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Tired Parents of a Newborn

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Tired Parents of a Newborn

“YOU’RE tired? I’M tired!”

The newborn stage can be difficult for a variety of reasons. As mothers, we can usually understand our newborn’s frustration as they are new to the world and are too cute for us to be too irritated with them for too long. What we may struggle with more is our partner’s frustration. When they huff and puff about how tired they are or when they require us shaking them awake because it’s “their turn” and the baby is crying, mothers can see red. It’s maddening to hear our partners talk about their struggles. It’s almost as if we feel they are oblivious to OUR current state of exhaustion, hunger, and/or proximity to a “break down”. However, it’s unlikely that partners are purposely trying to push us over the edge by these complaints or discouraged sighs. Our partners do deserve our validation of their feelings at the end of the day. As do we. The issue isn’t that our partners are expressing how they’re feeling; it’s that we do not feel seen, recognized, or supported throughout our day and when another person expresses how they’re feeling, we explode because we didn’t realize we were in a sharing space in the first place and if ANYONE deserves to complain, it’s us! But we take on pressure and expectations quietly and endure because we may feel it’s “just our job as a mom” or we’ve tried asking for help only to still find dishes in the sink or laundry at the top of the stairs.

Unfortunately, there is no quick fix other than continued grace for each other and good ole communication from both of you. The fact is that both of you ARE tired. And while both of your feelings and experiences are valid, it is not going to help either of you to compare. Talk to your partner about your need to express how you’re feeling or your need for help more often so that you don’t explode when they happen to share. Also, discuss each other’s triggers. After a difficult night, does your partner absolutely need to express how tired he is, or can he acknowledge “Man, that was rough. I know I’m tired, but I’m sure you definitely are.”. OR. Do we hold off on commenting until later in the morning when things are more settled? There’s a range of different responses to working through these types of moments with your partner. It may be frustrating to have the conversation in the first place, but we need to be able to validate each other’s feelings and hold space for each other without exploding.

Other conversations can also be helpful such as how you should respond when you do come across the undone task that you asked about yesterday. What response would your partner request from you in this situation (the answer cannot be “nothing”)? What do they feel is a fair way to follow up instead of “just doing it myself” which can lead to resentment or resorting to “nagging” which is exhausting for everyone? This stage will pass, but each interaction with your partner counts and you both need each other. None of this advice is going to fit each couple perfectly across the board, but consider what you can take from it before the next, “I’m tired…” hits you.

by Olivia Espinosa


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