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The Call Of Doodie and Silent Knight

Comment

Loved your response to the bored-out-of-their-gourds parents of the 1-year-old. I'm three months pregnant and a little worried in the wake of a recent dinner party. There were four sets of new parents there, and all the wives seemed to resent the hell out of their husbands. The husbands, predictably, seemed defensive and angry in response. My husband and I have a really great partnership, and I'd like to keep it that way. Are there things we can do to avoid the parental hate stage, or...fret, fret...is it an inevitability that comes with the stress of having a child? —Baby On Board

 

Today's marriage is reportedly a more equal partnership. For a lot of couples who become parents, here's how that works: The woman blimps out for nine months, spends hours and hours in agony squeezing a huge thing out an extremely small opening, and then becomes a 24-hour milk dispenser and poo-slave for the better part of a year. The man holds her hand and says "You can do it, honey!" while she's in labor, helps name the kid, and then, when friends come over to watch the World Series, picks it up and says, "Look what we made!"

Trophy dads aside, if there's one area of parenting that breeds eye-daggers of wifely resentment, it's unequal sleeplessness. Yeah, I know, according to The Beatles, "love is all you need," but they forgot the small print: This is only true of people who are not suffering from sleep deprivation, which, by the way, is not only a necessity for tending to one's newborn but a form of torture banned by the Geneva Conventions.

Sure, there are certain biological problems with sharing the nightly feeding duties. But, just because the booby with the drinks in it is on only one of you doesn't mean there can't be catering. In other words, Daddy can bottle-feed if mommy breast pumps, and nothing's stopping him from diaper-changing. What matters is that Mommy and Daddy are going halfsies on sleeplessness. As a happily married male friend with a new baby puts it, it's essential to "scrupulously share" wakeup duty, or a wife who used to look lovingly at her sleeping spouse may begin calculating how much jail time she'd get for smothering him with a pillow.

During daylight hours, a little time off for the stay-at-home mom, even for 20 minutes after Dad comes home, is a huge relief, as are playdates — one night a week for her to go out with friends and be a person instead of a big udder. Just a little alleviation goes a long way in showing that a husband doesn't think women have babies and men have babies as props — to parade around Starbucks in a BabyBjorn, making all the hot girls coo, and then hand back to Mom until the kid's old enough to be interesting: "Hey, little man, Daddy's gotta read the newspaper and putter around the garage for six or seven years. Let's talk when you're big enough to throw a ball around."

 

Silent Knight

 

I'm thinking I should wait until after Christmas to break up with my girlfriend of two years. She is planning on accompanying me to my family's for the holidays and otherwise has no place to go. (I'm picturing her home alone, maybe calling her stepbrother she talks to once a year.) —Not Jolly

 

When your thought is "I think we should start seeing other people," it isn't supposed to mean making your girlfriend spend a week with your grandma and 62 of your closest relatives.

Although you're trying to be kind, delaying your breakup is the wrong thing to do. You break up with somebody as soon as you know, which means they can lick their wounds and get on to somebody who does want them that much sooner. (There are exceptions to the immediacy rule, like if it's two days before your girlfriend has finals or if somebody's just died and she's on her way to identify the body.)

Just think how what you're suggesting could play out. In the weeks before Christmas, she'll likely sense that something's not quite right. She'll gnaw endlessly on this with her girlfriends, and they'll come up with the perfect solution...Santa lingerie! When you finally end it, she'll likely drag out of you that you weren't really feelin' it — starting around Halloween. So, besides the painful emotions that accompany any breakup, you'll be giving her the gift of humiliation as she replays the mental video of herself prancing around in a Santa hat and jingle bell pasties...on what turned out to be the biggest chopping day of the year.

Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or email AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com). Alkon is the author of "I See Rude People: One Woman's Battle To Beat Some Manners Into Impolite Society."

COPYRIGHT 2012 AMY ALKON

DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM

It’s Amy Alkon’s Advice Goddess Radio -- “Nerd your way to a better life!” with the best brains in science solving your love, dating sex, and relationship problems. Listen live every Sunday -- http://www.blogtalkradio.com/amyalkon/ -- 7-8 p.m. PT, 10-11 p.m. ET, or download the podcast at the link. Call-in during the show: 347-326-9761 (NYC area code).

 



Comments

5 Comments | Post Comment
LW2: if today was December 23rd, I would totally agree with you. There's no reason to break up with a person on, or right before, a holiday and make them hate that holiday for the rest of their lives. But it is early November still! If you sit her down TODAY and tell her you need to talk, then come Christmas, she may have her life back together and have herself a good holiday with friends, or her stepbrother, or her new meetup group that she'll join tomorrow, or whomever. Give the girl a chance. Besides, there's no way you'll be able to keep up the act for almost two months. So have that talk now. Good luck.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Goldie
Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:38 AM
Ha! Amy is so right about Lw1! I wanted to hit my husband with a frying pan like Rapunzel a couple weeks ago. He woke me up because he hit the superfecta. He one $38. I told him he better not ever wake me up for less than $1000 again.
Once baby is sleeping for longer portions of the night the tired, stressed out, I hate you I hope you die feelings go away.
Comment: #2
Posted by: MT
Tue Nov 13, 2012 4:13 PM

If pumping isn't an option (like the mother is already pumping for the work day), then one approach is to have the father take the evening shift. He takes over while the mother falls asleep at 8pm, say, until she wakes up for the 11 pm feeding, and handles the dishes and bath time.

And don't discount post-partum hormones, either - add that to sleeplessness, and it's not good.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Jennifer
Tue Nov 13, 2012 7:16 PM
In one of the breastfeeding books I bought, they talked about supportive fathers taking the "everything but" approach -- they try to attend to all of the needs of the baby that they can (diapering, dressing, bathing, etc.) to try to offset the one thing they can't -- breastfeeding. Pumping isn't a viable option for all mothers for a variety of reasons (including a baby who refuses the bottle). My husband insisted on waking up with me and hanging out with me for the late-night feedings. I had initially said, "but one of us should sleep when we can," but he insisted. It greatly cut down on the resentment I might otherwise have felt.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Lisa
Wed Nov 14, 2012 6:15 AM
Lw1: I don't think Amy is wrong here however I will tell you the #1 truth. The reason men are angry and women are resentful is because many moms won't allow their husbands to be a father, they want them to be a male version of a mother. Moms want things done this way ONLY because it's my way and my way is the right way and since you won't take my orders and do things right by my standards then you are a helpless clod that can't be trusted to care for the child you helped create. And when dad stops offering to help then mom gets even more resentful that she does all the work and dad becomes a visitor in his own life.

Look, dad may decide to feed the peas before the applesauce or diaper the kid on the floor instead of the changing table or forget the lotion or undershirt every now and again but it's not worth the marriage to make a fuss about it. If you truly want your husband to help and be involved then let him be a father and not your subordinate.
Comment: #5
Posted by: It's me
Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:32 AM
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