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Am I being selfish?(53 Posts)
I feel like I am reaching breaking point. I love my partner and our child dearly but sometimes feel like I am being pushed too far.
I am new dad. My day starts at 5.30am, looking after our 6 month old when he wakes and making breakfast for myself and partner. At 7.30 she wakes up and I shower while she looks after our son and at 8 she showers whilst I look after our son. I get off to work circa 8.30 (about an hour later than I would like).
I get back from work at circa 6.30/7. At this point she takes a break and I look after our son unless we bath him (which we do together). I tend to feed him at this time and then he goes to sleep. Following this I do the washing up, steralise everything and cook the evening meal. Sitting down to relax and eat at around 8.30 (depending on how feeding has gone). I then feed our son at 10.30/11 and go to bed myself at 11.30ish. I generally wake every couple of hours when our son wakes up and very occasionally find myself rocking him to sleep.
I don't see friends anymore, I don't go to the gym or pub anymore. When I want to go out my partner tells me I can't go out - to which I offer to look after our son so she can go out, in fact I offer this a lot. So I don't go out anymore.
Due to poor diet, lack of exercise, terrible sleep and stress my blood pressure is through the roof and I have fainted twice in two months when my blood pressure dropped quickly - I have been to the doctors who advised better sleep, exercise (things which my partner prevents me from having) but am taking garlic pills.
Am I being unreasonable in expecting to be able to have say a couple of hours at the gym a week or a visit to the pub once a fortnight?
I think having a new baby is extremely hard on both people in the relationship.
Why are you doing all night shifts plus the early morning wake up? DH and I shared this, I was bf so got up in the night but DH would get up with her in the morning if she was up early. We also shared bath time and cooking, so one of us did the bath and the other one did the cooking, then we sat down to eat after.
Does your DW/DP get a couple of hours at the gym each week/a night out at the pub? The key is equal leisure time. I used to resent DH a little as he went to the gym every lunchtime at work and also got a rest for an hour every morning and every evening on the way to and from work on the bus, whereas as I was breastfeeding I was literally with the baby 24/7 and couldn't do anything. I didn't get chance to sleep when the baby was sleeping as she would only ever sleep in the pram while walking outside and in the car seat while driving so never got a break.
It's so easy to fall into the trap of competitive tiredness and thinking you do more than the other, but realistically I imagine you are both completely exhausted. This phase won't last.
That doesn't sound like a very fair division of labour. I'm assuming your partner stays at home? It sounds like it's time for a discussion. If you're getting up so early every day that's going to build up and leave you unwell. Your partner is getting a full night's sleep until 7.30, has opportunities to nap during the day and you do all the cooking, prep and night feeds?! Sounds ridiculous. I personally think the full time worker (if other is at home) should not be doing night feeds (maybe one or two a week, I BF do I had to do it) as they need their sleep in order to go to work. Weekends shared. A six month old is tiring but not that tiring, you could (and should) definitely share the cooking and I think she could do the bottle prep.
As for gym and going out, yes absolutely, I think two evenings a week at this point is fine and sounds like you need it. Sometimes it's not the going, but knowing you can.
Obviously I don't know if she insists on this arrangement or if it's just become this way and she thinks you're happy with it, but either way you're not and need to say.
It sounds like the partner does do all the night shifts and op just wakes up when baby cries to me? He says he occasionally rocks baby to sleep so assume partner does all night shifts usually...
Perhaps you could try ear plugs or sleeping in different room so you aren't disturbed at night? Sounds like your partner is up every 2 hours all night hence the needing to sleep in till 7.30 and going to bed early in the evening.
You won't be able to keep going unless you try to make the most of the big chunk you have available to sleep between 10.30pm and 5.30 am.
That makes more sense Hellokitty. Unfortunately not many people sleep through a baby crying so both of you will probably wake up for the foreseeable future.
I think it's a really tough one, your partner is at home during the day but that doesn't mean she's resting, and she will be exhausted when you get home too. To be honest my DH did nearly as much as you do when you get home from work but as he sleeps much better than I do was happy to do so. And he was of the opinion that his fairly cushty desk job was a break compared to looking after a baby! I think you need to sit down together and discuss the division of labour outside of working hours.
Call me old fashioned, but if your partner is at home all day with the baby, then she has plenty of time to cook an evening meal for you both, sterilise bottles and do general tidying. She should be doing late feeds as she does not need to be up early for work the next day! I never expected my DP to get up and do night feeds, as he was up at 6 every morning to go out and spend all day working.
I wouldn't expect my DH to get up in the night if I was on maternity leave/not working.
It's all a bit of a haze but I think in my last mat leave (2.5 year old DD and baby DS) my DH would get up and go to work in the morning so not do much then. He would be back about 6.30 and would help out with bath and story time. One or other of us would cook for us after the kids were in bed and we would tidy up afterwards together.
DH did the weekly shop one night after work. He also did all the hoovering, plus sorting the cars and managing the finances. I did all the washing and ironing and the rest of the cleaning (such that there was!)
But I wouldn't expect him to get up in the night nor to be on breakfast duty in the morning.
Of course its hard to weigh things up from just one person's viewpoint of what is going on, and of course being with a 6 month old all day is tiring, but from what you have said it seems to me you are doing more than your fair share.
PS As someone else says it does depend a bit on how challenging the baby is and it is not easy to compare how hard two people may be working.
My two were not dead easy babies but they weren't hugely hard either. They were not brilliant sleepers but they probably only woke once or twice a night at 6 mths old. They would always nap in the car/pram, unlike some, so I could drive for a break and it made it easier to get out and about. They were not hyper-liabilities who couldn't even look at a staircase without falling down it and ending up in A&E. And so on. And I had lots of good friends with similar aged babies/toddlers and supportive parents just down the road. So for me although it was hard and tiring when they were very small, it was OK and manageable.
So it is difficult to say whether your OH isn't pulling her weight. Depends on the baby a bit.
PS IME harder babies grow into easier toddlers ... don't despair if your son is quite hard work at the mo ...
I think the posters saying 'you should be able to clean/do the dinner etc if you're at home all day' probably had babies who slept. Mine didn't sleep much during the day even as a newborn and when she did, she was either being pushed in the pram or being driven around. She wasn't the sort of baby who would entertain herself while I cooked either. And although I wasn't working we were actually rarely 'at home'; we were out and about most of the day for my own sanity. As a PP says it's impossible to compare any 2 babies. Some will snooze for hours and amuse themselves in their play gyms while their carer gets on with other things/naps. Others won't.
Thanks for the comments and advice.
She does do the feeding at night, I am a light sleeper so always wake up. Our son is quite hands on - however I am able to make us breakfast in the morning whilst looking after him, at one point I was making her lunch too.
In terms of leisure time I have offered to look after our son while she goes out to see friends in the evening or while she has a relaxing bath - which she refuses. She does go out for coffee, walks, shopping, lunch during the day with friends at least twice a week. However when I suggest that after we have put our son to bed for the night, that I might be able to go to the gym, she starts an argument about how she wants to talk to me at that time of day and how she doesn't get to talk to anyone on days when she stays in.
Wow you sound exhausted.
One point I'd make is why do you bath your son together? Why not alternate nights? You both need to ensure you get time off and it does only take one adult to look after a baby so should be possible.
You don't need to look after baby to shower either. You could leave for work and your wife could put the baby in the cot or playpen with some toys while she showers.
Try and stand back and think whether each stage is really necessary. Often a baby can be in a bouncy seat or play gym and then adult can be doing something else.
Challenge your partner on why you can't go out and make a plan to go out with friends. Encourage her to do likewise. While you are out ask your friends for babysitter recommendations and plan a "date night" with your wife while the baby is at home with a sitter and a bottle of expressed milk. If the baby screams at the babysitter initially this won't really matter. I'd aim to go out once a month and leave the baby, it really is worth it to keep your relationship alive. It is worth the money you pay the babysitter and more.
I think you need to tell her how you feel. Do you think she may be struggling with PND/anxiety? You both need/deserve some time out at some point, and the fact that she always declines going out anywhere could indicate that she's feeling down/depressed. Obviously don't want to diagnose over the Internet though!
I think I would be upset if DH wanted to go to the gym/pub 2 nights as week as if I did the same it would mean we never spent any time together. Sometimes after a day at home with the baby I am desperate for adult conversation! Agree with PP who says you should try and organise some time out together, a 'date night' or something (babysitter dependent). If you have no childcare could you have one night a week where you both make an effort to cook a nice meal and sit at the table etc and talk properly? It can be very easy to disconnect from each other in the new baby 'fog'.
I think you should have time to yourself too, to go to the gym or meet a friend in the pub. Maybe arrange for an evening when it has been one of the days she has been out and met friends, then she cannot complain about not having had any adult conversation that day.
I think it is unfair that you are doing the evening meal and bottles and cleaning
All my dh has to do is lift his knife and fork of an evening all washing done, house sparkling
But I understand her wanting to talk to you if on her own all day. You need to talk and even make a timetable up. These hard early days will pass though
Actually although you do your bit and deserve a break, looks like your dw is doing an 11 hour stretch on her own in the day, so possibly she's lonely and maybe worried about your relationship. Friends and other family can't always replicate the toe with your p. you need to sit down and talk. Has she considered going back to work? consider sleeping in another room - sleep is vital. Dh sleeps in a different room as he sleeps lightly and needs to function.
It does sound like a very long day for you, but I think the fact that she doesn't want to go out in the evenings suggests that she is struggling too - has she said why she doesn't want to go out? eg too tired? Doesn't feel comfortable leaving baby?
I think communication is key but it's easier said than done when you're both tired. Maybe try talking at the weekend (maybe while baby naps?) instead of in the evenings when you're both tired.
My husband slept in the spare room until the baby went in his own room, and while I resented him having a full night's sleep every night it did mean that at least one of us was fully functioning rather than us both being exhausted. Maybe some nights you could sleep elsewhere with earplugs if necessary? If baby is bottlefed maybe you could take turns at the weekends so your partner is getting some full nights too? If we'd been bottlefeeding I would definitely have expected my husband to help on Friday and Saturday nights when he didn't have to get up for work in the mornings.
And/or take turns with the 5.30am wake up and/or the evening feed? Also, when you say 'make breakfast', are you being over ambitious with this?
My husband did find it a big shock at the beginning but I think it is getting easier now baby is sleeping better and he's a lot more interactive.
The exercise sounds important if your health is suffering: could you find a way to do this at home? Or go for walks with the pram so that you are killing two birds with one stone, giving your partner a break and getting some exercise?
Could one or both of you shower in the evenings instead so you can get to work earlier?
Could you all go away somewhere for a night one weekend? Esp to parents or in laws where you will have lots of help with baby? Although it takes a bit of organisation to pack I found it really helpful to have the occasional break from laundry, washing up etc.
It's not fair. You need to ask if she will listen to you calmly for a while while you tell her how you've been feeling. And then listen to her.
Lots of ideas here. Good luck with this chat. Sounds like you need a 'regular' break or at least something to look forward to.
I couldn't get a break at all when I had my new baby and almost lost it as Dh worked full time and abroad every few months. You do your best. Congrats by the way.
I agree that with a pp that how hard this is for your wife does depend on the baby.
Rainbowspiral's suggestion about putting the baby in a playpen or cot with some toys while showering made me laugh a hollow laugh. Our DD did go through a brief phase (at 18 months) of not getting hysterical when I had a shower, so long as she was in the bathroom with me and could see me. Then she suddenly went back to finding any door between us unbearable - no matter how transparent it was - and the state she gets herself into simply isn't worth it. (She's fine being with DH, just can't stand not being attached to someone she loves). When she was your son's age I found that baths worked quite well, though. You don't need to put the baby down to run the bath, and once it was filled I found that DD was willing to sit in a bouncy chair beside the bath for a few minutes so long as she could see me. Going under to rinse hair had to be quick! Might be worth trying that.
Sitting in a bouncy chair or gym while I did something else also wasn't an option. My DH did all the cooking and tidying for quite a while. In the early days (first few months) he also put lunch aside for me, usually leftovers. Some days, heating it up and eating it was a challenge.
When your baby screams hysterically, it's like a knife to the heart. I certainly couldn't just let her cry while I cooked and cleaned. I was quite often desperate for the toilet by the time my DH got home.
Some babies are happy to be put down, others aren't. If you haven't had 24/7 with the later, you don't realise how hard it is.
I do agree with a different pp that sleep is key though - for both you and your partner. Exhaustion messes with your mind.
My DD is the same age as yours, this is how our week day looks.
6am - I'm up feeding DD, sometimes she'll go back to sleep, sometimes she won't.
7am - DH gets up and ready for work. If DD had gone back to sleep she's now up for the day.
7-8am Im playing with DD and trying to get dressed. She cries while I dress.
8am try to give DD some breakfast.
8-10am - once DD fed she cries while I get ready to walk the dog. She'll nap in the sling once we are out for a walk.
10-5.30 - feed DD 3-4 hourly through the day. Try desperately to get her to nap in the cot for longer than 30 minutes. When she's awake she demands my constant attention. Try to get some housework done, but basically don't. Then DH is home at around 5.30. I try to pass DD to him for a little while but she's tired and cranky so cries.
6pm - DH bathes DD while I sort out laundry I put in machine in the morning.
6.30-7pm - I feed DD and put her to bed while DH cooks dinner.
7-9pm - eat dinner, chat to DH and ologise for lack of housework done. Take it in turns to get DD back to sleep when she cries. I'll shower in the evening to make the next morning easier, then I go to bed by 9.
I'll then be woken at the very least, at midnight, 3-4 am, then at 6. DH will stir each of these times but basically sleep through.
Just another perspective. Each baby is different, so your partners day will look different. But as you can see, it's fairly full on even though DD isn't a newborn. She still demands constant attention, and her naps are short unless on me so I can't get much downtime.
Do you know what your partners day is like? It sounds like you think she's doing nothing! Talk to her and figure out a fair way to divide chores. I would say only one needs to do bath, then the other can cook evening meal. Healthy food isn't difficult to do, get yourself online to find healthy recipes get out with baby at the weekend for exercise - it will do you all some good.
Sorry for the essay!
TheGirl that's pretty much how our day looked at 6 months too! I was desperate for a break without having a baby attached to me when DH got home. I was usually in tears at that point.
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