time away from baby, but it turned out really well. Planning more time like this, maybe Zumba classes. I'm thinking about paying her mother to help us out.

Get her some relaxation time. Doesn't have to be elaborate, hell "Hey honey, I'm gonna get the brakes worked on at Walmart. Taking little angel with us to wander the aisles for a few hours." Plan this so you have most major chores done Friday (laundry, dishes, etc.) and promise to bring dinner home makes this actually stress free on her part.





milliemchi

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #26 on: March 19, 2017, 08:52:29 PM »
I'm rereading the original post. She asks for 12h of relief on weeknights and weekends. That's 1.5h on workdays, and another 4.5h between Saturday and Sunday. It really does not sound like much. It's really reasonable, and should be doable. If you're traveling 1/4 - 1/3 of the time though, then I can see it becoming a problem. You need another person to take over helping out when you're not around.

Another thought... If she is getting up every night with the baby, maybe you can swap night duty over the weekend. My husband and I slept in different rooms for many many months. I did the night duty, and he was able to sleep. (I cannot understand why people with poor sleeper babies still all share one bedroom, and then both people are tired all the time. I have friends like that.) I would explore letting your wife get a good, long night's sleep once or twice a week. Sometimes just that does wonders. It's not going to be enough if she's chronically sleep deprived, but it will definitely help. I don't know if you are expected to schmooze or what while traveling, I don't, and I find travel for work very relaxing. I have all this free time from 6-10p where I can do whatever I want! And I'm all alone! And I can go to bed as early as I want! And sleep through the night! And Yey! If you are also experiencing such little moments of bliss, it would be only fair to share some with your wife.

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #27 on: March 19, 2017, 09:42:17 PM »
http://www.scarymommy.com/pressure-of-parenting-marriage/
^parenting is hard on a marriage period and I hate these blogs

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #28 on: March 19, 2017, 10:23:05 PM »
It sounds like you're traveling 25% or more. I'm sure that's beneficial to you and your family financially, but with the new baby that's hard, hard, hard. It might make sense to talk over whether you could step into a different role and whether that would be worth pursuing.  When you're on the road, she is "on" 24/7 with no backup, and you're missing out.
For sure going for days solo is hard as hell.  The first couple times I was gone for just a few days caused my wife huge stress, taking about a week to get back to "normal".  Even working a weekend for work was a major hit.  I changed jobs to a less psychopathic employer.

It gets better.  By time our kid was about a year and a half things got much better.  Now at 4 it is no big deal to be gone for a week.  Finding a way to change up work for less travel for a year or two would be worth pursuing if you could.

milliemchi

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #29 on: March 19, 2017, 10:32:50 PM »
My husband has rightly observed that children need to be outnumbered. When your wife plays one on one, the kid, sadly, wins.

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #30 on: March 20, 2017, 01:21:18 PM »
I'm rereading the original post. She asks for 12h of relief on weeknights and weekends. That's 1.5h on workdays, and another 4.5h between Saturday and Sunday. It really does not sound like much. It's really reasonable, and should be doable. If you're traveling 1/4 - 1/3 of the time though, then I can see it becoming a problem. You need another person to take over helping out when you're not around.

Another thought... If she is getting up every night with the baby, maybe you can swap night duty over the weekend. My husband and I slept in different rooms for many many months. I did the night duty, and he was able to sleep. (I cannot understand why people with poor sleeper babies still all share one bedroom, and then both people are tired all the time. I have friends like that.) I would explore letting your wife get a good, long night's sleep once or twice a week. Sometimes just that does wonders. It's not going to be enough if she's chronically sleep deprived, but it will definitely help. I don't know if you are expected to schmooze or what while traveling, I don't, and I find travel for work very relaxing. I have all this free time from 6-10p where I can do whatever I want! And I'm all alone! And I can go to bed as early as I want! And sleep through the night! And Yey! If you are also experiencing such little moments of bliss, it would be only fair to share some with your wife.

It doesn't sound bad. And when I am home I can mostly pull it off.
He sleeps 7:30PM-5:30 or 6AM 4 days out of 5.He normally only wakes up in the night when he is sick, which has been a lot lately...

Perhaps I could search out a baby sitter, but I have played this game before. I would bet a thousand dollars she would find a reason to dismiss the person I pick within an hour. She wants to control the decisions, but she doesn't want to make the decisions. I liked your first idea on executive function. that seems to fit.

We have actually had a few acquaintances offer to watch our son but she has trust issues and wont hand him off. She wants family to do it, and family is 1000 miles away.

I am not on the road more than 25%. I was on the road 67 days last year, and that is counting all 20 travel days (days I was coming or going, even though I was home part of the day) 
And no, there aren't any options for me with less travel in what I do.

I would happily pay for gymboree. In fact I did. by my wife said he gets sick every time she goes and cancelled the membership. I have offered to do a gym with a daycare, she said no.
I offered for her to put him in the YMCA 2 days a week, but she again said he will get sick all the time.



Warlord1986

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #31 on: March 20, 2017, 01:42:08 PM »
Holy shit. Your wife is acting like my mom. Particularly the lack of trust and irrational behavior.

She needs counseling. Get on that shit asap. Do not wait.

milliemchi

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #32 on: March 20, 2017, 01:51:55 PM »
It doesn't sound bad. And when I am home I can mostly pull it off.
He sleeps 7:30PM-5:30 or 6AM 4 days out of 5.He normally only wakes up in the night when he is sick, which has been a lot lately...

Perhaps I could search out a baby sitter, but I have played this game before. I would bet a thousand dollars she would find a reason to dismiss the person I pick within an hour. She wants to control the decisions, but she doesn't want to make the decisions. I liked your first idea on executive function. that seems to fit.

We have actually had a few acquaintances offer to watch our son but she has trust issues and wont hand him off. She wants family to do it, and family is 1000 miles away.

I am not on the road more than 25%. I was on the road 67 days last year, and that is counting all 20 travel days (days I was coming or going, even though I was home part of the day) 
And no, there aren't any options for me with less travel in what I do.

I would happily pay for gymboree. In fact I did. by my wife said he gets sick every time she goes and cancelled the membership. I have offered to do a gym with a daycare, she said no.
I offered for her to put him in the YMCA 2 days a week, but she again said he will get sick all the time.

I think we can rest the case: it's not you, it's her. (At least as heard from your point of view.)

Without some kind of intervention, it seems the least painful option would be to get a mother's helper. As for intervention, I would seriously consider calling her mother and asking her to come over for a week. I've been in situations like your wife's, and I call that getting all tangled up in it and unable to untangle yourself. But multiple people she trusts, over a period of time, may soften her up enough to allow a short trip to the gym childcare room. Then you can see how far you get from there. It is really an intervention, like for an alcoholic or such. Make sure her mom (or whoever is willing to make a sacrifice for your wife, and whom your wife trusts fully) is on the same page, and understands fully the gravity. Not being able to hand off your kid to anyone (but you), ever, under any circumstances, is not healthy - not like "it's bad for you", but like "you are not healthy, you need treatment". PPD has ruined many a woman and relationship. It's not good for the kid either. SSRIs are good for anxiety, but may create big problems in people with underlying bipolar disorder. Thread carefully, but definitely do something.

And for the record, little kids are supposed to get sick all the time. That's how they build immunity. They have to go through some number N of viruses, whatever is in your surroundings, and they will. You want them to do that before your wife goes back to work. The worst thing is starting a new job, and then taking a week off every month to care for the kid who is exposed to germs for the first time ever. Or worse yet, when that happens as the kid starts school, and then misses out on instruction. When my kids started proper multi-child daycare (~1.5y) they were indeed sick all the time, for about 6 and 2 months respectively, but that is as it should be. After that, we've had 1-2 illnesses per year, very tolerable.

mm1970

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #33 on: March 20, 2017, 02:01:08 PM »
Quote
And for the record, little kids are supposed to get sick all the time. That's how they build immunity. They have to go through some number N of viruses, whatever is in your surroundings, and they will. You want them to do that before your wife goes back to work. The worst thing is starting a new job, and then taking a week off every month to care for the kid who is exposed to germs for the first time ever. Or worse yet, when that happens as the kid starts school, and then misses out on instruction. When my kids started proper multi-child daycare (~1.5y) they were indeed sick all the time, for about 6 and 2 months respectively, but that is as it should be. After that, we've had 1-2 illnesses per year, very tolerable.

Ahhhh this is what makes it so tough! 

Our last 2-3 winters have been brutal - BRUTAL, what with norovirus and colds and such. 

My older kid is 11.  He got sick as a baby a lot, but now is mostly healthy as a horse.

My younger kid is 4.5.  He didn't get sick much as a baby (was in a much smaller daycare), but has been making up for it the last two years.

Between elementary school and daycare, I have turned into a germophobe.  Literally.  I pretty much stopped going to the gym between Jan and April.  If it's not the pool, where I don't have to touch ANYTHING except the shower handles, then I don't go.  For school functions?  One of us goes, the other stays at home with the 4 year old.  Why? He touches EVERYTHING and then touches his face or picks his nose.  No joke, last winter, FOUR ROUNDS OF NOROVIRUS.

So.  If the kid has been sick a lot - I get it.  Wife bears the brunt of the sick kid.  In my house, my husband does MUCH more of the care of sickness - I mean, he does the laundry and cleans up the barf.  When our little guy has a cold and can't breathe through his nose, he wakes up crying every hour.  And, if I wake up?  I'm up for hours.  (I had 2 days last week, no sleep.)  Hubby can go back to sleep.

I can totally see a bit of the rationality on the kid and sick thing, especially if she's the one who has to pay the price.  Both in taking care of the sick kid, and in eventually getting sick herself.

milliemchi

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #34 on: March 20, 2017, 02:03:24 PM »
Just to add... If and when you decide to push for some kind of intervention, expect your love and loyalty (and other things, such as concern for your son's well-being) to be questioned. You will then doubt yourself. The best thing to do to protect yourself from that is to read up right now on PPD et al. and get some kind of grip on the basics, other mothers/fathers' experiences, etc.

When talking to your wife, do not get into intellectual arguments, for these are not rational problems in search of rational solutions. Stick to care, love, concern, and trying to do whatever you can to help. Remember you love your wife, and that she is going through a challenging time, and that she needs help. In sickness and in health, etc.

Goldielocks

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #35 on: March 20, 2017, 02:23:38 PM »
Just stop doing as many of the non-kid chores, and use that time to take the kid with you out of the house.   She needs a break from the kid.  This will be followed by the need to talk to an adult sometimes, but right now, she just needs a break.

If you get a gymboree or gym membership, great.  You use it to take the kid there sometimes during your time.  Sometimes go to the park. Sometimes go to get donuts (for you), Sometimes go to the hardware or IT store, where ever you want.   Note, the reasoning about kid getting sick all the time is much less strong when it is also someone else taking the kid there.

e.g.,   plan to take the kid for 1 hour right after you get home (go for a walk or whatever).  If you, like me, are hungry and tired after work, bring a snack.  Ask your wife to have kid and bag ready to go at the same time each weekday evening, so you can leave within 15 minutes of getting home.

Then, take the kid for a full 8 hours on one of the weekend days.  Go to the zoo, the pool, see a relative, go to the gym, enroll the kid (when older) in a Saturday toddler program,  whatever. Break it up into two 4 hr time slots, if you have a kid that is picky about naps in a specific place.   After a while ask your wife if she wants to join you for family time.

You can do the cooking, etc., in a short time when you get home after your walk with the kid.   Learn how to make meals in 15 minutes or less (they aren't great meals, but they work, and the point is that your wife should not have to do house chores in this hour unless she wants to).   Continue to do a bit of housework, such as commit to 1 hr of steady cleaning on the weekends, at a set time,  and also do 15 minutes after dinner (or before you leave for work) everyday.

davef

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #36 on: March 20, 2017, 02:57:39 PM »
" and whom your wife trusts fully"
Ahh, I believe we have gotten to the crux of the problem.
That is definitely not her mom, or her dad, my mom or my dad, or ever since we got robbed 2 years ago me.( I left the back door unlocked) She trusts her sister more than anyone else.

There was a point 2 years ago when just about every one of her friends, her sister, and me was telling her she needed help and she refused. She got better for awhile on her own but now is getting worse. Stress seems to set her off. 

milliemchi

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #37 on: March 20, 2017, 03:01:49 PM »
Tell us a bit more about how she 'needed help', and I think we will be able to conclude that this is not a childcare problem you have.

milliemchi

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #38 on: March 20, 2017, 03:07:43 PM »
BTW, I'm sorry to hear that. I've dealt with someone who would not get needed help, and it is hard. It can be destructive, but ultimately, I was powerless to change things. It could have been better for everyone involved, but you've got what you've got, and just make the best of what you have. Do take care of yourself. You'll have to be the healthy one.

davef

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #39 on: March 20, 2017, 03:09:17 PM »
She never trusted her parents, they lied to her a great deal growing up, she didn't trust my parents after they divorced each other. Our house was robbed, and she stopped trusting everyone, including me. We lost several friends over it, she even accused one of robbing us. Our relationship struggled, we went and saw a therapist once (i had to literally drag her there) and she hardly said a word.

I've done my best since then to re-establish trust. And at times it seems like its working, at times not.

davef

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #40 on: March 20, 2017, 03:13:53 PM »
BTW, I'm sorry to hear that. I've dealt with someone who would not get needed help, and it is hard. It can be destructive, but ultimately, I was powerless to change things. It could have been better for everyone involved, but you've got what you've got, and just make the best of what you have. Do take care of yourself. You'll have to be the healthy one.

I need to do a lot better at that.
after floating between 210-lbs and 240lbs for 15 years I've gone form 215lbs to 250lbs in the past 18 months. That is why I try to cook healthy and exercise as much as possible. I don't have time for either of those anymore it seems.

I want to do a lot more walks with my son but my wife insists its too cold and he will get sick. She had me put him in a snowsuit when it was 50 degrees last time.

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #41 on: March 20, 2017, 03:20:05 PM »
When our first borns were about 13 months old, my wise friend said to me, "kids sure do shit-kick a marriage, no?"

I had to agree.  But I didn't really know to what extent until my second was about four.  At that point in time we had been through the sleepless nights and the episode after episode of illness and musical beds each night. We were both getting a good nights sleep and 6 nights a week everyone woke up in the bed they went to sleep in.  It felt like a fog had lifted.  We made an effort to enjoy each other and committed to staying in our marriage.

In hindsight, I did have mild post partum depression with both kids. I think it wasn't until about 7 months post partum that it really got bad.  Then magically around 17 months I didn't feel so out of control and lost and just plain angry. Compounding these feelings with a lack of sleep and social connection (we moved between first and second baby and didn't make friends in new city), I was a horror to live with. I knew it then and that made me feel even worse. I couldn't cede control or take pro-active action. 

I got referred to a community health clinic and the helpful social worker gave me a handout to give to my husband that included a list of symptoms.  And it also suggested a number of ways to support me.  Just having him take the list and read it and then hug me afterwards made me feel like we could get through this. 

My dear sweet husband suggested we play soccer in a coed adult league one night a week and arranged a sitter and drove and packed our water bottles. I took a pottery class (turns out I hate pottery) but loved just leaving the house.  One night I just sat in the pottery studio and did nothing but be out of the house.  But before I had the energy to get out of the house, he started taking the kids for drives, walks and to the park.  As soon as the weather was nice, he would load them in the stroller right after dinner and off to the playground. The house was silent. He took over bath time completely and I went down to the family room and put on headphones so I was completely not on duty but I didn't have to get my act together to leave the house. I knew that once I made it through dinner, I was done. He was clear that the dishes could sit in the sink until after bath. 

Now, many years later, we love each other still and have great kids but it was really hard. Take care. 

Your descriptions of your wife's fears strike me as classic PPD symptoms but I am not a psychiatrist.  I hope you can find the resources to work through this.

Seeing the possibilities

milliemchi

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #42 on: March 20, 2017, 03:28:51 PM »
We lost several friends over it, she even accused one of robbing us.

This happened before having a child, right?

As a complete stranger on the internet, I would recommend cutting your losses. By this I don't mean divorce (will she trust you with the kid then?). I mean not having any more kids. Or not feeling much empathy since she won't get help. Emotional losses, that kind of stuff. If she's putting a kid in a snowsuit when it's above freezing, you will have a lot of battles to fight - take care of yourself and don't get stretched too thin.

FWIW, my husband dialed down the crazy once he caught up on sleep.

Goldielocks

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #43 on: March 20, 2017, 11:42:12 PM »
BTW, I'm sorry to hear that. I've dealt with someone who would not get needed help, and it is hard. It can be destructive, but ultimately, I was powerless to change things. It could have been better for everyone involved, but you've got what you've got, and just make the best of what you have. Do take care of yourself. You'll have to be the healthy one.

I need to do a lot better at that.
after floating between 210-lbs and 240lbs for 15 years I've gone form 215lbs to 250lbs in the past 18 months. That is why I try to cook healthy and exercise as much as possible. I don't have time for either of those anymore it seems.

I want to do a lot more walks with my son but my wife insists its too cold and he will get sick. She had me put him in a snowsuit when it was 50 degrees last time.

Bring the snow bunting bag, and the covers, etc, and do it anyway.  Once you are around the block, she won't know, and he will be back safe and sound.     if it gets closer to freezing, i recommend wearing a young baby, and having your coat over the both of you (or poncho) so you can share body heat and tell if it is getting cold on baby.

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #44 on: March 21, 2017, 07:21:59 AM »
Agree 100% that your family needs to find its cohort. It will really help if you and your wife can find a group of families with children the same age. YOU will have to do this since your wife is overwhelmed. Try:

  • Meeting people at your local playground/park
  • Meetup
  • Membership days at your local kid museums
  • Religious organizations if you belong to one
  • Alumni groups
  • Local Facebook groups
  • Kid classes (usually a few people will go out for snacks afterwards)

I can't tell you how wonderful the family social groups are where we live. I have met SO many terrific people (small and large).

Meeting a group of people with same-age kids will help you get out for some social activities now (believe me, you'll all feel much better if you do). Being in regular contact with your cohort will also hook your family up for things like doctor and school recommendations and getting you established in your community.

jezebel

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #45 on: March 21, 2017, 09:02:36 AM »
It definitely sounds like your wife needs help (which she sounds unwilling to do) AND have time to herself while the baby is with someone she trusts (you).   But I don't think the time commitment that she is requesting is unreasonable.

The thing that jumped out at me was dinner vs baby thing.  If she has been home with the baby all day, she doesn't get to decide either/or.  Everything is done with the baby - preparing meals, showering, etc.  You can cook while you take care of a baby - you can do most things while you take care of a baby - people have been doing it since babies were a thing.  Many people do it with several or children because they have to. 

My husband had night classes for most of our young children's lives and I did the dinner, picking up, bedtime thing with two children alone on many occasions.   I am a working mom and I think being at work is much easier than taking care of children because you only have yourself to worry about.

davef

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #46 on: March 21, 2017, 10:22:05 AM »
Thank you for your replies, Last night I came home and took the baby on a 45 minute walk, then changed him and played with him for a half hour before preparing dinner. I told her I will do this every weekday from now on. I hope that is something for her to look forward to.

ysette9

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #47 on: March 21, 2017, 10:53:43 AM »
How did she respond when you told her that?
"It'll be great!"

milliemchi

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #48 on: March 21, 2017, 11:11:32 AM »
Thank you for your replies, Last night I came home and took the baby on a 45 minute walk, then changed him and played with him for a half hour before preparing dinner. I told her I will do this every weekday from now on. I hope that is something for her to look forward to.

Great! I would have loved to have that. Try to be consistent, and if you have to change the plan, let her know well in advance. Ideally, this should be a time she can count on consistently.

davef

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Re: What the heck does she want me to do? (new Dad needs help)
« Reply #49 on: March 21, 2017, 11:46:26 AM »
She responded well initially, however, she had it out for me later in the evening for no reason whatsoever. She is sleep deprived I get it, but its tough on me not to defend myself when she attacks like a tiger.