Do you own a comfortable sofa? You’d better make sure you do. For many new dads, a comfortable sofa is as essential as the crib in your new baby’s nursery—especially for those dads who don’t have the good sense to learn quickly what to never say to your wife.
Navigating your way through the uncharted waters of new fatherhood can be treacherous. You’ve left the bliss of being the center of your wife’s world, and you’ve entered a new dimension where you are a distant second—at least for a while.
If you can understand one thing, above all else, you should be able to keep nights on the sofa to a minimum. That one thing is…as confusing as new fatherhood is, a new mom is just as confused, just as scared, and just as insecure as you are. GO EASY ON HER!
Let’s talk about some of the things you, as a new dad, are going to be tempted to say to the mother of your new baby. Notice I didn’t say you might be tempted to utter these brainless comments. These thoughts will enter your mind. Every new dad has felt the urge to say them. However, the key to your spinal health will depend on your ability to bite your tongue, to swallow your words, to count to 10 before you speak. Your back and your sofa will thank you. Here we go:
Babe, you look tired. Why don’t you take a nap, and I’ll babysit? While this does demonstrate that you are trying to be there for your wife, let’s get one thing straight: Dads don’t babysit! A dad is every bit as much a parent as a mom is. Don’t act like you’re doing your wife some huge favor by simply fulfilling your fatherly role.
That’s not how my mother used to do that. OK. Do we even need to talk about this one? In most cases, the last thing your wife wants is to be compared to your mother. Just don’t do it.
Can you please stop that #$@&%* baby from crying? A better question is, can you? Why would you assume it’s your wife’s job to make the baby happy? You’re both in this together, and chances are, she has heard the crying enough that she has become immune to its effect. Give her a break.
Have you seen Jennifer lately? Wow! She looks like she was never even pregnant. If you’re dumb enough to make comments about another woman’s post-pregnancy body, you deserve the sofa.
When is your mom going to go back home? This is a quick way to incur the wrath of both your wife, AND her mother. Trust me, when your wife is tired of her mother hanging around, she will let her know. Until that happens, you need to understand that more than likely, she is desperately relying on her mother to help her learn the ropes of new motherhood. Allow her all the time with that help as she needs.
What do you do all day? It’s a common misconception among many new dads that a new mom’s day at home with the new baby is all fun, relaxation, and naps. Nothing could be further from the truth. A baby is a full-time job. When the baby is awake, he/she requires her constant attention. And during those blessed moments when she can get the baby to take a short nap, her time is often spent trying to catch up on all the other tasks you might feel tempted to complain about later. The reality is, your day at work is likely much more relaxing than your wife’s day at home with the bab
Should you be eating all that? No new dad is this clueless, right? Enough said.
Honey, can you get up with the baby? You have all day to sleep tomorrow, and I have to go to work. See #6…and then don’t ever think this again!
When did the doctor say you could start exercising again? Listen, genius. No one is more aware of the toll her pregnancy took on her body than a new mom is. If she wanted your opinion, she’d ask for it. A woman’s body goes through some amazing changes during pregnancy. Your job is to embrace the changes, to make sure she feels beautiful and sexy, and to be supportive of her efforts to maintain her fitness—when she decides its time. Besides, unless you have the physique of Adonis, you should probably be worrying a little more about your fitness.
So when can we start having sex again? OK. Sex is important. But new dads need to understand that there may be a period when sex is not very high on a new mom’s list of priorities. She may be exhausted. She may be experiencing some hormonal issues that you could never understand. And she may be insecure about changes to her body and feel like you won’t find her sexy. The best thing you can do is be supportive of her, tell her how beautiful she is, and be patient. Don’t let your needs take priority over hers. That’s never a good move for a dad.
Wow, I sure wish I got three months off from work. Any new dad who would utter such ridiculousness deserves the sofa. My guess is, your wife would trade places with you in a heartbeat. There’s a very good chance she is working much harder than you during your hours at work. The quicker you recognize this, the better off you’ll be.
Casserole again??? Are you kidding me? If your wife has gone to the effort to make you a meal while she has been parenting your baby all day, you should not only be thankful, you should let her know it is the most delicious cuisine you’ve ever dined upon. If you can’t learn to appreciate her efforts to feed you, feel free to give her a break and offer to cook for her, or bring her something home.
Let’s get one more thing straight. This is NOT a comprehensive list of things a new dad should never say to a new mom. There are dozens of other things you could say to offend the beautiful mother of your new baby. So just use your brain. Think before you speak. Love your wife and be empathetic of the incredible things she is going through. Remember, you are in this thing called “parenthood” together. It can be a beautiful thing. Don’t screw it up.