Parenting your son doesn’t put you on a pedestal

I just stumbled upon this article and sent it to my husband to read, “Just Because I Get Up in the Night Doesn’t Mean I Deserve Praise“.

The irony is the story that husband describes is exactly how our day went.

I’m sick again with a cold and dealing with an out of sorts/cranky baby. I’m not sure if it’s teething, a cold or a combo of the two. His schedule and his normally cheery personality have left the building.

You know how it goes when you are sick. Mom life doesn’t get put on hold. Your symptoms keep you awake at night, then just when you have finally passed out from exhaustion, the baby decides to wake up to nurse/pee/just because it’s midnight party time.

Last night I couldn’t take it any more. Wyatt had been up multiple times before midnight. When he was wide awake at 1:30 am, I told Mike it was his turn. OK, fine. I may have yelled I’m fucking exhausted and I’m not going to get better if you don’t take a damn turn! But… that was after he simply told Wyatt to go back to sleep and then ignored him. 

Well, he took his turn and stayed up with the little man til 3:30 am. I later learned that Wyatt did go back to sleep as Mike rocked him downstairs. Mike just didn’t go to sleep himself until Wyatt woke at 3:30 am and he decided to take him back to our bedroom.

When Mike left for work this morning, I thanked him for getting up and told him I was already starting to feel better. He replied with, “Well I’m tired now, so I better be getting an extra long nap this evening!“.

My response, “You are fucking kidding me right?”

As the story goes, a husband does not deserve extra breaks, extra credit or extra ass kissing for simply being a parent. A Mom deserves to be spelled off at times especially if she is sick.  I told my husband at supper time that I don’t feel like he’s on our team lately. He’s been all “Team Mike”.

Honestly, he’s had it really easy for being a father with a newborn son. He hasn’t curbed any of his social activities. In fact, he actually took on one more activity this winter. He currently goes out 2x a week for bowling and curling, not including other random social activities like wing nights with the boys.

My Mom tried to tell me it’s my fault for “letting him“, but I don’t feel like our relationship is based on one controlling the other like that. My issue has to do with his sense of entitlement. When I was sick the last time, I asked Mike to cancel one of his bowling games. Then, I heard all about it for the next few weeks.

Mike tells me to go out more. He thinks I need more time for myself,  but I’m not interested in that. I want to spend time with my son. I want to spend time together as a family. I’m ok with how my social life is. The issue has more to do with communication and respect within parenting roles than a division of social activity.

I want to feel comfortable acknowledging my needs and not feel guilty when I ask for them to be met. I just want my husband to listen, sympathize and understand when I ask for help. And when he does follow through with his role as a parent, I want him to drop the sense of entitlement.

Right now, the resentment is building (especially since he crawled into bed at 9pm tonight after watching the ball game this evening) and resentment leads to anger. I need to nip this one in the butt before it festers.

My best friend keeps telling me we are just still working things out. She experienced similar situations with her partner. Their daughter is 9 months old and for them, it’s much better now.

Is this true? Is this just typical new Dad brain? Will we come to a common understanding before I go crazy?

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21 thoughts on “Parenting your son doesn’t put you on a pedestal

  1. This entitlement that some parents seem to feel about not parenting, or that their life doesn’t have to change when they have kids just perplexes me. I would love a night every once in a while but mostly, I had a kid to create a family that I want to spend the majority of my time with! I’m sorry you’re in this struggle. It’s all too common.

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  2. A colleague of mine commented once about how her mother (who lives with her family and does a lot of caregiving for them) was going on a vacation, and how she and her partner now have to babysit their kid for the weekend. I’m not usually outspoken, but I responded with, “babysit?! Isn’t that called ‘parenting’!? Granted, some families have different care dynamics, but I was just shocked. I don’t have any advice for you, since I’m sorta in a similar situation with DW. Once or twice a week, I miss the opportunity to get Dumplin’ into the childcare hours at the gym where I work out, so the only way for me to workout is if DW watches him. It’s a delicate situation because she’s soo pregnant right now, but the way that she texts me while I’m gone really sounds like she’s just watching the clock until I get home to pass him back off to me. I confronted her about it once, a couple of months ago, and she explained that she felt like she couldn’t help him when he was fussy- no boobs- so it was frustrating for her to care for him when I’m not around. I wonder if now she’s just gotten used to this feeling, and that I’m Dumplin’s main caregiver because of it. I wonder if it’s the same for you and Mike. If so, I do think it will become more balanced later on, when Wyatt and Dumplin’ aren’t so dependent on us for milk.

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  3. Also some food for thought- different people have different social needs that I think help them to feel balanced and not tied down. I notice this a lot with me and DW. She is a homebody, and would be fine having no social obligations (very introverted), but I need my sports and social time or I feel really trapped. And when I feel trapped, I get resentful. I get that I’m a parent now, but I still think that I can find balance with both, and that they are not mutual,y exclusive.

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    • So what I’m saying I guess is that you might not be able to get Mike to successfully give up his social commitments, but maybe figure out what you need for you to feel more satisfied with your parenting dynamics – more help in the afternoon, he makes dinner and cleans up before he goes out, he takes a nighttime shift more often- whatever it is, make sure that he knows what you need, since he’s getting what he needs.

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  4. I actually have a draft of a very long blog about my hubby and I having similar troubles. It’s not really that I feel like he doesn’t pull his weight or goes out too often (he’s pretty antisocial), I just feel like he never goes out of his way to help me out, cut me some slack, or do that little extra something just because it would make my life easier. Its that little extra effort that is missing. And yes, it’s also that he thinks he deserves a round of fucking applause for doing things I do 500,000 times a day without acknowledgement. Very frustrating!

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  5. I do think the first several months of a baby’s life are extremely hard on a relationship no matter what. It’s just hard. I think you are doing the right thing by continuously communicating about this with him. I completely agree with you that he shouldn’t get extra praise or extra long naps or whatever for helping to parent your son. I’m hoping that as you continue to talk about this, things will get easier and better, and he’ll have a better understanding of his role. And while I understand that a marriage is not about control, I think it’s ok to tell him that you’d prefer him to dial down his social life a bit until Wyatt is, say, a year old or something. I think that’s totally reasonable!

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  6. I’m sorry you are going through this!! It seems to me that a baby complicates marriage as we work to figure out our new roles and our new family dynamic.
    I will say for us, we have a delicate balance because we both work from home. We have child care 2 days a week, but we also have no help 3 days a week. So, our issue is our work commitments. I constantly feel like my job/clients don’t matter in Mr. MPB’s world as much as his clients. I’ve been forced to cancel meetings at the last minute or bring baby because he forgot to tell me he booked a meeting. And what drives me even more crazy is on my scheduled working times he tends to plunk baby in his bouncer and just work and be annoyed at baby when he fusses for not letting him get his work done. Where as during his scheduled work times I don’t try to work. I play and interact with baby. We go to what I called organized tummy time classes, soon swimming classes, and we also read, play tummy time, visit friends, and get groceries.
    But, I’d also suspect that Mr. MPB is bitter because he does more of the middle of the night feedings then I do. I chalk this up to his night owl personality and my morning personality. But, I think sometimes it drives him crazy that I don’t have more sleepless nights. In fact, we’ve had one distinctly large argument over this where it because evident to me that he resented this arrangement. (Keep in mind I’m usually up between 4am and 5am, it’s not like I’m sleeping the day away and everytime he’s been responsible for the early morning shift he sleeps through it and I end up getting up anyways).
    I guess what I’m saying is that while not the exact same, we have our own version of what you discussed. It’s freaking hard some days. And it’s hard to know what battle is worth having and when it’s worth having it. I guess what I’ve learned is that it’s better to have it when you can discuss it and not just yell/cry. But, that’s so much easier said then done!
    Sending you lots of love my friend!

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  7. Marriage + baby = hard. Really hard. I have no real advice to offer because trust me–I’m not in a position with my own marriage where my advice is worth a damn–but I do want to offer a fistbump of solidarity.

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  8. This really reminds me of my husband. I can totally relate to you. Any time he has to do anything he deems as “extra” around the house I hear it about it for days, or weeks. When I was recovering from my egg retrieval he complained non stop about all the extra house work he had to do (like making dinner and doing the dishes) to the point where even tho I didn’t feel well I wanted to just do it myself so he would shut up! I am actually pretty worried about what is going to happen when we have a baby. Im sure the words “are you fucking kidding me” will come out of my mouth more than once. Parenting, managing the house, ect is the responsibility of BOTH adults, and sometimes you have to pick up the slack for the other one…not something to complain about…..just something you do. I totally feel you!

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  9. I think a long talk and a nice date night will help! I agree you shouldn’t feel guilty for telling him your needs and he should realize that he created a family he didn’t get you a puppy for it to be your responsibility a family is 2 parents and the kids not mom and the kids alone when the hubby is right there. their is a difference between being their and being present I agree with your team philosophy hopefully you two can talk things out and really listen to what the other one is saying or expecting… I am pregnant with my first but I also have 2 step sons so hubby has a been there done that attitude and we both talk to each other a lot about what we expect from each other when the baby comes and hopefully this will resolve a lot of future arguments lol

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  10. Really glad you posted this. DH and i had our first little tussle on this topic last night. He was tired, I was tired and then he wanted to stay up a bit to eat his soup…. Which he spilled all over the duvet.

    Cue frustration from both of us as he cleaned up all the layers, I breastfed and got tense, knowing that putting baby down was gonna be delayed and then when I asked DH to dress baby for bed so I could brush my teeth and pee, I could hear him muttering under his breath and being kind of frustrated with baby as he cried. The thing is, DH is klutzy and has big fumbly fingers and all the snaps and holes confuse him and when smooch is crying, DH gets frantic. Instead of taking a deep breath and supporting him to take his time, I made a smart ass remark that it wasn’t baby’s fault he spilled his soup and maybe if he spent more time figuring it out, the clothing changes wouldn’t be so hard.

    Argh. Cue a “quiet” argument which I am SURE Smoochie picked up on, got upset about and then cried and only sipped at the breast for comfort for two hours. All while I was so tired I couldn’t keep my eyes open.

    DH realized he had basically tantrumed his way into a corner (usually that’s my role!) and then took baby for four hours so I could sleep.

    We talked about it in the am and were agreed we need we need to hear each other more, and has to stop fecking eating in our bedroom 😒😀

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  11. I really hope that B doesn’t do stuff like this when this kid is born, because I won’t be able to keep my mouth shut about it. When people say they’re “babysitting” their own kids, or act like they need bonus points for doing parenting things, it drives me insane! My sister is kinda dealing with this now, and my niece and nephew are 10 and 5. My BIL spends most of his time at work, on business trips, at the gym, or out with friends. She’s finally had enough. She won’t really talk to me about it because she doesn’t want to stress me, but from what I could drag out of my mom it sounds like they are in counseling and trying to get things to a better place. It seems that some men (and women, I suppose) just feel like life shouldn’t change too much after kids come into the picture. I don’t have any answers, other than try to be open and kind with your words and talk things through. I hope things get better for you soon…and that you’re feeling better soon as well!

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  12. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had this conversation in our home. My husband was working out of town for 16 weeks and now that he’s home I feel similarly. He’s so used to doing what he wants when he wants that sometimes the extra help is an afterthought. So normal. You two will find your routine and then it will change all over again and you’ll have to sort through things again. Hang in there!

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  13. This sounds all too familiar. Periodically I have to remind my husband it isn’t all about him anymore. This second pregnancy is kicking my butt (I want to sleep ALL the time) so I’m not pulling my weight right now and I’m needing his help more than before around the house. Add in a toddler who has decided the last couple of days she doesn’t want to go to bed at the normal time. Thankfully he’s been great about getting her to bed so I can get a little extra sleep. It seems like this issue comes up for us every few months, then we’re fine again for a while. I have to keep reminding myself that if I need help I need to ask. It’s easier than expecting him to figure out what I need. I think he also forgets that with my position at work I’m asked a lot of questions during the day, so to come home and not be needed for a little bit is an ideal night for me. Tonight Mackenzie and I sat on the floor together watching tv while she played with her baby doll and it was perfect for that 30 minutes.

    It’s all about finding balance and adjusting to change. Definitely not easy at times but I have no doubts you and your husband will work it out.

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  14. Oh man. This was us for probably almost 18 months. Especially after I started working part time, which is now full time. We fought and kept the attitude of “I did this, now you owe me” blah blah. Then, when my husband’s job shifted and he had 2 months working from home, he saw and experienced everything that I do. And he thanked me. He admitted that he’d been wrong to expect so much and on and on.
    I know that my husband needs more sleep than I need. He just does. So, now we have a system that works. He does bath and bedtime and when he has a day off work, he’s the #1 parent. Haha.
    It does take time to figure out your “groove”, and it may take an event for him to really see it for what it is. Tell him you’re going out, then go to bed. Lololololol

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  15. I have to say we are probably on the opposite end of the spectrum. My husband does so much, I should show him how grateful I am more often! I hope you guys are able to get more on the same page and I’m so sorry you are feeling this way.

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  16. Think Im late to this party but the struggles between partners in the first year are real. And I think it continues each time the child goes through a major change/developmental leap. That being said, I’m a huge communicator but I’m also a ball buster. I know my husband and sometimes I have to be real clear with my expectations and concerns. And repeat them. I’m sure I’m not always a dream to live with but that’s too bad because some days he isn’t either. And my logic is that I get less sleep then he does so I’m going to say my peace so that I at least get a good sleep because I’ve said what I needed to. Sounds harsh I’m sure but that’s how we cope/manage/survive haha. Good luck!

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  17. It’s so so tough when couples have different social/emotional needs. my wife would rather stay home ANY night and cuddle and watch TV, and I could go out for drinks with my pals basically every night. We’ve always been like that, even before our brood of kiddos. But that damn sleep deprivation is a killer for your WHOLE DAMN LIFE! When you lack sleep, it’s like your whole life falls apart and nothing makes sense and you wanna kill everyone! BUt getting praised for taking care of your kids is crazy! I won’t lie though, I’ve done it to my wife a couple of times and i got my ear chewed off like you have no idea!

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