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I am in my early 30’s, and I just went back to work after my husband, Troy, and I had our first baby, Anna. I ended up taking 6 months off without pay, and it was wonderful! Troy and I knew I would be working again, and I just went back to work 2 months ago, and I am going nuts! Troy doesn’t help me enough, and I am afraid he really got used to me doing everything around the house while I was home after Anna was born.
When I get home from work, I scramble to breastfeed the baby, make dinner, do dishes, give Anna a bath, and get clothes ready for the next day. When I was home after the baby, I didn’t ask much of Troy when it came to helping me. I guess I figured that would come naturally after I went back to work. Oh sure, he will change a diaper and hold the baby while I am doing dishes or getting in the shower, and he will go with me to the grocery store and run errands on the weekends, but that’s about it. We have talked about this, and he just isn’t getting it. I am completely exhausted. Troy thinks because he gets home later than I do from work, he shouldn’t have to do anything when he gets home. Help! We keep arguing over this, and I am just getting burned out fast. I feel like by the time Anna turns 1, I will feel like I am 60 years old!
“Just Can’t Do it All in Columbus”
Dear Just Can’t Do it All:
I know you feel like you are “alone” but you are not. Lots of women today, and in years past, go through this. I think getting this resolved is a step by step process and a journey. As new parents, both you and Troy are going to need to change and give up some of your normal comforts and routines. Obviously, you have already stepped up, and it may be Troy just doesn’t really know what to do or how he is supposed to help.
I would suggest:
- Sitting down and having a heart to heart talk about what is bothering you and where you are struggling. Parenting takes two people, and you need more help from Troy! He is not “off duty” when he gets home at night even though he has left work…. You simply can’t do it all. Ask him if he would be willing to talk about sharing the duties at home. Let him know you are mentally and physically exhausted.
- Making a weekly “to do” list and posting it on the refrigerator. Maybe Troy can do the dishes three times a week, vacuum on Saturday mornings, and cook every other week. Ask him for suggestions with the areas he would like to help out with.
- Talking about giving each other a break. I think if you two could get a sitter, and get out at least twice a month with just the two of you, it may help you both recharge and relax. Even just for two hours – a simple stroll through a nature path, a movie, or a cup of coffee.
- Connecting with your friends. You should separately be getting some “girl” time with your friends at least once a month because you need the support and fun with your friends! Troy should be getting a “boys’ night” as well.
While I would not say this is easy, you can get through this! Having a wonderful little addition to the family is an adjustment, so I would suggest you give it time.
If nothing seems to work, consider seeking the help of a family counselor, therapist or church pastor. These professionals may be able to help you and Troy talk this through while being objective. The professional may also help you and Troy to better understand each other’s needs.
Readers – any suggestions for “Just Can’t Do it All”?
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Until next time~