Postpartum and Beyond

Help Me Help You

How You and Your Partner Can Stay Partners

When you first bring Baby home from the hospital you may think that there will be no problems between you and your partner. You’ll probably think that you have a strong relationship and that everything will just fall into place. If you’re lucky enough that everything works out then I’m so happy for you. For me and my husband it took a bit of figuring out. A few months into Little P’s life I realized that not only did I need some extra support, but so did my husband.

Since I’ve finally come to that realization, I wanted to compile a list of things that you can use to help you and your partner continue to help and support each other at least throughout Baby’s early months.

1. Talk to Each Other

It’s my favorite piece of advice.
Take time out of both of your days and once Baby is asleep talk to each other. Try to keep it to adult stuff, weather, politics, how you’re doing, whatever. You’re still people even though you have a baby now. It’s okay to spend some time in your day talking about something other than how many poopy diapers you had to change.
If you need to you can also add in a day where you talk about things that are bugging you (more specifically about what the other person does or how to raise Baby). Maybe you need more help doing laundry or what have you, bring it up during that time.

2. Have a Specific Daddy Day or Mommy Day

If one of you works, the one who stays at home probably feels like they need to do a lot of the childcare stuff. Maybe you both work and one partner is still picking up more of the childcare stuff.
It’s very important that both of you gets a complete day to themselves to just relax. If only one parent works, then choose a day (or even a few hours) that is completely up to the working parent to take care of the baby. This gives the one who stays at home a chance to be by themselves (trust me, you will need at least a little bit of time).
If you both work, then give each of yourselves a day. Maybe one parent takes Saturday and the other takes Sunday.

The main thing is that you’ll both know your roles on that day. One of you will get a bunch of time learning your baby and the other will be able to relax for a little bit.
Plus if you’re both home, you will both get to help each other if needed.
The goal is to get a break, not to completely abandon your partner on this day!

3. Get a Safe Word

When you are completely overwhelmed while taking care of Baby, figure out how to tell your partner. Obviously with a newborn, you can very easily just say something along the lines of “Take it, I can’t do it”, but if you have a child who can understand a little more, that’s a rude thing to say.
Get a phrase that you can say to your partner to let them know that you are at the end of your rope and you need them to step in and take over while you collect yourself.

4. Neither of You Can Do It All

You are both here to help each other. Try not to get caught up in keeping score or assuming your partner can handle whatever they’re dealing with.
Maybe you’re better at figuring out why Baby is crying, maybe they’re better at getting Baby to sleep. Offer help to each other! If you see your partner is struggling, then ask them if they need help. You’re both going through this together, don’t just leave your partner struggling because you assume they can do it.

5. Show Each Other Affection

If you’re staying at home with Baby all day I know it can get exhausting being in constant physical contact with someone.
(Don’t think so now? Just wait, your time may be coming.)
Maybe at the end of the day, you just don’t feel like being touched. That isn’t fair to your partner, or to yourself.

Now, I’m not saying you should force yourself to get into the mood, but take a few minutes to hug your partner or something similar. Hold their hand, snuggle up against each other, give each other a kiss. Just take a moment to remind each other that yes, you’re both tired, but you do still care for each other.
Saying I love you is great, but every once in a while, a hug really goes the extra mile in giving each other comfort.

6. Be Understanding

Don’t get mad that you can go a whole day without help from your partner and your partner always seems to need help with Baby. Don’t be upset that you go to work, come home, and the dishes still aren’t done.

You’re both going through things. You both have different tolerances for what they can handle with Baby or dealing with their work days. If something isn’t done, don’t just be angry with your partner. Ask if they can get to it now, or if they’d like you to take care of it.
Also, if your partner needs help with Baby, don’t be upset! You had to figure out Baby too, if you’re more in tune with what Baby needs then help your partner figure it out as well.

Just try to take a second to put yourselves in their shoes.

Thoughts

As long as you both are trying to do right by Baby and to each other, then you’re doing good. Try to cut each other some slack and really get your communication skills going. Don’t shut the other person out because you don’t want to make their day harder. If you’re having a tough time, tell your partner. Maybe they just needed to hear you were struggling to realize they needed to help out more.
You were partners before Baby and you can keep being partners with Baby!

So, let me know what you think.
Do you think I oversimplified things? Do you have tricks on how you and your partner stayed partners throughout Baby’s early years?
Let me know!

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