Most of our posts are for dads. Actually, they all are. That’s why we’re called Dad University. Just this once, though, we’re bringing you some content that’s fun for both men and women. In this post, we’re sharing some tips for new moms that will teach how to get your husband to help with the baby during the first year of adjusting to the “new normal” – life with a baby.
Guys, if you’re reading this on your lunch break, it would be smart to text your wife the link so that you can discuss it later.
Here’s the deal: Men are completely unaware when they are disengaged from the life of their newborn.
If you think they should be more involved, they have no clue. The same is true with late-night feedings or house chores. They are totally clueless when it comes to helping with their newborn baby.
Why are men so unaware? The pain of being disengaged is not great enough to make them realize what’s going on.
Because women are far more superior to men in so many ways, they carry the burden that men leave behind so that that the family unit survives and the baby gets what he or she needs. In other words, the man never feels the weight of the problem.
Moms, let’s all agree that we should get our husband to help with our newborn.
If you’ve tried and failed, don’t get discouraged. You’re experiencing something women have experienced for centuries. Even though history may be on the man’s side, it’s never too late to change course and our baby-daddies involved in the parenting process.
You are empowered to change your situation
If you’re a new mom, you might be thinking, “But my husband is at work all day and needs to relax when he comes home. I don’t want to bother him with petty things like this.” Or you may be saying to yourself, “That’s just how he is. When our child is older, he’ll become more interested in our family.”
Thinking and saying those things is completely normal. However, you need to hear this: it is okay to tell your partner that his behavior is negatively affecting your well-being! It’s okay for you to ask him to join your team to help parent the new blob of flesh that just moved into your home.
Ultimately, this is about empowerment. It’s not about you having to do anything more than you’re already doing. It’s about you taking charge of your situation because you know it’s better for you, the baby, and everything else along the way.
So, here are some parenting tips for moms who are trying to get their husbands to help with the baby.
Here’s what happens when a man and woman bring home a baby from the hospital.
- Before the baby, the man was the woman’s priority
- Baby comes and is now the new priority
- Man is no longer the priority
- Now, the man feels left out
Right or wrong, this is exactly what happens to new moms and dads. And if it’s not checked, they’ll experience “the wedge effect,” when the baby causes a husband and wife to drift far apart.
Let’s be serious for a second.
Ladies, if a man isn’t getting some kind of attention at home, he will eventually find it somewhere else.
He might do it intentionally at first, but his need for attention will take over and it will put you both in a really difficult situation. So, for the sake of your marriage and to get your husband to help more, here are some ways to give affection:
- Date nights (if you don’t want to have a babysitter, get take-out and watch a movie together at home)
- Affection (when you pass in the hallway, or before you fall asleep, hold his hand or give him a kiss to let him know he’s loved)
- Sex (don’t roll your eyes… both you and your husband need this kind of affection more than you know)
When a man gets what he needs or craves, his self-confidence grows which, in turn, increases his willingness to jump in and help.
This is about positive reinforcement. It’s honestly just like parenting. Kids respond well to a positive affirmation and will do the same behavior again to get the same reward.
So, let me tell you something you already know: men are just kids trapped in big bodies. They respond well to the same kind of positive feedback.
That means when something good happens, acknowledge it! Things like:
- “I appreciate you doing the dishes and taking out the trash.”
- “Thanks for washing my car. It looks great!”
- “Thanks for working so hard to provide for our family. I know it’s hard, but I notice.”
- “I noticed you woke up early to change his diaper. That was really sweet.”
When a man feels appreciated for what he does, there is NOTHING he won’t do for his partner.
Think about the history of mankind. Men have built pyramids, gone to war, and traveled to the ends of the earth because they felt appreciated by a woman.
Moms, your husband will do the same for you if you appreciate him. If you want to get your husband to help, to make your baby a bottle, clean the house, wake up in the middle of the night for a diaper change, or build you a pyramid, be intentional about thanking him for his contributions to the family.
Recognize there is more than one way to skin a cat
Moms, have you ever caught yourself asking your husband these questions?
- Why did you swaddle the baby like that?
- Why did you pick out that outfit?
- Did you really think it was a good idea to give him that snack?
- Where did you learn to fold clothes?!
One of the most discouraging things you can do is criticize your husband when he is just trying to help. Sure, you’re probably right. Your husband might be terrible at folding laundry and might not be the best swaddler. But, in the end, do you want your husband to keep trying or do you want him to disengage?
If you want him to lean in and be involved in the parenting, you’re going to have to give up a little bit of control and let him help in his own way.
Do Family Activities
This one is simple, but it can have an enormous impact on your relationship with your husband. If your partner is gone all day and doesn’t have a lot of time to bond with the baby (or to bond with you for that matter), he probably feels like an outsider.
Remember what we talked about before. Prior to the baby, he felt like a major part of the family, but now he plays second-fiddle to your bundle of joy.
A great new mom tip is to invite your husband to go out and do something simple with you and the baby. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. Here are some examples:
- Take an evening walk
- Walk around Target together
- Take a picnic to the park
- Go to the playground and swing together
These family activities don’t have to cost money or cause stress. After all, you have a newborn and are already exhausted. Just pick a few little things that you can do together to make your husband feel like he’s part of your new family unit. The result will be a more involved and excited husband who is willing to step out of his comfort zone to help with the newborn.
Divide the Work
Have a meeting to create a housework schedule. Just like you might write a list of chores for your kids, make one for you and your husband and then hang it in an obvious spot. The projects will pile up and, if no one is taking ownership over them, both you and your husband will get overwhelmed. And then, if you’re like most people, you’ll start fighting over things that could have been prevented with a little brainpower.
So, meet together and divvy up responsibilities like
- Making baby food
- Putting the baby to sleep
- Cleaning the dishes
- Cleaning the clothes
- Giving the baby a bath
The list could go on, but you get the idea. Be specific. And, if it gets annoying, remember you’re doing this to help engage your husband and prevent unnecessary arguments!
Podcast Ep. 89 For Women – 7 Ways to Get Your Husband More Involved With The Baby
Ask for Help
This seems like a no-brainer, but it surprisingly doesn’t happen as much as it needs to. New moms, for whatever reason, have a problem asking for help. This inability to ask for help can be caused by a variety of factors like:
- Fear of showing weakness
- Thinking, “He should know what I need before I tell him!”
Let’s just be honest for a second. Your husband is completely clueless about what to do. Not only is he a man, but he’s never been a dad before. He can’t read your mind and he definitely doesn’t know what would be helpful to you.
So, if you want to get your husband to help, ask for it! Be very clear and specific about what you need and then show your appreciation when he contributes.
Take Time Away
Give your husband time to bond with the baby – while you’re out of the house. Remember, he feels left out, so the more time he can have with your newborn, the better.
Dads, this idea is going to freak you out at first. You’ll immediately think, “I have no idea what I’m doing! What do I do if he cries?! What do I do if he poops in the bathwater?!” You can find comfort in knowing that men have been figuring it out for thousands of years and you can too. Here are some ideas for leaving your husband home alone with your child:
- At bath-time, go for a walk around the neighborhood
- After dinner, do the dishes and let your husband play with the baby
- Go away with your girlfriends for the night
Moms, don’t worry, your husband will figure it out. And the beautiful thing is that, when you get back, he will have a whole new appreciation for what you do as a mom.
What do you think? Would you add to this list? Moms, are there things you disagree or agree with? We’d love to hear from you!