Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mommy Guilt

This post has been something I've wanted to write for a long time but have been afraid to. I don't want to be judges or to have people take this post the wrong way. But since my blog is my own personal space I decided to go ahead and write it

You know the saying a woman becomes a mom the minute they become pregnant and a dad becomes a dad the minute the baby is born. Well that is def true. Although I'm still waiting for that to sink in to the hubs sometimes.

Don't get me wrong. He is an amazing dad. Gianna loves him so much and he loves her. He is so good at making up silly little songs and playing with her that it makes me smile from ear to ear. It's just in other ways I wish he'd step up more.

Since Gianna has been born she is my number one priority. There are days I get no time to myself. The house looks like a tornado went through it, laundry doesn't get done or if it does it's thrown places instead of folded, I walk around with baby puke in my hair and puréed peas all over my shirt. And I honestly don't mind. I love it. I just sometimes wish I'd get one hour to myself!

It doesn't help when the hubby waltzes in after work, plops down in front of the tv, asks when dinners ready and enjoys a video game

Meanwhile I'm still covered in puke and peas, holding a screaming baby and trying to make a semi decent and healthy meal. Then after dinner is over I hope he will take over but nope back to plopping on the couch after a smoke outside for desert. Meanwhile I'm cleaning up the remains of dinner, feeding the baby and giving her a bath. Then it's 730 and time to put her to bed. At this point im so exhausted I fall asleep shortly after.

Weekends are no different. Every weekend I hope the hubs will give me the morning off but no he immediately gets up, makes coffee and plays a video game leaving me with a baby to change and feed.

Now I know I'm painting the hubs in a bad light and I'm
Not trying to. In his defense he doesn't work a simple 8-4 job. Most days he's up at 430, at work by 5 and he doesn't get home until 6 or 7. I certainly dont blame him for relaxing on the couch after work. And on the weekends he takes care of all of the cleaning I don't get to and he's amazing at doing all the chores I hate. All the nasty deep cleaning stuff

I admit our ideas of entertaining the baby are different. He's fine with playing video games as long as she's in the room and he can keep an eye on her, I think we actually need to entertain her.

And if he does give me the morning off and watches her or occupies her while I clean or read a book. I feel guilty, like I'm an awful mom abandoning her child. So I stop what I'm doing and join in with whatever they are doing. I'm constantly torn between trying to keep up with daily life and spending good quality time with my daughter. I beat myself up if I don't feel like I stimulated her enough during the day, or stress over her meeting her milestones, especially when it comes to her verbal skills. I pick her up immediately if she's crying and try to keep her as entertained as possible.

Meanwhile the hubs is content with just letting her be. He feels she has to learn to play by herself and he doesn't hover the way I do. Like I said he feels as if quality time with her is spent with her sitting in his lap watching daddy play video games. And I'm not saying its not

It's just different how we have to very different approaches to our daughter. My mom says it was the same way with my dad. He pretty much left everything up to her, the feeding, changing, getting to bed, etc etc and only stepping in wheel playing with her. Then she said the minute I turned one, was waking and talking and doing more things he stepped in and spent way more time with me from there on out.

So I just wander if anyone else had experiences like this. Again in not saying we are having problems, or he doesn't spend time with her. That's not the case. There are just some instances where we differ when it comes to her and I feel like sometimes it hasn't sank in to him that he had another person to take care of now and his needs don't always come first.

So what do y'all think. Is this typical first year of motherhood stuff. Any advice. Please share!

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  1. You are not alone! My husband and I both work full time jobs. I cherish the time I have with my son and I have to cram a whole day of quality time into just a few hours. My husband has no problem going for a beer or to play hockey after work, or just laying on the couch. He does read books to my son when he carries them over to him, and every once in a while he'll get down on the floor and play. Now that my son is so much more interactive, my husband enjoys spending time with him much more. For the most part tje chores are my job. Dinner, Bath and bedtime are mine, with very few exceptions. I typically don't mind at all because I miss my son so much every day that I am at work.

    Most likely I will be staying at home when we have a second child and I expect that my husband will think these things are up to me more than ever.

    I think you picked the right place to get this all out, I suspect a lot of other moms will be right there with you!

  2. I definitely think we have different approaches to our children. My husband is great and looks after Madison every Saturday when I work as well as helping out in the evenings by picking her up from daycare and feeding her etc BUT when we are all home if she calls out I respond and I play with her, hes happy to watch tv knowing she is in the same room- I cant do that!

  3. This is completely normal. It is very important that You vocalize the way you feel to him. He also can't improve if he doesn't know you feel the way you do. I also think that having to entertain her 24/7 is not logical. NOt only for your sanity but also giannas. Everyone needs some time to collect their thoughts, and regroup. Mommy guilt can be very powerful, but you are a great mother so there is no reason to let it control your actions. I do think that the older the kids get the easier it gets for the dads. Just continue doing what you think is best, and communicating your concerns. You will figure out a routine that works for everyone.

  4. That sounds exactly like us!! My baby is 5 weeks old and when I give her to my husband he just sits her on his lap. Totally different parenting styles. Though I do agree in teaching the baby to play by herself.

  5. you need to ask him to help you when he comes home. my husband did that at first when karina was born, but it seriously started to grate on my nerves that I did EVERYTHING. and he still wanted more. i told him he could eat a hot homecooked meal for dinner and entertain the baby or fend himself every night.
    i feel bad when i do things when i should/could be entertaining her, but i figure i feel better an am a better mom when im clean and showered and dressed and maybe with a little makeup. the kid has enough toys to play with.
    part of being a mom is taking care of yourself (including some "you" time) so you can take care of your kid/s. it took me a couple of months to learn that. but i did and everyone is much happier. but seriously i feel so guilty when im doing whatever and the husband is watching the baby starts crying, but im now at the point where im not so nervous i jump right up and take care of it. i let my husband figure it out now.
    you are doing a great job, and mommy guilt is so normal it's sad. and i dont think it ever ends unfortunately.

  6. Omg this sounds EXACTLY like my situation, only I don't dare blog about it or vent about it on Twitter or Facebook cuz hubs will see it & get all bent out of shape...

    When Jay was really little his idea of quality time with Jay was holding him, playing CoD. Fortunately that stopped when Jay got too squirmy as he didn't want to just sit there - he wanted to play. But even now, hubby's idea of watching him is letting him crawl over the house while he sits on the couch and does whatever... drives me nuts! I can't even take a nap without getting woken up by Jay screaming & crying as hubby put him in the play pen & he clearly wants out! He does work 2 jobs tho so he's only really around for a few hours at night during the week.. he does watch Jay one morning a weekend too so I can catch a few extra Z's & helps with Saturday night's bath too. Just our differing parenting styles drives me nuts & I often feel your exact frustration - I gave up the gaming when we had him as I didn't want to risk being one of those neglectful parents you read about in the news who's child died or got severely injured while the parents were preoccupied with a game... it sucks but Jay's NY main priority and to me, he comes 1st.

  7. I think that all those magazines that talk about all the ways dads can help and feel involved with a new baby set women up for failure! They make you think that the dad will just be a second mom and jumping in to help with every little thing...and want to! Ha! Sure there are dads like that, but God made us soooo different. Moms are nurturing in ways that dads just aren't. I focus hard on trying to be thankful that my husband loves us, provides for us and spends time with us. There are plenty of dads who don't.
    And I agree that once they can walk and do more the dads get way more involved.

  8. I think this is totally normal. But normal doesn't always mean right or working well. Maybe an idea would be to ask him to take one of the night time chores Food or Bath each night- let him choose which one he does every day. I usually just ask, before dinner "Which one do you want to do tonight, feed or bathe?" and he answers. Making bed time a family routine will help take some of the pressure off you and make for some good quality time. Set up a routine of a quick book, family hug and prayer, and goodnight! Maybe it'll be something he'll look forward to.

  9. My husband is in the Air Force and I feel like this was written about me. Its hard and yes somedays I just want to go and do whatever I want and not worry about when I can come home. I totally understand this post, actually the hubs and I got in a little argument about this today. I know in the future I will look back and it all won't seem as bad as it did then. And we will miss the great days we got to spend with our little ones. Im glad I and not the only one who feels like this.

  10. hey now, dont be too hard on yourself, seriously.. you are doing SO MUCH for your daughter and you dont even know it! just by being home with her and there for her each day you are stimulating her to the fullest, for real! we are lucky to be mommies that can be home with our little girls.

    one thing that has helped me get my hubby to help out- i am TOTALLY the care taker... he has always from day #1 been in charge of running her bath {i dont ever do this} and... just today i spent the entire day shopping, and hubby was home with baby all day long. they did great, they always do great and i had hubby stay with baby for an evening for a couple of hours right away when baby girl was one week old. a couple of things to remember:

    1. you just know your daughter a little bit better than your hubby and this is only b/c you are her #1 caregiver, nothing wrong with that.

    second... when my hubby was away for 10 days about 2 months ago- he came home and i told him this "wow, being a single mom would be HARD, i could never do it without you." he replied with "i'm glad to hear you couldn't do it without me" ... this little gesture made him feel really good.

    even though, i as mom, do most everything he really gives me kuddos and helps out when i really need it. i do agree though, you have to tell the men {aka. nag on them} b/c they never just know exactly what to do like we do- so we just have to lay out it for them ;)

    you're not alone with this- it's all good!

    and... just be sure to let him know you totally trust him and everything he does in his relationship with his baby girl.

  11. I think when babies are little men sometimes have a harder time relating to them. Also, babies (especially breastfed ones) often are more bonded to the mom. I think sometimes it just doesn't come as naturally for Dads. With both my daughters my husband has an easier time the older they get.

  12. My husband spends one entire day with her each week. I know this isnt reasonable for everyone. But we both work 4 ten hour days and he is home with her on Tuesdays. I know his day with her is different than mine and there is probably ALOT more Sesame Street than is appropriate, BUT the biggest thing this has done for our family is given him the appreciation for what it takes to take care of a BABY (well now 13 month old) all day. He's been doing this since I went back to work when P was 3 months old. He says now, "I could never handle being a stay at home dad. I'm not cut out for all this. It's harder work than I thought it would be"

    Even though I don't stay at home. It's a goal down the road......But he realizes how much work the baby is and he really steps up his day to day help and weekend help.

    Maybe giving your hubby just 5 or 6 hours alone at home on Saturday or Sunday while you have a few hours to yourself will bring a little more perspective into his world.

    It sounds like you have a wonderful husband who works really hard. I am sure that a tiny bit of perspective wouldn't hurt him :-)