Man & Woman meet. Man & Woman date. Man & Woman get married. Or not.
Man & Woman or Husband & Wife have a baby.
They adore baby together for a week or two. Man goes back to work.
The misunderstandings start.
Man does not understand why when he comes home from work, the laundry is still piled up to the ceiling.
Man does not understand that when he comes home from work, woman is tired out of her eyeballs.Man does not understand why when he comes home from work, he is expected to help woman out.
Man does not understand why when he comes home from work, the food isn’t on the table like it used to be.
Man does not understand why when he comes home from work, he finds that woman did not sleep when baby slept.
Man does not understand why when he comes home from work, he should be lucky to find woman and baby alive.
Why is it so hard to understand for men how bleeding hard it is to look after a baby all day long? I don’t need to sum up all the things that you need to do every day and how tedious things can get, because every mum knows the list by heart. Why then is it so hard to make your partner understand your world?
The biggest thing that contributes to the feelings of misery and that tips most new mums over the edge of sanity into insanity is advice (read: criticism). This is mostly true for well-meaning but absent dads. The ones who work hard to keep their family supported, but don’t even put one thought into raising a child and what it involves. They have no idea how to clean a bottle (or even where to buy one), how to wean your baby, how to clean a poo nappy, whereas mum has read every book and done every course in existence about every aspect of baby rearing. This Dad comes home, doesn’t acknowledge the mum’s under-eye bags or the crazy look in her eyes, and goes straight into advice (*cough* criticism *cough*) about the baby’s milk-stained outfit or the fact that the baby is crying (“is he hungry? you should put him to bed! Doesn’t he need a nappy change?”) to name but a few of the possibilities. Dad might or might not be alive at the end of this.
My theory is that although these Dads provide for their families, they feel incompetent because they don’t know anything about how to keep a baby alive. They counter these feelings of incompetence by making the mums feel incompetent. Sounds harsh, yes, but I think a lot of mums will agree. This does by no means mean that these men don’t love their partner, but they have to find a way to channel negative feelings, which is often through the person you love and need most.
And are they not in their right when they give advice? Yes, in the case of giving genuine advice, and not veiled criticism, they would be entirely in their right to give this, it is after all their baby as well.
For mums it is important to make their partner understand how their criticism makes them feel. And how their partner can turn their criticism in well-meant advice and get a much happier mummy in return to come home to. And maybe they will make it to baby’s first birthday alive. 😉