Starting to notice some cracks in your relationship since having a baby? Don’t worry – it’s perfectly normal!
Even the strongest couples have relationship problems and get into some ferocious feuds after having a baby.
Why? Because having a new baby mixes up the dynamics of your relationship like no other. It can take some time to learn how to be a family of three (or more) and how to find time to actually be more than just Mum and Dad. And often the arguments are all part of the utter chaos and confusion that comes with having a new baby to tend to (24/7).
Have a look at some of the relationship problems after having a baby and the most common quarrels new parents get into. How many have you and your partner checked off the list?
The “who does more work” fight
One went to work. The other stayed home and watched the baby… It’s a neverending battle of the harder worker when it comes to having a baby.
The only-one-income fight
Money is always going to be tight when you have a baby, especially if you’re not used to only living on one income AND when you have a lot more free time to online shop one-handed while rocking bub.
The “who is more tired” fight
You’re up all night. He’s up early to go to work. You’re breastfeeding. He’s dealing with customers. So who wins? No one. That’s who. Once again, it’s not a competition. There is no ‘Tired Trophy’.
The co-sleeping/spare room fight
Bringing home baby can be a big lesson in musical beds, especially if your little one isn’t a great sleeper. You may find that you want to try co-sleeping simply because it means you actually get a bit of sleep but your partner is against it.
Or, you may find your partner heads to the spare room to get some shut eye, leaving you alone at night to deal with the night wakings. Either way, it’s bound to cause a bit of tension.
The “whose turn it is” fight
Whose turn it is to put baby to bed, to change her nappy, to wash the dishes? Just when you thought you mastered ‘taking turns’ in preschool, you go and have a baby and realise you still don’t know how to do it without getting in a spat.
The “stop snoring or I’ll stab you” fight
My personal favourite fight, this one also happens at night. Just when you’ve finally got bub down for the evening and are ready to doze off (for an hour or so at least), the snoring begins. Mum can’t sleep. Baby wakes up. And Dad gets a pillow to his head.
The “who gets to relax” fight
Also known as the ‘baby handball fight’, this one usually occurs when dad walks in the door and mum immediately hands bub to him. Because she needs to shower and pee and have three minutes to herself. But dad needs to relax too. Or at least have a chance to take his boots off.
And thus, the fight about who deserves more downtime begins. And, once again, there is no winner. Both of you, whether dealing with baby or dealing with meetings, need time to decompress.
The outside advice fight
AKA: Passive aggressive comments from family members who mean well but UGH… Often these fights stem from relatives making suggestions that one partner doesn’t agree with.
Dealing with in-laws and relatives can be exhausting at the best of times. Add a cup of sleep deprivation, a pinch of passive aggressiveness and a dash of defensiveness and it’s a recipe for an argument.
The “useless nipples” fight
Another common nighttime battle, the ‘useless nipples’ fight usually comes to play after a few weeks of nightly wakings. Mum is exhausted and needs a decent stint of sleep. But dad doesn’t have what baby wants – the boobies. Thus, dad sleeps, baby sucks and mum lies there resenting her husband and his stupid useless nipples.
The “let’s have sex/please don’t touch me ever again” fight
Often, Dad wants to do it. Mum would rather have her nipples bleed and her lady bits ripped apart. Oh, wait. She already has. And she’s got the saggy tummy, the leaking breasts, and the stitched vagina to prove it.
After baby her body is no longer her body – it’s the main source of baby food and comfort. And it’s hard for new mums to switch this primal motherly instinct off just for a bit of sexy time. Unfortunately, sometimes Dads don’t get this or feel like their once-loving partner is now cold and distant. It’s not the case. She’s not cold. She’s just a bit touched out.
How to avoid the fighting
The truth is we all have our fair share of relationship problems after having a baby. Many couples fight. Some separate. Most (if not all) agree that their relationship is never the same as it was pre-baby. But here’s how you can make it through the baby haze alive, and with your marriage still intact.
Talk about how you’re feeling before you let it boil up inside you – And possibly explode into a massive shouting match that the neighbours can most certainly hear.
Stop the competitive, score-keeping – Accept that you’re both beyond exhausted. So stop trying to out tire each other and work together so you can take turns getting a few extra minutes of shut-eye each.
Share the load – Sure, mum might be home during the day but often she’s not able to get the housework done if bub is fussy. So share the load when you’re both home and do the tedious tasks together.
Find the humour – Parenting can push every single button you have and some days you will probably feel like screaming, crying or running away. Instead, look to your partner and laugh amongst the chaos. Find the funny in the spills that will most definitely stain, the overwhelming pile of laundry, the keys you lost but found in the fridge. Yes, it’s an absolute shit show. But it’s your shit show. So enjoy it together.
What to read next
- 21 Annoying AF Things That Husbands Do
- Hey Dads, We Could Use Some Support Here! How Husbands Can Help New Mums
- This is Why the First Year With Your Baby is so Damn Hard