Whether you reckon you can do every bit of babycare better than your partner or he just doesn’t understand how much you’re juggling, being parents can cause problems and arguments in your relationship
Perhaps he used too much nappy cream or maybe he just won’t stop banging on about that funny thing (really?) that happened at work today. Whatever it is, it’s bugging you and the next thing you know, you’ve bitten his head off.
While you get your head around new parenthood, it can be so easy to snap or take any frustrations out on your partner. After all, you’re tired, busy with a new baby and you’re more hormonal than a teenager with a hangover.
But, lashing out isn’t the most productive thing for your relationship. Work it to your advantage instead.
1. Don’t be hard on yourself
You do have a pretty decent reason why you might be feeling a bit irritable right now.
‘Your sense of self can change as a new mum, especially if you’re the one at home,’ says Susanna Abse, Chief Executive of The Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships. ‘Maybe he’s back at work and you miss your job, or perhaps you’re building up baby expertise so you feel like he does things “wrong”.’
Accepting that you’re struggling and there’s an issue will help the situation.
2. Press pause and take a step back
Feel that rise in your stomach? Press your mental pause button – literally picture a TV remote in your hand.
Ask yourself what’s actually getting to you about the situation. ‘Breaking this down will help you identify what you’re feeling and why, giving you some distance to calm down,’ says Susanna.
3. Put yourself in his shoes
If you’re dwelling on the fact he didn’t help you bathe the baby, instead of automatically assuming he’s a bit feckless, think about why.
‘Perhaps he’s just nervous he’ll do it wrong,’ says Susanna. ‘Considering this will help you temper your reaction, and give you a starting point for a chat about it.’
4. Communicate, communicate, communicate
Ok, it’s not very novel, but talking really is the best idea here. If something goes unsaid, you’ll just feel more irritated.
‘Steer clear of blaming and accusing – he’ll just become defensive – and instead say something like “I felt X when you did this” so you can discuss it rationally,’ says Susanna.
And if you really have flown off the handle – apologise. It’ll help you both put the situation in the past.
5. Take a time out
Whether it’s a run with your iPod, bubble bath or browsing the Whistles website, find out what helps you wind down.
Make that your answer when you’re about to – or have just – snapped. You’ll probably find what had you seeing red before doesn’t feel like such a big deal now but, if it still does, at least you’re in a better frame of mind for a chat.