Many parents are surprised at how much extra work a tiny infant can create. With the addition of a new baby to the family, the pattern of your life at home will change dramatically. And what once seemed a fair distribution of work at home may no longer seem fair or so comfortable for both of you. If one of you feels you’re doing more housework and child care than the other, redistribute the load.
- Share ownership for making sure chores and other tasks get done. If one person is primarily responsible for getting things done, he or she might soon feel overwhelmed. Think about who’s responsible for making sure bills are paid on time, making and attending doctor’s appointments, buying groceries, arranging child care, and performing other tasks. Are these tasks equally distributed?
- Be willing to give up control. Many times we ask somebody to do a task, then criticize how they do it. Be clear about what needs to get done, then let your partner take charge and do it in his or her own way, whether it’s vacuuming or bathing the baby.
- Share child care. Work out a plan that has you both caring for the baby. You’ll both feel involved and your baby will benefit from the attention of both parents. It’s a good idea for each parent to get one-on-one time with the baby. This will give the other parent a break and also allow each of you to develop your own unique relationship with your child. Some couples find that making certain tasks or activities, such as bath time or weekend breakfasts, “belong” to one parent is a good way to establish a routine that helps build bonds between baby and parent and also gives the other parent a break to look forward to.
- Be flexible. As babies grow, their needs change. Your work schedules may change as well. Periodically revisit your distribution of child care and household work to see whether it still seems fair to both you and your partner.