One of the most ridiculous reasons I’ve ever been mad at my husband was because he was acting too cheerfully when I was feeling grumpy. He was singing while he did chores around the house, preventing me from fully wallowing in my sour mood and hiding in my Oscar The Grouch garbage can. After I actually growled at him to “STOP SINGING,” he stopped and looked at me, giving me the most blatant (and valid) “seriously?!” face I’ve ever been on the receiving end of. It was not my proudest moment and it’s one that he still gives me a hard time about it, and rightfully so. I swear, I’m usually quite pleasant! But sometimes, the right buttons get pushed. It can—and does—happen to all of us. When you have a new baby, it can—and does—happen to all of us more often than pretty much any other time in our lives. And who better to take our misplaced tension out on than our beloved life partner?
Here are 7 of the most common avenues by which you and your partner will unload that totally ~fun and sexy~ excess stress onto one another during your first year as parents.
Division Of Labor
Not that he didn’t pull his weight before, but my husband definitely stepped up in our first year of parenthood. That said, it’s nearly impossible for both partners to put in the exact same amount of work every day. There will be ebbs and flows, and days of more diapers and fewer diapers. And, as forgiving as we were both hoping to be, tensions were high at times.
Deciding Who Sleeps Where (And Making Sure You Actually Both Get To Sleep)
I can admit it: sometimes I was jealous that he didn’t have to get up to nurse our little. There, I said it. He did the best he could to help in other ways, like with bottles, and cooking, and diapers, basically any and all of the random tasks that would come up. But, it wasn’t the same as if I’d had the chance for five uninterrupted hours of sleep.
Finding Time For Each Other (Or Not Successfully Doing So)
Yeah, finding time for one another is damn near impossible in the beginning of parenthood. Hell, it's hard enough to find time for yourself. All due love to my lovely partner, but in addition to finding time for the baby-related necessities, I also found the growing need for solo downtime after becoming a parent. I even experienced occasional jealousy over my husband's 25-minute commute since I would have loved the excuse to zone out on the highway and listen to adult music. Alas, it wasn’t in the cards for me in those early weeks, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t grump about it a few times.
If any couple out there has found themselves ready to re-introduce sex at the exact time you both want to, you should start shopping yourselves for a reality show and book deal because, like, a billion of us want to know your secret.
So Many Various Parenting Choices
I’m talking about the stuff that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but that can seriously eat away at you both:
Should we get organic cotton crib sheets or regular crib sheets?
I don’t know, stop asking me, my breasts are leaking, I’m hungry and thirsty, the baby has a dirty diaper, I just need some sleep and I’m not equipped to handle this right now.
See? Fights start like that when you're dealing with new-baby stress.
What about the big stuff? Cry it out? Co-sleep? Breast or bottle? Pacifier or no pacifier? Free-range parenting? Do you even know what "free-range parenting" is? The good news is, you can usually find answers to these questions that work for you guys. The bad news? You’ll probably need to hash out at least a couple of choices before you settle on those answers.
When do couples not fight about this? The arrival of a baby can wreak havoc on a budget, and with everyone’s patience already strapped, it’s a recipe for disaster.
Nothing At All
Maybe it's the momentum of the radical life change you're both undergoing, both individually and as a couple; Maybe it's the lack of sleep, or stress. It's probably some of all of that, honestly, and it can lead to little fights over absolutely nothing. Sometimes, fights just appear without rhyme or reason, like Kardashians.
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