Most mums are inundated with offers of help for about a week or two, and after that it’s as if the world expects you to be ‘back to normal’ - whatever that means!! Fathers return to work, visiting family go home, neighbours stop coming by with food. This is when we really need to revisit the whole asking for help thing, because you’re not even halfway through your ‘40 days’.
It may sound obvious that ongoing, unresolved conflict in your relationship affects the mental health of your baby.
It probably comes as no surprise too that uneven division of housework is a key cause of conflict for new parents. Studies have shown that mothers are more satisfied when housework is divided more evenly between themselves and their partner, but women still do nearly 80% of the housework, even if they work for pay too. And, this old fashioned gender-based allocation of labour actually increases once a baby is born.
Interestingly, lesbian parents tend to split childcare and housework more evenly. It sounds to me that feminism still has a way to go and I suggest you have a chat to your man about this!
One of the most common complaints I hear from mums (not just new ones!) is that their husbands just don’t see what needs doing around the house. The kitchen is a tip and he just opens a beer. There is a mountain of laundry on the sofa and he just pushes it to one side. There’s Lego all over the floor and he just switches on the telly.
Not all men are like this, but it’s certainly something I hear women complaining about often.
Sometimes it escalates out of control to the point where you yell:
“Can’t you see I need some f***ing help?!”
And the truthful answer is probably ‘no’.
I’m assuming your partner is a decent man, and he would jump over the moon for you.
But, what is plain as day to you, is plain as day to you. He might not even see it, so you’re going to have to exercise that asking-for-help muscle again.
If you want him to hold the baby while you shower, ask him.
If you want him to change a nappy, ask him.
If you want him to do the dishes, ask him.
Too many new mums try and live up to the perfect mum ideal they had before they actually became a real mum. Not you though, you are a Newborn Mother. This is reality right? You do not have superpowers. Even mums need to eat, sleep and shower.
It’s a simple fix: don’t expect, just ask.
Now is a really good time to revisit your asking-for-help affirmations, and actually follow through.
And, my last tip for managing the housework today is simple. Don’t. Outsource, or let it go!