…or Partner/Relationship, delete as appropes.
Have you ever noticed how in magazines, on blogs, mummy sites, generally everything, when they’re giving advice on how to navigate this crazy world as a new mum, it doesn’t take long before the relationship advice starts being helpfully doled out?
How YOU must prioritise your relationship? YOU must make time for your partner? YOU must try your best to see to his physical needs “as soon as you feel ready (but make sure it’s 6 weeks postpartum)”, even when you don’t want to because then he’ll be happier and then so will the household (and also “because it’s your duty” woven in, in unspoken words)?
Well, I fancied balancing the books a bit.
Now there are so many fantastic fathers and partners who bring their A-Game to family life, and I’m lucky enough to have one of these myself, and I’m not saying the menfolk have it easier.
But it’s undeniable how much of the “advice” is aimed at what women are doing wrong, what women need to do differently, what women need to put more energy into and the last I checked it took two to tango.
So, husbands! It’s your lucky day! Here are the only 14 tips YOU need to keep your relationship alive after having a baby!
Because, of course, its all on you. If your relationship breaks down, it’s completely your fault. Buckle up:
1) Give her some bloody space
Afford her plenty of regular time to have her own personal space, both physical and mental. She cannot give from an empty cup. Allow her to fill her own so that she has the right sort of positive energy she truly wants to be able to top up yours with. This time must be treated as sacredly as she treats your work time, if you have it. No interruptions unless an emergency.
2) Your physical needs do not come first
How about, instead of, “see to his physical needs and then he may help around the house and with the children, do nice things for you and connect with you emotionally”, we have: “help around the house and with the kids, do nice things for her, connect with her emotionally and then she may be not so utterly depleted that a part of her wants to see to both your physical needs and her own, if she is there, mentally.”
3) Be consistently undickish
Instead of being a dick to her because you’re focussing all your energy on the fact she was too exhausted/had way too much on her plate/could not find a babysitter for date night, you consistently help out and take a decent load so that she actually has the will and energy, the keyword being CONSISTENTLY, not just for one day because you think you might be compensated in some wifely way.
4) Tell the beautiful truth often
Tell her she is a strong, beautiful person, whether or not she has “put on a bit of lippy to feel like herself again”.
5) Actually do the thing
If she asks for help with something and you agree, actually do the thing (I know. Cavalier).
6) Just do it
…or better still, remember from the time she last asked for help with stuff around the house or the children and pre-emptively offer to do it. Or just do it.
7) Realise how touched-out she is
If she suddenly doesn’t like being touched somewhere she used to before it’s probably because she just had her body taken over by another person for 40 weeks, still has it taken over by that same person now and was likely physically handled in ways she would rather forget by doctors and nurses during the whole journey of getting aforementioned person here safely. Just be cool about it. Give it time.
8) Look after yourself
She might cook for you and wash your clothes or she might not, but either way she is not your servant and keeping you warm, fed and safe is not her number one priority right now. That title is held by someone else.
9) Practice ‘going out etiquette’
If you’re invited out with friends, do the decent thing, like she would do with you, and check there were no plans she had on that day first. Wouldn’t she also make sure you had everything you needed for that night set up, do as much of the parenting as she could right up until the moment she needed to start getting ready rather than mentally checking out and text throughout the night to check you’re ok? Hint hint.
10) Make sure she knows that she and your children are more important than work
Unless you’re job is on-call, clock off from work. Turn off your work phone. Do your set hours. If you’re called to see if you can help out at the office when you’d already had family time planned, you say no. “But it might impact my career“…yeah, I can’t totally see how that one occasion might affect your entire career and put the whole thing on hold for months, maybe even years…wouldn’t it be frustrating if that happened to you or anyone else in your household. Hmm. Wouldn’t it just….
11) Give her a lie-in
Observe what breakfasts the children have and how they’re made. On one of your days off, tell her to lie in bed and get the children fed without asking where everything is or how to do it (don’t forget hers too).
12) Be her partner, not a silent relative
Back her up if your family have some disagreement or unwarranted advice about the way you raise your children.
13) Plan some stuff
Suggest some nice ideas for family days out. If she agrees, plan it.
14) Practice gratitude
Thank her for doing the hardest job in the world. Every day.
There. I fixed it.
Did I miss anything..?