Just two weeks after her baby was born, my friend told me her husband isn't helping and it wasn't fair that she has to do all the work. Most of us have felt this way at some point. Some of us still feel this way. The reality is: it is never going to feel fair, it is never going to be fair, and it is likely fair. Allow me to elaborate on how I broke this news to my new mom friend. Keeping in mind, she just had her baby and is a teeny tiny bit emotional due to her hormones being all over the place.
IT IS NEVER GOING TO FEEL FAIR
You will always and forever feel like you are doing WAY more than your spouse. The reason being is you had to do more from the start. You had to carry your baby for nine months. During this time, you had to eat well, exercise or walk often, go to doctor’s appointment for check-ups, and get poked and examined if you were having complications or concerns with your pregnancy. Not fair.
Then comes labor. Hello?! You had to literally push a watermelon through a straw or get cut into two like you were part of a magic show to have your baby. Not fair.
After that, comes caring for your baby. You have to bond and learn to breastfeed and it doesn’t always work out. You have to feed your baby around the clock because your baby’s stomach is the size of a grape. You feed your baby and sometimes she pukes it back up wasting your efforts. You cry over spilled milk and for smelling like old sour milk. Not fair.
Most of the moms will be the primary caregiver because their spouse goes back to work to earn a living for all of you. You feel resentment because you count the time they are at work as “a break.” Not fair.
IT IS NEVER GOING TO BE FAIR
There are things that only mom can do (like breast feed) for baby. Your spouse would probably love to help but can’t physically. You can try to “level” the playing field by pumping and having your spouse bottle feed your baby. However, have you thought about what your spouse may think is unfair to him?
He might feel it is unfair that he doesn’t get to listen to your baby’s heart beat at every doctor’s appointment because he was at work; he doesn’t get to feel your baby kick inside of you; he doesn’t get to experience the bond between mom and baby for 9 months. The only thing your spouse can do is to play catch up and hope your baby bonds with him or even remotely likes him. These are things that might be not fair for your spouse.
IT IS LIKELY FAIR
Despite all the things you are doing for your baby, it is likely your spouse is also doing things to help out. You just might not notice these things because you are tired and maybe a little angry thinking of all the work you do. If you find the time to list out what things your spouse does, his to-do list might be just as long as yours. Each of your roles might not be a 50/50 split but likely pretty darn close.
Thinking back to my own personal experiences, I realize now that:
I haven’t washed a single load of my daughter’s laundry. I do fold her clothes though.
I didn’t do any research into different kinds of formula despite my daughter drinking formula from the day she was born.
I have no idea how much diapers cost because I haven’t bought any before.
I don’t know what size of diaper my daughter wears.
I don’t know how to change the diaper genie.
These things didn’t just happen because we were blessed with a magical fairy. It is because my spouse took care of it while I was taking care of other things with our baby. While you can try to list out all the tasks and assign responsibilities. It is just easier to assume things won’t be fair at 50/50, it is unreasonable to want a 50/50 relationship, and you have to trust things will get done either by you or your spouse.