I’ve been thinking about writing this post or something like this for a long time. Let me preface this by saying that I love my husband and I will be in love with him forever. He is my best friend and the best person I know. But some days I want to kill him and some days he wants to kill me.
Having a baby is hard. Having a second baby is hard. The differences between myself and my husband are very evident during this difficult stage in our lives. It surprised me the first time and for some reason surprised me even more this time, maybe because I was expecting it to be different.
- The Things I Think Are Urgent Are Not The Things He Thinks Are Urgent.
This is driving me crazy all the time. I do not let Arlie or Tate sit in a dirty diaper if I can help it. Granted, there are some times where it can’t be avoided, but for the most part there is always an extra two minutes to change a dirty diaper. M does not feel the same way. I often will be tending to Tate, cleaning, cooking, etc and Arlie will have a wet or dirty diaper. I will ask M to change her. Ten minutes later, Arlie is still in a wet or dirty diaper and I am seething. I am not sure why there is a difference here. I automatically think “lazy” but there must be something else going on that I don’t understand. For M, he thinks that it is urgent to make sure his garden is watered, but for me I just don’t care at all. I’m sure that annoys him.
2. A Crying Baby or Toddler Does Not Merit The Same Reaction
This one kills me. I hate hate hate hearing either of them cry. Granted, there are times that Arlie is crying for no reason, or I have to finish something up before I can go to a crying Tate. But for the most part, I do my best to make sure that if one of them are crying, they get held or at least talked to so they feel better. M does not feel the same way. I’ve talked with a bunch of my mommy friends and they all pretty much say the same thing. I think there is probably a biological aspect at play here because they sound and pitch of Tate’s cries are not something I can ignore. It makes my shoulders tense up and I feel awful until the sound stops. M can ignore the crying almost all the time and it absolutely drives me crazy. Sometimes I sit and give him a death glare hoping he will see it and respond to one of the kids but apparently that doesn’t work.
3. Food Choices Are Definitely Not The Same
This one goes back and forth between us almost daily. One of us is always questioning the healthy or lack of healthy options we are providing Arlie. She eats well and it growing well, but there are some days when M thinks she should eat better and there are some days when I think she should eat better. Usually we can balance each other out and make sure that Arlie is eating healthy foods, but not always. M is not as confident as I am with food choices for her so he often consults me which is a source of frustration for me, but only because I wish he would just take care of it on his own. Lucky for us, this is not a point of contention that causes bad feelings between us. It’s just a weird thing that pops up frequently.
4. The Sleep Deprivation
Ok Dads, this is one you should really pay attention to. Unless you are getting up EVERY SINGLE TIME your wife is to tend to baby and/or toddler, you are not as tired as she is. I don’t care if you are going to work everyday. Your wife is dealing with two kids all day by herself on less that five hours of sleep. FOR MONTHS. This is a big issue between M and I right now. I get up with both kids all night and Tate is still quite colicky so he sleeps poorly most nights. Arlie has started peeing in mass quantities overnight so I usually have to at least change her diaper if not her whole outfit, in the middle of the night ate least three nights per week. M’s defense of his tiredness was always that he was waking up too, but I shut that down with the fact that even though he may be waking up each time, he is quickly going back to sleep while I am up for half hour to multiple hour periods every time. Yes, he had to get up and go to work, but I am back at work no so that excuse literally has no merit whatsoever.
5. The Hurts
I absolutely hate it when Arlie gets hurt, physically or emotionally. It kills me a little every time. I think that most of the time M is not affected by this. Again, I think that this is a biological mommy thing and not a choice so there is a huge difference just from that. I can’t explain to M why I feel this way and why I can almost feel Arlie’s pain myself when she gets hurt. M does a good job of not reacting to the smaller boo-boos that Arlie gets and I suck at this. The emotional hurt for Arlie is really hard on me. I hate to see her sad or hurt because she is confused. I expect that this will get worse as she gets older and deals with bigger emotional issues.
6. Planning Ahead
I like to have plans in place for pretty much everything. M is more of a laid back go with the flow person. It drives me crazy! I hate not having rules and it is even harder for me during this newborn stage because everything is always in such chaos. I hate chaos. This extends to meals, weekend plans, daily timelines, etc.
For me, the kids are absolutely my priority. I generally make sure that they have everything they need before I worry about what I need. M does not do this. It is probably a two fold thing. One is that I take care of what the kids need so much and so often that he doesn’t even have to think about it and therefore doesn’t think about it. Two is that he has totally different priorities. His are more focused on what he needs and his work and that is just how he is programmed. Yes, it bugs me. Yes, we’ve talked about it. Hopefully it is something that will change as we evolve and as the kids get older. Right now they are very dependent on me because they are both so little. But as they get older and more of the tasks can be done by either of us, I think that he will shift his priorities slightly.
For the most part, we parent very similarly but the things above are the most obvious differences between us right now. I am really looking forward to the non-newborn stage because I think that we will slowly start to shift into our new normal. I know once we get there, these differences will start to change and life will get easier. This new baby things is hard and we’re doing the best we can.