Author Topic: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid  (Read 10876 times)

AnnaGrowsAMustache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1941
  • Location: Noo Zilind
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #50 on: January 07, 2020, 04:51:21 PM »
I don't know that it's especially helpful to point out to Dad that his social needs can be fulfilled outside the marriage. He obviously misses his wife, who is overwhelmed, but also unable to let anyone else help. Yes, there is stuff that a new mother won't be in a position to hear but I do think that the solution is between husband and wife here. OP, would it be possible for the baby to be at the mother inlaw's place while you and your wife go for a walk or something? I find hard conversations are often better had while walking - you don't have to look at each other and you're engaged in an activity. I would frame the conversation around you being a bit left out and wanting to spend time with your daughter.

TheFrenchCat

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 243
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #51 on: January 07, 2020, 07:28:40 PM »
I think you've gotten some really good advice, so I just wanted to contribute two small tips I didn't see.

1)  Keep a bag always packed with anything you need to take your daughter on an outing.  I had a few small toys, a change of clothes, some pacifiers, a pack of wipes, a half dozen diapers and a plastic bag.  We didn't use formula, so you'd probably want a can of that and a couple of bottles, too.  Restock it right when you get home, so it's always ready to go. Packing to go out shouldn't be a huge process every single time.

2)  See if your local YMCA or gyms have a babysitting program.  This was great for us.  Got us out of the house, got my daughter used to other adults and playing with other kids and gave me some self care time.  I'd even just float around the pool if I wasn't up to actually exercising.  Maybe see if your wife would be interested in that.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6856
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #52 on: January 07, 2020, 08:32:47 PM »
I find it odd to be this focused on the baby. We resumed sex at 4 weeks after birth using BC of course. Itís important to keep a couple close. 

ysette9

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7429
  • Location: Bay Area, CA
    • The Best Is Yet To Come
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #53 on: January 07, 2020, 09:09:32 PM »
I felt like I was a less extreme version of OPís wife with my first baby. I was crushingly sleep deprived for the first year+ of her life (she would wake me 5-6 times a night and stumped the sleep coach we hired). Iím looking back on it I also had some emotional baggage from previous losses, a very anxiety-ridden pregnancy, a preemie in the NICU, my in-laws over all the time driving me nuts, etc. I trusted my husband but if she was being cared for by anyone else I was on edge and couldnít relax at all. It didnít help that she was a dreadful sleeper so no one could really take care of her ďwellĒ.

Things did get better over time, once she slept and I slept and I got some other things sorted out. I know now that I also had some medical things going on that went unrecognized, which is why I suggest a physical and checking things like vitamins, thyroid, etc. In retrospect I wish I or someone else had recognized I needed help and suggested some counseling. Speaking regularly with a social worker I met at the NICU this time has been really helpful.

shelivesthedream

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6261
  • Location: London, UK
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #54 on: January 08, 2020, 12:46:25 AM »
Haven't read every reply, but...

"Honey, I'm concerned about you. I love you so much, and I love DD so much too, and I love the new family we've all made together - but I feel like there's so much on your plate right now and I really want to find some ways to get you some more time to relax. It's been such a hard year with having a baby around and having to learn and adjust to that, but I also want to spend some more time with just the two of us where we can be us and not just Mum and Dad.

I have a couple of suggestions so maybe I can lay them on the table first and you can see what you think, and maybe you'll have some too.

I thought you might like to [insert activity here - go to the gym, have some time alone to read, take up a pottery class]. There's a [location] at [place] - why don't you sign up and I can look after DD for a few hours on Saturday morning while you go? I'd love to spend some more time with her anyway, so it seems like a win-win to me!

I'd also love to take you out on a proper date sometime - [get all dressed up and go out to dinner/go and see a movie/whatever.] I thought we could ask your mum to babysit, just as a one-off, as DD loves spending time with her so much. And we can go on a proper grown-up romantic date, just the two of us, no kid-talk.

I'm also really happy to take on [insert household chore here] with DD. You've been doing so much with working and looking after DD and housework. I don't want you to get burnt out, so I'd love to do [chore] on a regular basis, and I think DD would enjoy it too! (Pro tip: when my toddler started walking, he started "helping" with all sorts of stuff and loved it.)

What do you think? I love you so much, and I want to help us figure out how we can organise things so we all get a bit more time to enjoy each other."

This is pretty softly-softly, but I concur that your wife probably has PPD/PPA...but just launching in with that is probably not going to help. Note all the soft, gentle language I've used, all the "maybe, what do you think, I care about you".
A warmx loving tone is essential. And you're not suggesting anything THAT anxiety-inducing like daycare. It's all about you and her reconnecting, and also you and DD having time to bond together too.

My hope is that if you can persuade her to " let go" of DD a tiny bit, it might be easier to have some perspective. If she really won't...

"Honey, I'm concerned about how difficult you seem to find it to leave DD alone with me for a few hours. I'm her dad. I want to be involved in caring for her and to enjoy spending time with her. Do you think you might be struggling with some kind of anxiety? Would it help you to talk to a therapist?" Again, soft language, warm loving tone, put it back on her plate.

One is a hell of an age. It's also when things got a lot better with me and ThenBabySLTD. Sleeping through the night was a huge milestone, as was stopping breastfeeding. I'm soon due with #2 and really hoping I can have a bit more perspective this time.

I do agree with other posters who have said beware of creating a spoilt brat, but I would keep this 100% to yourself right now and focus on asking your wife what she would fine helpful for her mental health. But don't phrase it like that - she might take it as an accusation that she's not coping and is therefore a bad mother. She's probably in a crazy place right now. Good luck!

AtMyWitsEnd

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 7
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #55 on: January 08, 2020, 06:37:22 AM »
After reading all the advice in this thread, wife and I had a "supplemental" conversation last night.  Lasted only 15-20 minutes. I told her I wanted to be clear and make sure we were on the same page.  I took the advice in this thread and had eight points that I jotted on a notepad at work while thinking throughout the day:

1. I was sorry for not being supportive enough during breastfeeding, weaning, and mastitis.  The latter end of all this came smack dab in the middle of busy season at work (year-end is terrible in my industry) and the holidays, and both of our families are whack, so the holidays suck.  In hindsight, I felt absent and expressly told her so.

-She appreciated this a lot, and said she had a much harder time than she let off.

2. It is not fair to her to be both the primary caregiver and be queen socialite, and that she needs to let me know what I could do to take the load off her.  I told her she can start trusting me little by little.

-She generally agreed, and thought of a few things I could do that would help.  There were some DD things, but also other adult things (i.e., laundry, making her lunches) that would help her a lot.  My feeling is DD things will come, but getting wife back is the more immediate need, so I agreed.

3. I do not expect pre-kid level interaction.  That's dumb and insane; there's another human to take care of now, and that takes time and energy.  I was just hoping we could get some of our spark back.

-She agreed and was relieved to hear this.

4. I want a great relationship with DD, and that requires wife to trust me more. 

-She agreed and said she is working on trusting me more.  She said there was one time I was driving with DD in our neighborhood (extremely small, residential), and I used my car dash to return a call, and that caused her to lose trust.  Side note -- I was stopped at a stop sign with no cars in sight.  Anyway, I told her nitpicking like that will just shut me out.  None of us are perfect.  She said she will work on it.  This is probably the subject of an entirely different conversation, and perhaps mom groups (see below) will resolve this without further intervention from me, so I just let this one be for now.

5. I encouraged her to join social groups. 

-To my surprise, she had two groups she wanted to do.  Public library and a little toddler's music club.  She was weary of the music club because it is $60/month, and she thought I'd be mad, but I told her it was money well spent.  Good socialization for her and DD.

6.  My being alone at the office has a lot more of an effect on me than she thinks, or that I let off.  I need social interaction, and I need to start doing more stuff with other people.  I was very clear to frame this as "It's unfair for me to pin all of my social needs on you," and not "you don't fulfill me, so I need to do stuff with other people."  I explained pretty clearly that it would be impossible for her to fill that social void for me, so I just need to do stuff.  

I also told her how people need a "third space" -- home, work, and a third space (club, church, etc.) -- and I don't even have a "second" space due to little interaction at work.  So, I just need to play cards with the guys, golf, maybe join the Y, go to church more (even without her if necessary), etc.

-She agreed.  She told me she liked when I met other people in my field because she knew I needed that time, and she likes the little alone time she gets.  Might be more a fun golf year next year.

7.  In retrospect, with the holidays and everything, my wife has cut her exercise back, and hasn't meal prepped like she normally does.  I told her I'd help return her to normal levels on both fronts, which mostly includes getting up earlier during the week and meal prepping for her on Sundays.

-Obviously very appreciative.

8. Most importantly, told her I unconditionally loved her, and that this is what people mean when they say "marriage takes work."

----------------

Overall a great talk.  We followed up by making cauliflower pizzas, something we always used to do.  Then we hate-watched the Bachelor and screamed so loud at the TV we woke up DD.  Then some sex.  Yay sex.

Good start.

mistymoney

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 787
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #56 on: January 08, 2020, 06:50:05 AM »
I think it is too difficult from the outside to determine what is really going on here - if wife is way too over the top or kind of within normal and OP is just not happy with that. Given the level of unhappiness here, counselling should be on the agenda for you two.

I know for myself, there was a period where it was just physically painful to be separated from my babies. I did get forced to go out a few times - but it was a lot of effort for an unpleasant experience, and I got resentful of doing that for someone else so they could enjoy themselves.

One thing that stands out is that after your discussion, your wife has asked you to get up and help in the morning. That is kind of flag here - like you want to be included in helping with the baby only when it's easy and convenient and not when it costs effort and sleep. So certainly start there.

I'm sure you are doing your best, and I encourage you to continue communicating and working together, maybe have some couple counselling, etc.

But just for another side of the coin I'll share that the addition of children did end my marriage. As I struggled to care for the babies while still working, XH was resentful that my time and attention were no longer his 100% and it got ugly. He got (or always was?) passive aggressive and got controlling keeping the kids away from me. It ended one night when my youngest was 6 months old. I had rushed home from work and he wouldn't let me hold her. He was going to do it. ok. And we got ready and went shopping with the stroller - and he put her in and pushed it. And we bought a lot of groceries and on the way home she is crying. He wouldn't let me hold her. So he gets her out of the stroller, holding her, and carrying the stroller in the other hand, and I am struggling behind with like all the groceries. I could have at least used the stroller for some of the groceries? So I am carrying like 4 large bags of groceries and falling blocks behind.

But ok - and she is still crying. So I get home and he is giving her a bottle and rock her to sleep (because that is what you do with a crying baby? but she was still very fussy and he keeps shoving it in her mouth and rocking and it is not her bedtime yet). So he is on the rocker holding her and I bring in and put away all the groceries - like an entire week's worth - and he still refuses to let me hold her. I've been home from work for hours and I have not held her for even a second and he is trying to force her to go to sleep an hour or two earlier than she goes to sleep because she is fussy (probably wanting me like I wanted her) and he likely was tired of holding a fussy baby that was crying most of the time for several hours now but still wouldn't let me hold her, he was determined on that.

He wasn't enjoying it, he was trying to put her to sleep too early cuz he was tired of it, but he wouldn't let me have her either. I'm not sure what the deal was but it seemed so stupid and petty and cruel and I was just done.

So....as you work through your issues, be sure not to do this!

Laura33

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2891
  • Location: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #57 on: January 08, 2020, 07:41:03 AM »
[snip]

Dude, that is awesome.  What a great way to handle the conversation.  I am particularly happy about the hate-watching the Bachelor thing, because that just feels like you guys found a little bit of the "us" again for a few minutes.  And even that little bit of feeling like yourselves can be a huge, huge relief, because it reassures you that it isn't gone for good and you can get it back and this is just a rough patch but you will get through it.  Really well done.

GreenQueen

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 100
  • Location: Up North
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #58 on: January 08, 2020, 07:48:02 AM »
After reading all the advice in this thread, wife and I had a "supplemental" conversation last night.  Lasted only 15-20 minutes. I told her I wanted to be clear and make sure we were on the same page.  I took the advice in this thread and had eight points that I jotted on a notepad at work while thinking throughout the day:

1. I was sorry for not being supportive enough during breastfeeding, weaning, and mastitis.  The latter end of all this came smack dab in the middle of busy season at work (year-end is terrible in my industry) and the holidays, and both of our families are whack, so the holidays suck.  In hindsight, I felt absent and expressly told her so.

-She appreciated this a lot, and said she had a much harder time than she let off.

2. It is not fair to her to be both the primary caregiver and be queen socialite, and that she needs to let me know what I could do to take the load off her.  I told her she can start trusting me little by little.

-She generally agreed, and thought of a few things I could do that would help.  There were some DD things, but also other adult things (i.e., laundry, making her lunches) that would help her a lot.  My feeling is DD things will come, but getting wife back is the more immediate need, so I agreed.

3. I do not expect pre-kid level interaction.  That's dumb and insane; there's another human to take care of now, and that takes time and energy.  I was just hoping we could get some of our spark back.

-She agreed and was relieved to hear this.

4. I want a great relationship with DD, and that requires wife to trust me more.

-She agreed and said she is working on trusting me more.  She said there was one time I was driving with DD in our neighborhood (extremely small, residential), and I used my car dash to return a call, and that caused her to lose trust.  Side note -- I was stopped at a stop sign with no cars in sight.  Anyway, I told her nitpicking like that will just shut me out.  None of us are perfect.  She said she will work on it.  This is probably the subject of an entirely different conversation, and perhaps mom groups (see below) will resolve this without further intervention from me, so I just let this one be for now.

5. I encouraged her to join social groups.

-To my surprise, she had two groups she wanted to do.  Public library and a little toddler's music club.  She was weary of the music club because it is $60/month, and she thought I'd be mad, but I told her it was money well spent.  Good socialization for her and DD.

6.  My being alone at the office has a lot more of an effect on me than she thinks, or that I let off.  I need social interaction, and I need to start doing more stuff with other people.  I was very clear to frame this as "It's unfair for me to pin all of my social needs on you," and not "you don't fulfill me, so I need to do stuff with other people."  I explained pretty clearly that it would be impossible for her to fill that social void for me, so I just need to do stuff. 

I also told her how people need a "third space" -- home, work, and a third space (club, church, etc.) -- and I don't even have a "second" space due to little interaction at work.  So, I just need to play cards with the guys, golf, maybe join the Y, go to church more (even without her if necessary), etc.

-She agreed.  She told me she liked when I met other people in my field because she knew I needed that time, and she likes the little alone time she gets.  Might be more a fun golf year next year.

7.  In retrospect, with the holidays and everything, my wife has cut her exercise back, and hasn't meal prepped like she normally does.  I told her I'd help return her to normal levels on both fronts, which mostly includes getting up earlier during the week and meal prepping for her on Sundays.

-Obviously very appreciative.

8. Most importantly, told her I unconditionally loved her, and that this is what people mean when they say "marriage takes work."

----------------

Overall a great talk.  We followed up by making cauliflower pizzas, something we always used to do.  Then we hate-watched the Bachelor and screamed so loud at the TV we woke up DD.  Then some sex.  Yay sex.

Good start.


Fantastic! You are incredible for being able to process and present the advice offered here in a manner that your SO can respond to, and she is incredible for listening, being honest, and taking steps in a positive direction. Hopefully this is the dawn of a new era.

ysette9

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7429
  • Location: Bay Area, CA
    • The Best Is Yet To Come
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #59 on: January 08, 2020, 08:01:42 AM »
After reading all the advice in this thread, wife and I had a "supplemental" conversation last night.  Lasted only 15-20 minutes. I told her I wanted to be clear and make sure we were on the same page.  I took the advice in this thread and had eight points that I jotted on a notepad at work while thinking throughout the day:

1. I was sorry for not being supportive enough during breastfeeding, weaning, and mastitis.  The latter end of all this came smack dab in the middle of busy season at work (year-end is terrible in my industry) and the holidays, and both of our families are whack, so the holidays suck.  In hindsight, I felt absent and expressly told her so.

-She appreciated this a lot, and said she had a much harder time than she let off.

2. It is not fair to her to be both the primary caregiver and be queen socialite, and that she needs to let me know what I could do to take the load off her.  I told her she can start trusting me little by little.

-She generally agreed, and thought of a few things I could do that would help.  There were some DD things, but also other adult things (i.e., laundry, making her lunches) that would help her a lot.  My feeling is DD things will come, but getting wife back is the more immediate need, so I agreed.

3. I do not expect pre-kid level interaction.  That's dumb and insane; there's another human to take care of now, and that takes time and energy.  I was just hoping we could get some of our spark back.

-She agreed and was relieved to hear this.

4. I want a great relationship with DD, and that requires wife to trust me more.

-She agreed and said she is working on trusting me more.  She said there was one time I was driving with DD in our neighborhood (extremely small, residential), and I used my car dash to return a call, and that caused her to lose trust.  Side note -- I was stopped at a stop sign with no cars in sight.  Anyway, I told her nitpicking like that will just shut me out.  None of us are perfect.  She said she will work on it.  This is probably the subject of an entirely different conversation, and perhaps mom groups (see below) will resolve this without further intervention from me, so I just let this one be for now.

5. I encouraged her to join social groups.

-To my surprise, she had two groups she wanted to do.  Public library and a little toddler's music club.  She was weary of the music club because it is $60/month, and she thought I'd be mad, but I told her it was money well spent.  Good socialization for her and DD.

6.  My being alone at the office has a lot more of an effect on me than she thinks, or that I let off.  I need social interaction, and I need to start doing more stuff with other people.  I was very clear to frame this as "It's unfair for me to pin all of my social needs on you," and not "you don't fulfill me, so I need to do stuff with other people."  I explained pretty clearly that it would be impossible for her to fill that social void for me, so I just need to do stuff. 

I also told her how people need a "third space" -- home, work, and a third space (club, church, etc.) -- and I don't even have a "second" space due to little interaction at work.  So, I just need to play cards with the guys, golf, maybe join the Y, go to church more (even without her if necessary), etc.

-She agreed.  She told me she liked when I met other people in my field because she knew I needed that time, and she likes the little alone time she gets.  Might be more a fun golf year next year.

7.  In retrospect, with the holidays and everything, my wife has cut her exercise back, and hasn't meal prepped like she normally does.  I told her I'd help return her to normal levels on both fronts, which mostly includes getting up earlier during the week and meal prepping for her on Sundays.

-Obviously very appreciative.

8. Most importantly, told her I unconditionally loved her, and that this is what people mean when they say "marriage takes work."

----------------

Overall a great talk.  We followed up by making cauliflower pizzas, something we always used to do.  Then we hate-watched the Bachelor and screamed so loud at the TV we woke up DD.  Then some sex.  Yay sex.

Good start.
Great update. Thanks for sharing and well done.

shelivesthedream

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6261
  • Location: London, UK
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #60 on: January 08, 2020, 09:48:53 AM »
I'm so happy to hear about that conversation! And that you guys managed to have a nice evening afterwards. You sound like you've really listened to all the advice in this thread and gone into that conversation with such an open, caring attitude.

oswin

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 6
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #61 on: January 08, 2020, 10:08:42 AM »
I find it odd to be this focused on the baby. We resumed sex at 4 weeks after birth using BC of course. Itís important to keep a couple close.
That's great for you. But it's not normal (or perhaps usual is a better word). I was still having postpartum bleeding and my stitches had barely healed at 4 weeks.  Generally a doctor won't clear you for intercourse until the 6 week checkup. I would argue that intimacy is important to keep a couple close, but that there are more kinds of intimacy than sex.

charis

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2275
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #62 on: January 08, 2020, 10:52:17 AM »
I find it odd to be this focused on the baby. We resumed sex at 4 weeks after birth using BC of course. Itís important to keep a couple close.
That's great for you. But it's not normal (or perhaps usual is a better word). I was still having postpartum bleeding and my stitches had barely healed at 4 weeks.  Generally a doctor won't clear you for intercourse until the 6 week checkup. I would argue that intimacy is important to keep a couple close, but that there are more kinds of intimacy than sex.

Agreed, pointing out how an internet stranger did something that the OP is struggling with is rarely helpful.

historienne

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 376
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #63 on: January 08, 2020, 12:31:43 PM »
Op, I literally teared up reading that last conversation.  This stuff is hard--harder for some than for others, depending on lots of factors--but it really sounds like y'all are a team and I have complete faith that you will get back to a place where you are all happy with your family dynamic.

In addition to what others have said, a few ideas.  First, especially since you are already paying your MIL above market rate, is there any chance that she could do some extra babysitting?  Either on your wife's days off, to get her some time truly off the clock, or on the weekends, so that you and your wife could hang out together alone? 

Second, as others mentioned, I do think that there's a serious chance your wife has PPA.  It may get better naturally; in retrospect, my undiagosed-but-definitely-there PPA let up after weaning (and weaning itself was a big hormonal shift that threw my emotions for a loop for awhile).   But how is her attitude towards counseling/meds generally?  Would she take it well if you suggested going to see someone?  Obviously, you'd want to be very careful to phrase it not like "you're broken" but like "you seem to be suffering and, as someone who loves you, I really hate to see that."

Finally, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of building in time when you are taking care of the baby by yourself.  Maybe this means being the one who wakes up with the kid on weekend mornings, or overnights (although that sounds rare for you, which is lucky!).  Maybe it means taking baby out of the house on a long walk on weekend afternoons.  Maybe it means watching baby while she goes to the gym.  You can start small; if she's nervous about driving, don't drive at first.  But it will be build a virtuous circle: she sees you taking care of baby successfully, and calms down a bit.  Meanwhile, you will build your skills, so it will actually become easier for you to take care of baby.  She sees how happy baby is with you and calms down more, and is comfortable with you doing more of the childcare.  Etc. 

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8827
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #64 on: January 08, 2020, 01:03:54 PM »
Man, I feel for you. I honestly donít have any good advice that hasnít been suggested, so Iím going to give you bad advice:
1. Let your wife know that youíve hit a critical point and that you want more time with her, at least a date night every two weeks, and pay the grandma to cover.
2. Throw yourself into some hobbies that let you feel like youíre socializing
3. Organize a monthly poker night with the guys (trust me, youíll find others in a similar situation)
4. Insist on daddy and me dates with your daughter where you take her for stroller walks every Saturday and Sunday morning
5. Join a local of FB Menís group to crowdsource ideas and get support
6. Have special alone time with yourself so that you can satisfy your own sexual urges until your wife is ready
7. Go somewhere safe and alone and have a good cry, just let it all out. Then tell yourself, this is marriage and family and I can make this work, and it wonít always be like this because I wonít let it.

All the best
I think this is pretty good advice.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8827
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #65 on: January 08, 2020, 01:07:50 PM »
[snip]

Dude, that is awesome.  What a great way to handle the conversation.  I am particularly happy about the hate-watching the Bachelor thing, because that just feels like you guys found a little bit of the "us" again for a few minutes.  And even that little bit of feeling like yourselves can be a huge, huge relief, because it reassures you that it isn't gone for good and you can get it back and this is just a rough patch but you will get through it.  Really well done.
+1 and I almost literally LOLd at hate watching bachelor.  We don't hate watch shows like we used to...

Ellsie Equanimity

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 52
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #66 on: January 08, 2020, 01:34:28 PM »

She seemed mostly understanding, but one thing that really shook me was when she said, "I feel like you don't like me anymore."  I asked what she meant and she said that she's a different person now, and that DD is such a huge priority for her, and that she observes that I resent that she prioritizes DD over me, and that I don't like it.

I tried to be sympathetic, and tried to look at it from her point of view.  I tried to explain that the best thing for DD would be if we were happy, and that maybe when older people say, "You need to work on your marriage," this is what they are talking about.  I said you can't just be a mom or a dad, you also have to be a wife and a husband; and after having a kid, the wife/husband part is harder because the needs of your spouse are less visible.


I just skimmed this and it sounds like you've gotten some good advice and are making some awesome progress, congrats!

I just wanted to add one thing addressing what you said above because I didn't see it mentioned in my skimming: if you're not already, try to play with your daughter and your wife together. I think your perspective on this is right but if your wife is just feeling like you want her attention on top of this giant change in her life that has affected her in ways you don't seem to like, that is hard. So hopefully you are doing this already but be sure that some of your time together is enjoying the baby together - not just the taking care of the baby together, but spend time where both of you are tickling or playing or reading books or whatever kid stuff you like to do together with the baby and compliment her on being a good mom, things you see her do well and let her know you enjoy being parents together. This can help build trust as your wife sees your good interactions with baby and also help her feel like you accept/like her new role as a mother when you enter into it with her and have fun with it. It's also easily doable at home if she isn't ready for outings but can be done on outings when you're ready for that, too.

Thanks for being a husband/dad who wants to work it out and goes through the effort to do so! Keep it up!

terrifictim

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 82
  • Location: San Diego, CA
    • Case Study
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #67 on: January 08, 2020, 02:06:05 PM »
OP - I just want to say thanks for you being willing to put yourself out there. I'm a Father-to-be and reading this I could see myself being in the same scenario down the line. Being aware of these challenges ahead of time and talking to DW about how we might approach them is helpful because of your sharing. Thank you!

Sarotis

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #68 on: January 08, 2020, 04:33:11 PM »
OP - I also want to say well done! After giving birth, I was in a very similar position as your wife with extreme behaviors (threatening to burn down the garage because of all the clutter in it, etc) and PPD. When my daughter was a few months, my husband told me he was unhappy with our marriage and that he wanted to move out. I resented that he didn't see how badly I was struggling and that his words compounded my struggle and depression enormously. I very much wish he would have taken the same approach as you and focused on what we needed to do to get back on track and get me in a healthy head space again. Instead, we are now separated. Our marriage is absolutely unrecognizable from how it was pre-child, and that is a tragic thing. So I just want to offer some encouragement to you because it is too easy to let your relationship die a slow death but you are making a tangible, recognizable effort to ensure that doesn't happen. I wish you many more nights of yelling at the TV followed by sex. :)


MrThatsDifferent

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2031
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #69 on: January 08, 2020, 04:40:34 PM »
OPówonderful update, donít let that be the only conversation. Youíre going to keep checking in with each other, keep being honest and speaking before things reach critical mass. Wonderful start, and you got laid again! Woohoo!

Daisyedwards800

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 313
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #70 on: January 08, 2020, 09:09:12 PM »
The dad (OP) here is bored, stir-crazy and lacking in stimulation socially.  This is what he needs to focus on, not changing HER.
That's all well and good, but do you think the wife is also going to want him to get his sexual needs fulfilled elsewhere? That's possible but it certainly wouldn't be typical. I think it's a little short-sighted to view this as merely a problem of the husband needing to get out of the house.

He sits alone at work all day then comes home and watches tv.  I suggested he change his work environment not ditch her to go out.   I also suggested HE cook and do the hosting so as not to add to her labor.  Everyone is wanting her to go back to being his source of fun and stimulation in his life and she just doesnít have it in her right now, which is normal when exhausted.

Daisyedwards800

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 313
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #71 on: January 08, 2020, 09:10:05 PM »
The dad (OP) here is bored, stir-crazy and lacking in stimulation socially.  This is what he needs to focus on, not changing HER.
That's all well and good, but do you think the wife is also going to want him to get his sexual needs fulfilled elsewhere? That's possible but it certainly wouldn't be typical. I think it's a little short-sighted to view this as merely a problem of the husband needing to get out of the house.

Obviously not.  🙄

ender

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6084
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #72 on: January 08, 2020, 09:28:21 PM »
I empathize with where you are coming from as the father of a ~1ish year old. A baby dramatically changed the dynamic of my wife and I.

One suggestion is to bring solutions, not problems, to your wife in these conversations about how to do things like date nights or otherwise.

For example, for date night. Saying something like "we should spend a date night together!" is very different than, "we should spend a date night together. I've lined up a babysitter and we can go to <favorite restaurant> on <date>." Otherwise, if you merely voice your frustration, the burden now is on your wife to fix it.

A question I haven't seen discussed is how often you play with your daughter yourself - how often do you? One starts to be an age that they are a ton more interactive than when they are total babies.


Something I have pondered too is that when you don't have kids, you "accidentally" spend time together as a couple just in the natural flow of life. You still ought to be intentional though, even in that state, but the default of just going through life together results in a lot more together time. Now that we have a kid though, that accidental time rarely happens - but we did not make a good enough practice out of intentional time together pre-kid. So now, our relationship is somewhat suffering because we never really practiced that type of time. I don't know how you'd describe your experience on this but it feels like it was the case for me and my wife.

nancyfrank232

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 225
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #73 on: January 08, 2020, 10:10:52 PM »
Sucks to have kids. Sorry about your life OP

Some regrets you just have to suffer through


[MOD NOTE: FORUM RULE #1: this comment is inappropriate when someone is looking for help.]
« Last Edit: January 09, 2020, 06:25:32 AM by FrugalToque »

Kris

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5946
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #74 on: January 09, 2020, 06:11:41 AM »
Sucks to have kids. Sorry about your life OP

Some regrets you just have to suffer through

You know, I donít have kids. I donít even like kids.

But even I know this is a shitty thing to say to a parent. Especially one who is here asking for help.

Please see forum rule #1. And knock it off.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2020, 06:22:28 AM by Kris »

LostGirl

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 295
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #75 on: January 09, 2020, 08:32:43 AM »
OP so.glad your conversations went well!  I after it's such a rough spot for to both to be in and while my situation was different, it's just tough for a while finding new footng post kids. It's a journey and you're heading in the right direction.

obstinate

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1094
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #76 on: January 09, 2020, 09:39:30 AM »
The dad (OP) here is bored, stir-crazy
The dad (OP) here is bored, stir-crazy and lacking in stimulation socially.  This is what he needs to focus on, not changing HER.
That's all well and good, but do you think the wife is also going to want him to get his sexual needs fulfilled elsewhere? That's possible but it certainly wouldn't be typical. I think it's a little short-sighted to view this as merely a problem of the husband needing to get out of the house.

He sits alone at work all day then comes home and watches tv.  I suggested he change his work environment not ditch her to go out.   I also suggested HE cook and do the hosting so as not to add to her labor.  Everyone is wanting her to go back to being his source of fun and stimulation in his life and she just doesnít have it in her right now, which is normal when exhausted.
He sits alone at work all day then comes home and watches tv.  I suggested he change his work environment not ditch her to go out.   I also suggested HE cook and do the hosting so as not to add to her labor.  Everyone is wanting her to go back to being his source of fun and stimulation in his life and she just doesnít have it in her right now, which is normal when exhausted.
It's normal when exhausted to not want to fool around or be romantic or engaged. It's not normal to be so exhausted that you can't function normally at 12 mo post-partum. That's the main concern for me.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8827
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #77 on: January 09, 2020, 11:20:49 AM »
Quote
It's normal when exhausted to not want to fool around or be romantic or engaged. It's not normal to be so exhausted that you can't function normally at 12 mo post-partum. That's the main concern for me.

Define normal?

I was still breast-feeding and pumping at 12 mo post partum, and it wasn't until 6 months after I stopped (with each kid, basically), where my hormone levels had returned to normal and I felt more human.

But not totally back to "normal" (whatever that is) because: I still wasn't sleeping.  Kid #2 didn't sleep through the night consistently from 7  months to 16 months, and I was miserably sleep deprived during that time, and still so for a bit after.

I'd say I really felt close to my "old self" with each kid when they hit 3.5 years old.  (And my kids are 6 years apart in age.)

AnnaGrowsAMustache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1941
  • Location: Noo Zilind
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #78 on: January 09, 2020, 11:28:21 AM »
Quote
It's normal when exhausted to not want to fool around or be romantic or engaged. It's not normal to be so exhausted that you can't function normally at 12 mo post-partum. That's the main concern for me.

Define normal?

I was still breast-feeding and pumping at 12 mo post partum, and it wasn't until 6 months after I stopped (with each kid, basically), where my hormone levels had returned to normal and I felt more human.

But not totally back to "normal" (whatever that is) because: I still wasn't sleeping.  Kid #2 didn't sleep through the night consistently from 7  months to 16 months, and I was miserably sleep deprived during that time, and still so for a bit after.

I'd say I really felt close to my "old self" with each kid when they hit 3.5 years old.  (And my kids are 6 years apart in age.)

I think it's also pretty "normal" for women to feel they need to be the perfect mother and try to do everything themselves. It shouldn't be that way, but it often seems to be. OP's wife seems to have quite a specific idea of what motherhood is "meant" to be. Perhaps she isn't even aware that she has quite rigid ideas. So alongside hormones, sleep deprivation etc etc, there's this motherhood myth to cope with!

shelivesthedream

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6261
  • Location: London, UK
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #79 on: January 09, 2020, 11:28:53 AM »
With parenting young children I think there's two different kinds of "normal". There's "it is common and average to feel this way, don't worry that you are failing as a parent forever" and there's "you should accept this as it is because you cannot change it and this is how your life will be forever as a parent".

It is common and average to feel tired, even exhausted, at 12 mo postpartum. Just because one feels that way doesn't mean this is how it will be forever, and it is very common and average to have an extended exhausted phase which then moves into the sunlit uplands of enjoying parenthood and finding a great new way to be a family of three (or more). That doesn't mean that you have to accept such exhaustion as it is and not try to make things better. You can sleep train, ask for help, pay for help, stop breastfeeding, cut down on work, find more childcare... and yes, go to therapy/start medication.

Normal as common and normal as acceptable are not necessarily the same thing, even though people often treat them as if they are.

obstinate

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1094
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #80 on: January 10, 2020, 02:12:56 PM »
I checked with some other folks and apparently I was mistaking my own experience for the typical. One of my friends let me know that folks who don't sleep train are often still up many times a night @ 1 year. My mistake, and apologies.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8827
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #81 on: January 10, 2020, 03:17:36 PM »
I checked with some other folks and apparently I was mistaking my own experience for the typical. One of my friends let me know that folks who don't sleep train are often still up many times a night @ 1 year. My mistake, and apologies.
Those of us who DO sleep train also are up multiple times in the night.  My first kid sleep trained fine but every time he got a new tooth or got a cold, we had to start over.  This was frequent in the first year.

Then, second kids are harder, esp if they share a room because you don't want them to wake up the big kid.  My second kid was teething constantly from 7 to 16 months, little bugger.  He slept like a dream from 3 to 7  months...  Plus he had surgery at 9 months, so we had a month of recovery after that.

Both kids sleep like the dead now! 

charis

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2275
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #82 on: January 10, 2020, 05:39:10 PM »
We sleep trained our kids and one of them still woke up, multiple times some nights. It was certainly an improvement over hourly wake ups. But sleeping training isn't a magic bullet, it depends on the child.

ysette9

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7429
  • Location: Bay Area, CA
    • The Best Is Yet To Come
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #83 on: January 10, 2020, 10:18:39 PM »
Sleep training can be great but it isnít magic, as you say. We just had the 5.5 year old and the 2.5 year old wake up crying simultaneously. Or rather, the little one woke up crying and the big one had a crying night terror. Arg. The baby slept through all of that nonsense, ironically enough.

Zamboni

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2863
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #84 on: January 11, 2020, 04:16:11 PM »
I think you've gotten some really good advice, so I just wanted to contribute two small tips I didn't see.

1)  Keep a bag always packed with anything you need to take your daughter on an outing.  I had a few small toys, a change of clothes, some pacifiers, a pack of wipes, a half dozen diapers and a plastic bag.  We didn't use formula, so you'd probably want a can of that and a couple of bottles, too.  Restock it right when you get home, so it's always ready to go. Packing to go out shouldn't be a huge process every single time.

2)  See if your local YMCA or gyms have a babysitting program.  This was great for us.  Got us out of the house, got my daughter used to other adults and playing with other kids and gave me some self care time.  I'd even just float around the pool if I wasn't up to actually exercising.  Maybe see if your wife would be interested in that.

These are great ideas . . . except always, always, always have two changes of clothes in the diaper bag. Eventually you will be glad you have that second set, even if it is just an extra onsie. Their clothes are small are barely weigh anything.

charis

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2275
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #85 on: January 12, 2020, 08:19:17 AM »
Yes, my husband stocked his own diaper bag. It was a backpack.  Frequently it was better stocked than mine.

Luz

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 457
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #86 on: January 12, 2020, 09:43:54 PM »
Just to add a few things to the comments:

Weaning can be incredibly stressful. During the process, the hormones that give a sense of calm and well-being tank and can take a few months to rebalance. Weaning was hands-down my most difficult period since having a baby.

I'm just an internet stranger, but it sounds like your wife might be experiencing postpartum OCD.  PP OCD is often characterized by obsessions (consuming thoughts) of harm befalling the infant. The only way to make 100% sure that no harm will happen is to control the baby's environment as much as possible. I could be off, but it's worth looking into.

If she decides to get treatment, it's important to find someone who has experience with post-partum mood and anxiety disorders. Perinatal/Postpartum support groups are also helpful because they normalize what otherwise would be an isolating experience. Women can experience onset at any time during the first year (and I read recently, even up to 18 months). And it's kind've like complicated grief- issues from PPMAD can extend years if not addressed properly. And wreak havoc in a marriage. But it's very treatable.

Keep us posted!

AtMyWitsEnd

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 7
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #87 on: January 22, 2020, 01:33:33 PM »
It's been two weeks since my last post, so I wanted to post a little bit of an update.

Our relationship really seems to be on the up.  We are communicating better, doing more things together, having more fun together, etc.  I think there was a lot brewing on both sides by the time I posted here, and I think having these discussions has lifted a lot of weight off of our shoulders.

Most importantly, I've tried stepping up when it comes to DD.  I've been getting up earlier, helping change more, stopping home on my wife's off-days (if I can) so she can take an hour break, etc.  My wife has been able to work out five days a week (instead of three), and it's made a huge difference in her overall attitude.

Also, since our last talk, we have just focused on "us" when I'm home.  We've put the phones on the chargers and just had fun.  Sometimes this means just sitting around and talking for two hours, sometimes its hate-watching the Bachelor, and sometimes it's doing things outside the house.

Speaking of doing stuff, we've actually had my parents babysit twice now.  This past Saturday we went to church, to a gluten free pizza place (wife's favorite), and then to the bar where we actually met seven years ago now.  It was fun and something we haven't done for a long time.  This weekend we are going furniture shopping.

Why furniture shopping?  Unbeknownst to me, something that had been brewing up in my wife was that she was unhappy with where we lived.  It was quite a small ranch, with only one common living area (maybe 16x12), in a small neighborhood surrounded by major roads without sidewalks, we were constantly having to fix stuff, etc.; so she felt "trapped."  Yes, she could drive two miles to the trails, but that's a lot of work for her as our daughter is getting bigger.  It's also been less than 10 degrees lately. 

She knew (as did I) that we could afford a much more comfortable space.  So, we ended up buying a new house.  It is my wife's "dream" home -- it has a huge family room similar to what my wife's home had where she grew up, and that was important to her.  I know that's not good talk around these parts, but my wife melted when we saw it.  It was about $250k.  We make $160k a year and do not have any car payments or other debt (except my student loans), so this is well within budget.

I'm not at all pretending that buying a house is a cure-all, because it's not.  But my wife is home significantly more than I am, and I want her to be happy there.  She absolutely loves the new house.  I am going to handle all the moving so she doesn't have to do anything.

So, things are going well.  I'm going to keep working on this and making sure it stays like this.  For right now that means texting my wife and reminding her that I appreciate all her efforts over the past couple weeks.

Thanks everyone.  I will read the replies but I will try to post another update in a month or so.

Laura33

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2891
  • Location: Mid-Atlantic
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #88 on: January 22, 2020, 01:46:59 PM »
Congrats on the great progress!  Sounds like your opening up and trying to be more accessible allowed your wife to open up about the things that were really bugging her, too.  Well done.

shelivesthedream

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6261
  • Location: London, UK
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #89 on: January 22, 2020, 01:58:28 PM »
What a lovely update! I hope you do come back with another one. You sound really thoughtful and open to changing how you think and behave. That's such a great trait to have in a spouse - hold onto it! Keep talking and keep listening.

ChpBstrd

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2901
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #90 on: January 22, 2020, 06:49:13 PM »
Been there, done that. Things get better incrementally. My relationship with the wife got back to normal after 5 years. Stubbornness is key to long term relationship success, lol. Sex every 2 weeks and not open daily hostility/conflict are a great place to be. Wish it had been that good for me!

Do the following immediately:

1) Get a counselor. This should be a normal expectation for any couple having a kid. It's easy.
2) Do the math on one of you taking a sabbatical from your career for the next 2 years. It will slow your path to FIRE, but not as much as divorce.
3) Make baby care a couples activity. Play with her together. It's too easy for one person to do chores while the other is caretaker and then both feel resentful and abandoned.

MrThatsDifferent

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2031
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #91 on: January 22, 2020, 08:51:47 PM »
Wonderful update and being able to decide on and buy a house in two weeks!!! It would probably take me 6 months just to decide if thatís what I really want to do. Lol

Hula Hoop

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1558
  • Location: Italy
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #92 on: January 23, 2020, 03:00:53 AM »
So glad to read your update.  Sounds like things are on the right track.  Our marriage has also been through many seasons - I think this is normal.  For us the most difficult period was right after I moved here to be with him.  We fought a lot and it was tough.  Now after 15 years together we know each others' triggers and weaknesses so we avoid those unless we want to really 'have it out'. 

IMO struggles like you've experiences are bonding experiences that really test your marriage but, in the end, make it stronger.  We've been through major illness and 2 children with no family help.  I  spent almost 2 months in hospital when older kid was one.  Weirdly enough that bonded us and brought us closer as we just had to rely completely on each other.  Being close to death in hospital with a one year old at home is a very raw experience - I learned that I had to just rely on DH and that he could operate without me. Luckily I pulled through and I'm here to tell the tale but I feel that we weren't really 'married' until we went through all this stuff together.  Anyway, it sounds like this is testing your mettle and making your bond stronger as well.  I hope that things continue to improve.

Morning Glory

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2007
  • Location: The Garden Path
Re: Marriage Hardly Recognizable After First Kid
« Reply #93 on: January 23, 2020, 05:37:07 AM »
This post might be too late to be helpful, but what kind of birth control is your wife taking?  I have had issues with mood and emotional side effects from various birth control, with the ďmini-pillĒ (progestin only) being the worst (uncontrollable crying, circular thought patterns, etc.). It might be worth looking into.

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/2552796