Sleep deprivation can really make you say or do some pretty crazy things. The person we’re most comfortable with is usually the one we neglect. My husband and I have not been the exception. Having a baby is hard work and maintaining a happy marriage is equally as difficult. Guess which one doesn’t seem like a top priority when the baby is shrieking? Yep. Your relationship totally swirls down the toilet.
We were two weeks in and had been working as a team tackling this parenting thing like champs. We were switching off and managing the stressful days with a lot of humor about it. When he went back to work after the first two weeks the sleep deprivation turned into passive aggressive comments and arguing about tiny things around the house. Yes, I was home all day, but why wasn’t the house tidy? Why wasn’t he hands on with Audra any more and realizing that she consumed ALL OF MY TIME. I couldn’t squeeze in enough times to throw a proper meal together, let alone scrub the house from top to bottom. We were seeing what wasn’t working rather than what was.
He is a different person when he’s tired. We all are. He was cranky, snappy and expecting things that I simply didn’t have enough time for. He would talk to me as if he were my parent, disappointed in the things I hadn’t done. He failed at recognizing the things that had happened. Things like insurance paperwork, laundry, dishes and a fast growing baby were just a few of the things that weren’t being acknowledged. I had no idea how some women could manage to keep such a spotless home, but my motivation to try dwindled due to having a spouse who kept spotting everything that was wrong. We had reached a point where I almost dreaded him coming home, because I was tired too and feeling a little unloved.
What I wasn’t doing was a lot too. I was avoiding my husband. Despite my attempts to tell him what was going on with my day, he was still being a dingdong with me. I was failing to see that there were opportunities to make his time home easier with us. His weekends were beginning to turn into helping me get the house back together. Guess what that didn’t involve for him? Audra. He was back at work and all he wanted to do was enjoy her too. The basic things that I couldn’t get to during the day would still need to get done…on his time with the baby. I was using my time 100% for only Audra.
We reached a pretty nasty breaking point. The bickering was taking place nightly. Finally I reached a point where if it wasn’t going to improve something would need to get done. I wasn’t going to let Audra be around parents who were going to talk down to one another on a consistent basis. I don’t want her thinking that’s appropriate in a relationship. What we needed was a good ol’ fashion full confrontation. Don’t those suck? We are the least confrontational people, we would instead make passive aggressive comments to one another without spilling out EVERYTHING that was bothering us.
Confrontation may be a bit too big of a word for what happened. Sure, we were upset with one another, but we both unloaded everything that we felt was harming our relationship. Whoo, boy, did it suck. However, we managed to see what was working and we walked away from the confrontation knowing at least what our partner was needing.
What was working is that I was doing a pretty darned good job by keeping Audra happy, healthy and entertained. Sure, she is a little colicky, but I’ve found ways to keep her schedule tight so that she isn’t given an opportunity to fuss. Dirty diapers fly out of this house in the trash like a swarm of bees and laundry gets tossed down the stairs on a constant basis. I’m moving a mile a minute despite being on limited sleep. I am the one to get up in the middle of the night to let him sleep. I’ve done my best to be considerate.
What also was working was that he was rushing home during his lunch break to help take her for a few minutes. He’d sneak in at least one diaper change and would give her some TLC. When he is home she is on his chest getting snuggled and played with. Dad time has become a part of his routine and while I wished Dad time could also take place at 2am, he had a way of helping to get her to wind down for bed time. He was also working hard to pay for our bills that don’t stop coming in even though I’m on maternity leave. He’s managed to keep the outside world sorted out for the three of us.
Realizing what was working has pushed both of us into a better head space and things are improving for all of us- Audra included. Audra joins me now with a wrap carrier to do a whole lot more around the house. Laundry is done and caught up daily, food arrives on the table, things from our move continue to find proper places in the house and less things need to get done chore-wise around the house. Having Audra close at hand makes her less fussy too. We really have managed to figure out how to seemingly get it all done everyday. My husband also comes home and is much more warm, supportive and steps up more and more even during the night when he used to try to get the sleep he needed for work. We’re focusing on doing things for one another instead of solely for the baby. It’s improved our moods and we now are able to approach her with more love knowing that we have a partner that can back us up.
Confrontation was certainly what we needed. We both needed to get everything out in the open and we needed to be able to listen with the intention of acting on our partner’s concerns. Happily, we are back to enjoying each other, our beautiful daughter and our home again. Once we reach the next challenge of me going back to work we at least know that we’ll be able to communicate our way through it.
Hope you’re all doing well!
Lots of love,