Relationship worries post baby(8 Posts)
I am a 44 year old man living with my partner, an 11 year old stepson, and our soon to be 9 month old baby.
Seeking some advice really on relationship changes post the baby being born.
Seems like all the time we are focussing only on the kids and seem to have no time for each other any more. Her family is abroad and my elderly mother is quite far away and too frail to help us. Our support network is almost zero as a result.
We almost never argued before baby and now we seem to be constantly arguing about what appear to be trivial things.
I work full time, my partner works part time (evenings and weekends) so we always have the baby.
I take turns to do the night feeds, do the washing/ironing, preparing food when i am at home, however, there is always something "wrong" with what I have done.
My partner suffers very badly before and during her period and for these few days I am literally walking on eggshells.
Is it normal for the first months after baby to be so hard. I am really really wanting to support my partner but her anger and mood swings are draining my resolve.
What am I doing wrong? What more can I do to support her (emotionally and help wise).
Really concerned that this crack will get wider if we do not address it. I know I lover her (and sure this is reciprocated) but feels like we are drowning in a lack of sleep, chores and never ending cycles of child problems.
I think you need to talk to her about this ideally in a fairly calm moment. But yes, I found it very hard adjusting to life with a baby at age 30. If she's got an 11 year gap between her children I guess it may have been more of a shock for her than she imagined it would? I would guess she's tired out and thats at the root of this. The PMT needs dealing with as well, does she accept there's an issue? Other than that, can you take the baby for a morning when you're not working so she has some time for herself? That was the best thing my DH ever did for me, and our children have great memories of that time with him
She does not think there is any PMT issue but I spend the other 3 weeks of the month dreading that 4th week. I just know that week everything in life will be bad and it is all my fault!
Hope we get through this as at the minute it is not getting easier
I offer and do take the kids to allow her to pursue her own interests.
I don’t think working alternate schedules and not using childcare is working. Presumably she looks after the baby every weekday and instead of relaxing of an evening or at the weekend she’s at work. And you do the same in reverse. It sounds exhausting, especially with a baby that doesn’t sleep through. I would look into sleep training which can be gentle and doesn’t necessarily need to be controlled crying. A 9 month old shouldn’t need (multiple?!) night feeds, especially if bottle fed. Obviously not possible right now but when you can I’d examine your working patterns and get some childcare. There’s no way I could do what you and your partner are doing without being at breaking point. Honestly, I’d probably laugh if you suggested time to pursue interests at me, how does that fit in with providing full time childcare during the day plus an evening and weekend job?!
When normal life resumes i have been working 08.30 to 17.00, and my partner working 18.00 to 23.00 3 times a week and a 5 hour shift on a Saturday or Sunday.
When I am at work she has baby and vice versa.
Childcare is too bloody expensive. My partner does not work full time as she would essentially be working to py for childcare and not much else.
My salary is good but we need extra money and this is the only fit for us.
I can relate to this dynamic but from your wife's perspective. It is objectively very very hard, especially with no support system (and btw totally normal for a 9 month old to wake through the night ). I would guess that your wife suffers very much with this situation too, and being angry is her default mode for when she feels insecure or threatened inside. So most likely she doesn't mean it at all, but is so stuck in her own stress that it's hard to break that dynamic. Perhaps you have some behaviours that you revert to in stressful times that are in turn hard for her.
What might help is to talk. Be compassionate with each other (even if deep down you feel you have it worse, or want your own suffering to be acknowledged too). It might turn a vicious cycle into a virtuous one - the more she feels supported and 'seen' by you the more will she also notice everything you are already doing for her. Try to see the two of you on the same team, and both struggling and in need of some compassion.
I echo what others have said, you guys need an honest conversation about everything.
Me and OH have an 18 month old and hard times varied. Wasnt linear is what i'm trying to say.
Relationships are the hardest thing, know that working on it, finding time to talk is all so essential work and weldone you for posting as you clearly will find a way through together.
With the childcare or help I know its expensive but what about just doing something shortterm, to get thorough this bad patch? eg a weekly cleaner for a few weeks or pay a nanny for one or two weeks and see it as a once a week morning family holiday (just for you two).
The sleep thing/night waking is completely normal at 9 months unfort yeh.
With the pmt thing, with your OH saying she doesn't have it, try googling johari window, this is a tool used in cbt in seeing ourselves more clearly. there is a 'blind side' -others see it and we dont. We all have them, (even buddist monks), it could be worth both looking at it and seeing if you relate. It might help her to see she does things she doesnt realise (much like you will too, as we all do). The blind side also has nice things to it, ways we are utterly lovely without seeing it. So the convo can be a happy one.
Its just about increasing self awareness, the only way to a contented life/happiness in our relationships.
This is a really tough time for both of you OP. The first two years are hard anyway, but harder for you than most - it's rare for both partners to be working and have no childcare or family help at all. You must both be exhausted!
Are you sure you couldn't afford some childcare? Just for a couple of mornings a week?
Be kind to each other. It will get easier eventually and you'll have more time and energy for each other.
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