How to Keep from Divorcing the Father of Your Newborn Child
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For centuries having and raising children has fallen under the domain of the mother, while fathers were responsible for protecting and providing for the home. In the last few decades, this order has changed as more women have gone back to work and more fathers, by choice and compulsion, have taken on primary child-rearing roles.
But the balance of power and information is definitely out of whack here. Moms have biology on their side, no question. "Mother's intuition" is not to be underestimated and every day their bodies give them clues on how to adjust and thrive with their newborns. Society is conditioned to heave support on new moms – books, recipes, doting mothers and mothers-in-law, all pile in as soon as the pregnancy test is positive.
Men on the other hand, receive a pat on the back and a guide on how to save for college.
It's no wonder that first-time dads are ill-equipped to deal with the change, confusion and let's face it, hormones, that characterize early parenthood.
So how do you emerge from the shock of childbirth, with those twenty extra pounds and a colicky newborn and not resent the man that knocked you up in the first place? Here are my tips:
1. Communicate, communicate, communicate: Men are not mind readers (surprise!). And when your needs are changing every hour he can't be expected to keep up. Be specific about what you want and when you want it.
2. Give up a bit of control: Let dad have a go at putting the baby to sleep one night. A magical thing may happen: he may succeed. And his competence and confidence with the baby spells your freedom.
3. Assign territories: You may get feeding and he may get changing. Rock-paper-scissor it, and get out of the way.
4. Who's the boss? Mothers, mothers-in-law, friends with kids, doctors, everyone will have an opinion on how you should raise your child. Decide together how you want to raise your child and whose advice really matters.
5. Promise to reprioritize: Plan a date after which you will start refocusing your own relationship as a couple. Just thinking about it will help remind you why you did this in the first place.
The first year with a new baby is tough and even the most together couples get thrown for a loop. And while it feels like all your energy is directed towards staying afloat with this new being in your life, you will be thankful that you made the effort to make your husband an ally in the end.
Kaamna Bhojwani-Dhawan is the co-author of the "Giant Book of 'How-To' Lists for the New Dad", the only book for first-time fathers written by moms!
To know about Kaamna as a Mompreneur, click here