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why do I feel like having a baby has ruined my marriage?(22 Posts)
Why do I feel like having a baby has ruined my marriage? Okay so I am new to mumsnet and just writing this as I don't really have any support and need to get it off of my chest. My DD is nearly 4 months old and my relationship with my husband is really strained. We have been married for 7 yrs and together for 11 yrs and up until baby have been strong. I know my current situation probably doesn't help things - my gran died last week and I have no family local to me for support. But I feel like I really have no reason to be finding things so difficult. My DD started teething this week so is being more fussy/needy than usual but she is still sleeping really well - 7hrs most nights. The problem with my husband is that I have to ask him to do anything and his response when I say he is not helping enough is that I didn't ask. Well frankly I find asking difficult at the best of times as I feel guilty and like I am failing because I have had to ask for help but I am fed of having to ask him to take care of his daughter. I feel like I shouldn't have to ask him all of the time and it would be nice if he just stepped in and did something every once in a while. Also when I do ask him to do stuff he is really whingey about it and huffs a lot. I just feel like I resent him for not helping enough and when I ask for help I feel guilty or like I am asking too much. Feel like I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. The end result is that we are falling out really frequently and if we are not arguing it is just because we are not talking that much. We don't even say hello to each other when he gets in from work anymore or say goodnight when we go to sleep. I just feel like we are going to drift apart and that I will wake up one morning to find nothing left of our relationship.
He's leaving it all to you and that's why you're struggling.
Babies are hard work.
They do put a strain on a relationship. If you parent as a team it's much better.
Did your DH read any parenting books before DD came along?
Like you I had to ask for help. Men generally are not intuitive, so they have to be asked.
Don't let that make you feel inadequate because you aren't.
Leave her with him when you pop to the shops. Get a break for yourself now and again.
Some gyms and other places have a creche. It gets better. But if he doesn't help you'll get resentful.
At this stage, I did write a list of things it was useful for dh to do and regular jobs like bathing dd. I expressed so he could do one night feed at 1am. We were both knackered. Made a six week food planner and got him to do online shop and collect once a week. Pencilled in time for him to himself as well.
I'm having the same issue OP and am also at the four month mark. DH is largely very good, we alternate bedtime routines, he does night feeds at the weekend and he takes him while I go for a run etc.
Then issue I have is with housework where he has to be asked to do things and then I feel like a nag!
We also have no family in the area so can't go out as a couple which I think is where the damage is really happening.
I guess we just have to power through until our babies get easier!
Babies arrive and turn people's worlds upside down even if things go well it's a massive shock to the system.
You need to communicate all this in a non angry manner . If your barely speaking about anything at all then of course your relationship will be on the slide.
I have just given DH a task for this morning after almost 20 years I do wish he would just see it. Personally I never feel guilty asking. Our deal is that when asked he has to do stuff because if he doesnt I will just stop doing anything for him at all.
I saw my older sisters just do stuff because their husbands were a bit shit at chores. Two are much older than me by almost 20 years and At retirement age, they have useless husbands that do bugger all and are now under their feet as retired.
DP did more than his fair share of baby care. But five years in, our relationship hasn't really bounced back to what it was like before.
Our focus has now changed. We both love DS more than we love each other, and the energy spent on him leaves little for being a couple.
I think this is normal. In the future either we'll rebond when we have time, or split up. Who knows.
Well you need to decide now to put your big girl pants on and this evening when he comes in say hello. It starts small.
Every evening when Dh came home from work I would hand him Ds1 and say here's Daddy! That way I could get a mini break from the holding and playing and we would talk about my day and Dh's day.
Weekends where there are two of you, meal plan or batch cook. I used a food processor to chop onions or buy frozen chopped onion. That way I could cook a chilli and have 4 meals for 2 in the freezer. My sister was the queen of this and used to batch cook about 5 different meals on a Saturday but she and her Dh worked full time so dinner was an easy take it out the freezer meal.
Get your Dh to do a bath time either every night or on certain nights so he interacts with your baby and realises how bloody hard it is.
Also decide stuff that needs doing and make a list for your Dh, they do sometimes need pointing in the right direction.
And remember you are on maternity leave, that means looking after a baby, not housework leave. And I say that as a SAHM of 11 years.
As an aside a much older woman colleague informed me as a bride fresh back from honeymoon that men were just messy and women had to put up and shut up. I didn't like that.
We really don't have to but it's all down to if we as women have the balls for want of a better word to tackle them. When I go away for a few days I just walk out the door. He did try the what can I eat when your away, what about food? I just said, see that big white thing in the corner it's called a fridge you buy food and put it in it and then take it out and eat it. But I have known women cook dinners for a few days and freeze them for their husbands if their going away.
I worked FT for the first 15 years of our relationship, both of us did long hours housework was split any attempt at trying to make me like his Mother was met with a retort. I have never felt like a nag, The classic retort was if you just did I wouldn't have to say.
I think it is perfectly natural for the relationship to feel strained, you both are tired, you are very busy and you are not having much time to reconnect each day.
You say he is not helping, but you also say that you feel ackward at asking for help. DON'T.
It would be great if your OH could realise about your needs or those of the baby and volunteer to help. But if he cannot see the signs, you may want to kindly spell them for him.
This is a very important time as a family, as behaviour patterns are forming on how life will be for the next 20 years (no pressure there). If you don't want your children to have a dad who sits to watch the telly while mum slaves around, just get him.a list of chores and leave him alone with the baby for a few hours a week. It adds to the work and may be frustrating, but it is worth doing.
If he doesn't know what the job involves, he simply can't understand what you are going through or what help you may need.
even if they bloody should
Babies are such hard work! I can honestly say that it really does get better and better. We're at 6 months and 3 weeks old and I can honestly say that the six month mark was a brake through for us. I will get easier and you'll have time to address your relationship then.
The rules you set in the first year, echo through the rest of your marriage. No pressure. I'm talking mainly about the rules you set in your own mind.
The absolute most important thing is to not cave in to a huff. If he huffs, you make sure he gets asked to do that job more and more. You ignore the attitude at the time as if it isn't happening. You do nothing to jolly him along or make it easier for him. Never ever reward a huff .You really do not want to train him that the way to get out of jobs is by huffing. You don't want to train yourself that his huffs must be avoided at all costs.
Secondly, telling him what to do is fucking annoying if you have to do it constantly. Far easier to do it once. List of jobs that are his. (Laundry is a good one of the biggies). Do not do them for him. Do not rescue him if he bollocks them up. Behave as if you are physically incapable of doing his jobs.
Thirdly, stop thinking that being a good mum means being a good housewife and super home organiser. If you don't want to be treated like a fifties housewife, don't act like one, sort out those deeply ingrained beliefs that have you feeling guilty for expecting a man to wash his own pants.
Fourthly, talk openly about "when I go back to work" and such like, so he remembers that having you at his beck and call doing most of his child care for him for free is a temporary situation.
Oh, and I forgot another one that was important to us. I said quite openly "I am terrified of becoming one of those drab, resentful women in boring loveless marriages." He feared the same for himself. We had a few great chats about what we wanted our lives to be like.
You probably had these conversations before having children, where you imagined yourselves as the best parents ever.
It is a different conversation 4 months in, when you are shocked at the direction things are going. Obviously that stuff was never going to happen to you and him. It only happens to weak women with horrible husbands and unequal relationships who don't understand about feminism. Ha, ha, ha, no.
Those conversations about our "ideal us" in the face of reality were far more useful than the typical ones people have about "Do more around the house." "Don't take me for granted." "I am working long hours and I'm worried about money" "I want more sex"
Try your hardest to make time for each other. You still need nights out and some alone time.
Don't forget you are husband and wife as well as mum and dad.
The money you spend on a babysitter will be money well spent.
RunRabbit, I never though about talking about the ideal us, but it's a great way of having the discussion framed in a more positive way. I don't want to become resentful either, but I find it hard to verbalize the big picture in the middle of little things.
I was coming on here to write pretty much the same thing. Baby is 5 months and i generally do everything for her. Some days i wonder if i want to be with my bf and other days i know i do.
I also have to ask him to do anything around the house most of the time. I think he thinks i sit watching tv all day if i don't go out!
It's easy to fall into the trap of the mother being seen as the "expert" on baby care and therefore the father has to be asked to "help". The world will generally set you up to think this way, from advertising to family/friend's expectations.
If you've fallen into a pattern where you do things, all (or most) of the time by default, it's unlikely that he'll just step up out of the blue and start doing child care tasks unasked - if questioned he'll probably say something about waiting for you to ask, or that he doesn't know how, or that he'd probably do it wrong.
Can you leave him with dd and go somewhere so that he can get used to doing feeding/changing/cleaning on his own? Or get him to take dd out somewhere?
He won't have anyone to ask if you're not there, he'll just have to get on with it and muddle through, just like you did when dd was first born. He'll not break her, and he'll not break himself.
You can also agree certain jobs that are his jobs - for eg dh did bath and bed time most of the time for our two when they were little. I didn't get involved unless he wasn't available or I just fancied doing it for a change. Dh really valued being 50/50 involved with the care our children, but I can easily see how we could have fallen into me doing 90% of the work and my own mother initially disapproved of how much I had "poor dh" doing .
The baby hasn't caused the problem.
Your husband failing to step up and be a parent has caused the problem. That's not the baby's fault. It's his fault. Babies don't raise themselves and he needs to accept his responsibility for the child he helped to create.
I utterly agree with making sure you go out and leave dh in charge for a good three or four hours at least.
Six months was a turning point for us. DS is now ten months and we are back on track really, but it's normal to feel like somebody has thrown a grenade into your marriage in the early days. Communication is the key here, and you need to start talking to each other.
I have found that backing off a bit when DH is with DS helps, I think I was undermining his confidence by hovering around and reinforcing the notion that I was the expert on DS. Now I just leave him to it and he figures things out himself. In relation to housework, I do the lions share but I'm not working just now so I think that's fair. We have had some frank chats about how this will change when I'm back at work though, so we both know what each other's expectations are. I think it's useful to discuss this stuff before it becomes an issue rather than in the heat of the moment. Don't let things build up and talk, talk, talk. Yes, baby is the most important member of the family just now but there would be no baby without you and DH, your relationship is important too.
Oh yes, "you didn't ask".
"Just tell me what you need me to do and I'll do it".
A lot of men seem to think like this. They see you as the mother and the household manager, i.e. the boss. They are the underling and expect you to delegate to them.
Tell him that he needs to use his initiative, as an intelligent and functioning human being. Because you have enough shit to do and think about without needing to devote headspace to telling him what needs doing.
There was an absolutely brilliant article on this subject that got posted on MN a few months back. I sent it to my DH (another "you just need to tell me what to do" type") and he really got it. It really made a difference to his behaviour around the house. I'll see if I can find it.
I think some things that will help
- have a chat about chores and how you feel like you're doing everything. Talk about what chores he can take over. Don't be strict about allocation as that can lead to resentment if it's not done. Dh and I used to do a blitz every night for 20 mins and got the kitchen and living room clean before we sat down together.
- treat each other like you would treat a friend. I don't mean exactly but greet each other, have a hug, talk to each other, listen and go out.
- spend time together and both of you have time for yourselves.
- go out as a family. When you're out walking or travelling is a good time to just chat and laugh as there are no chores nagging you.
- do you have friends you can go out and about with? Do you go to any groups? If not, start going out and build a network of friends.
It is hard and those were the things that helped me.
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