Baby Q&A:: 4 Ways to Get Your Husband to Help Out More!

Q:: How can I get my husband to help out more with the baby? I feel like I have to do it all and I never get a break – I’m starting to feel very resentful towards him and it’s leading to even MORE stress!

Daddy-Daughter Bonding

A::This is a SUPER common issue with clients and mama friends alike. Unfortunately, most guys just don’t have the same… awareness, of what needs to be done that we who do it all day do. Did you follow that? Me neither. The bottom line is – most of the time, they’re not malicious, or even really selfish, they just DON’T KNOW. Here are 4 things I have discovered help a lot in bringing a little more balance to a relationship once a baby or two enters the mix.

1) Show & Tell:: Most guys genuinely don’t realize all that goes into taking care of a baby in the course of a day, and you mamas are so freaking great at it that they never really see how much work it is! SHOW him by making him be a part of it all day, and TELL him what all you do when he asks how your day was or, God forbid, says “What did you do all day?” A client’s husband once said to me that if he hadn’t taken 2 weeks off when the baby was born, he would really have no idea how much work it was, and it helped him understand his wife’s day so much better, and why she needed a break when he got home even though she was still in her pj’s.

Bathtime!

2) Give him a job:: Sometimes guys are reluctant to jump in because they’re not sure WHAT to do. Babies are foreign territory to most men, and even though they may want to help, they don’t have the skill set. Plus, some mamas {not YOU, of course ;)}… can be a little bit {ahem} critical when your hubby tries to help but does it badly {ie, not the way Mama does it}. Dads who are forced to jump into parenting headfirst because Mom is out of commission for whatever reason, pick things up really quickly. Give him a little time to figure things out and learn the ropes, and it’s much easier if he has one specific job to master – bathing the baby is a great one. Make it his job, and let him do it his way. They really feel good when they get to teach YOU something!

3) Find a role model::A good friend told me her hubby is so great with their kiddos because some older men at his work tell him how important it is to start a relationship with your kids at a young age. Find a father he respects and admires – maybe his own dad, maybe yours, maybe a mentor at work – and have them have a talk about what it takes to really be a good dad. Most guys picture themselves playing catch with their kids, or taking them to games, but they don’t know how to relate to an infant or a toddler. By pitching in with the care, they will find out how fun and sweet it can be to hang out with a little one.

Everybody wants some Daddy time

4) Don’t expect him to be a mind reader::ASK for help. Don’t wait until you reach a breaking point and completely flip out – that will only put him on the defensive. Be calm, but genuine about your feelings {even if it means gritting your teeth a little bit}. “I feel really overwhelmed with everything I have to do for the baby and the house. It would mean a lot to me if you’d help by ________”. Yes, in an ideal world, he would just know what needed to be done and do it. {I have heard rumors that there are actually men like this but I’d rather not meet one – Tim would never live it down!} But would you rather sit around waiting for that ideal world to arrive, or do what it takes to get there NOW? He loves you, and wants you to be happy. Tell him how to do that.

What has worked for your family? Share your tips in the comments!

Taking care of a baby is exhausting!

4 Comments

  1. Kimberly on June 4, 2012 at 4:08 am

    My husband was very helpful. But he had to go to work a few days after our son was born. So I was alone all day, every weekday. I remember literally crying when he would leave in the morning. I was dealing with pumping around the clock, a screaming baby and hormones, of course. I survived but maaaan, those were some hard times. My husband did get up at night and help with bottle-feeding our son while I pumped (I got my son back to nursing at the breast when he was about 2-3 months old, so thankfully we got to ditch the bottles then!) And he changed him often when he was home. He was a good dad to our infant son, even when it was hard. Oh, and he would take our son for a walk or something on weekend mornings sometimes so I could sleep in. H E A V E N!

  2. Shell on June 4, 2012 at 5:23 am

    Teehee, love the photos, they made me smile. Yeah, I was not good at asking for help, and I can attest, it burns you out. I’m getting better and better, and my boys are already almost 5 and 7!!! Never too late. 😉

  3. Carrie on June 4, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    My hubby responds well to being appreciated. I used to see what he did as minimal to what I was doing and he started to do less and less. I changed my way of looking at things, not needing him to do things my way thanked him for the help he was giving because it meant a lot to him to hear this.

  4. Kate on June 4, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    And men should know there is NOTHING sexier to a woman than a man who helps out with the kids. Right?! Drool…..

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