Is it even possible to have equal roles when raising a baby?
July 29, 2012 7:44 AM Subscribe
How can I accept the gender imbalance in my relationship now that we're parents of a young, breastfed baby? Help me be less resentful of my husband!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (80 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
My husband and I have a very funny and enjoyable five month old baby. He's really delightful and we love him very much, but he is still a young baby and a lot of work. I'm currently on a break from my studies to be with the baby full time, but I'll be resuming my studies again in September and in the meantime, am try to get some writing done when I can.
My husband and I generally have a very good relationship and both believe in having an egalitarian marriage. However, I'm getting increasingly frustrated and resentful, and to be honest, lonely, now that we have a small baby.
To be fair, my husband does do quite a bit with the baby - watching him some mornings after a hard night, playing with him in the evening, giving him a bath - and he does many household chores (about half or more of the cooking, most of the laundry, unloading the dishwasher).
However, realistically, much of the weight of taking care of the baby falls on me. As well as doing most of the baby care during the day, I'm also doing most of the night care as well. Our son is still waking every 2-3 hours at night wanting milk, so I co-sleep with him while my husband sleeps in the other room. After his bath, the baby generally wants a feed before bed, so I spend 45 minutes in the evening putting him to bed, and then jumping up later in the evening when he wakes up wanting a top-up. Since I'm breastfeeding (and since he's a hungry little boy), any break from him is generally 2 hours or less, unless I've found the time to pump, in which case I might get another hour or two.
I enjoy breastfeeding and love our baby, but when I see my husband having a full night's rest, having the energy to socialise late with guests, being able to stay up late enough to watch television programs that we'd both enjoy, having the freedom to drop by the gym after work or playing cricket for 8 hours on Saturday, being able to enjoy a few glasses of wine, and just generally be more of his old self than me, I feel jealous and lonely, as well as disappointed that we seem to be drifting towards traditional gender roles.
We'd like to have another baby sometime in the future, but I'm not sure if I can take another pregnancy and babyhood of little sleep, much uncomfortableness, and many restrictions while he merrily eats brie, drinks beers, and sleeps.
Please reassure me that our roles will eventually even out. I love my husband and our son very much, but I'm just so tired and feel like I'm attached to the baby 24/7.
In the meanwhile, how can I deal with these petty feelings of resentment?