If the title of this makes you laugh, then please keep reading. Does life ever return to “normal” again after having a new baby? Does anything return to the way it used to be? Well, probably not. This series on Returning to Normal is focused on giving positive suggestions on helping you (the tired dad & husband) return your life to an acceptable place
Parenting is a team sport; at least it could be as couples learn to play together. However, with a new baby, it can seem that the wife/mother is the only one playing. This is may especially be true if your wife is breastfeeding. The baby wants to nurse and cuddle with mom, and you (the dad) often feel left out. While you may never be able to nurse your new baby, you have a very vital role in the life and development of your child. Here are three ways to survive a new baby in the home as a dad.
- Realize you and your wife are in this TOGETHER.
- Help, guide, lead – don’t boss
- Take the Mrs. out for a date
Realize you and your wife are in this TOGETHER
The dating relationship brought you together in holy matrimony. The physical love you have for each other brought you together in sexual intercourse to create a baby. And togetherness is how you can survive the difficulties that a new baby can bring to your home.
Verbally and physically tell her that you are going to get through these difficult times together. The more she knows that you are with her emotionally, the easier the physical difficulties can be. As you probably know, women are very strong physically (i.e., carrying a baby for nine months, and all the work through labor and delivery), but this physical strength needs your emotional strength to continue.
Help, Guide, Lead – Don’t boss
The suggestions are abounding, the advice (unsolicited and solicited) is present everywhere – from in-laws, friends, neighbors, and even strangers. You may hear horror stories of crying babies or how hormonal and upset a wife can get during these times. And while all of this may be true in your home, your wife is still leaning upon you for direction.
She may not realize it, but she is looking to you to help her out. And while you may not know at all what you’re doing, at times like these, it is helpful to do something!
Yes, do something. As a husband and dad, you may not know how to change a diaper or burp the baby. But ask. Ask her to show you, or get in there and teach yourself. Watch a youtube video on bathing a baby. Take a parenting class if you never experienced having younger siblings.
If the baby is crying, and your wife needs a break, take the baby from her and take the baby to another room to calm him down. If it’s warm enough, take the baby outside for a little walk around the yard.
Take the Wife on a Date
It was eight days after our second baby had been born. My mom was still in town helping with the baby, and my husband said, “Let’s go to the fair!” I felt good enough to be up and around with all the walking, but I wasn’t completely sure I was ready to leave my baby so fast. But I took a chance, and let my mom watch the baby for a few hours.
We had a nice time. We toured the 4-H displays, walked through the vendors, and even saw the baby ducks (one of my favorite things to see because they go through a little pool obstacle course and slide!). My husband walked slowly because he knew I wasn’t back to my regular pace, but we had a great time. We needed those few hours together to bond again. The focus was on each other instead of the baby. And while we didn’t have any life-shattering conversations, we simply enjoyed each other’s company.
And surprise, surprise, I did survive the two hours away from my new baby Elijah. We came back, and he was sound asleep and thoroughly loved & snuggled by Nanna.
You may not have the blessing of a family member close by, but if you do have a trusted person who can watch the baby for a few hours, take the time to take your wife out for dinner or a special event to reconnect with her. She needs it – and so do you!
Having a new baby is difficult on the mom and the dad – the wife and the husband. While it may never be an easy job, you can make it easIER by helping and loving your wife through these difficult times.
What tips have you found that worked. Wives – did your husband do something special for you in the post-baby time period that would help others? Tell me about it in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!