Q. Am I being selfish wanting my husband home every day after giving birth 4 weeks ago?

Have a parenting question? Ask me via e-mail or Quora.

Q. Am I being selfish wanting my husband home every day after work and on the weekends after giving birth 4 weeks ago?

A. Absolutely not.

Try to explain. “I really, really need you here. When you’re supposed to be home at 5, I am literally counting every minute starting at 4:30. I am crushed by 5:01. I feel resentful and angry when you’re late.”

Try to understand. “What’s going on for you? How can we meet both of our needs?
“Do you need 10 minutes to lie down between getting home from work and me thrusting baby at you? What if we go for a walk together when you get home, bring back just a bit of that thing we used to do?
“I can see it’s important for you to do X on the weekend. I need time, too. We could trade off, each take a couple hours.
“This is such a huge change for both of us. We’re on the same team. We can figure this out.”

Keep at it. This isn’t one big conversation; it’s many small conversations.

Also: In men, excessive work can be a sign of postpartum depression. As many as 10% of new dads get PPD. See Depression In Men: A Dad’s Story of Male Postpartum Depression and Do You Have PPND? Find resources here.

Q. How much time off work should I take after giving birth?

A. As much as you can get + save up for. My goal was to save up for a year. I figured that Canadians, who get a year of paid maternity leave, must know something we don’t.

I think most of us first-time parents imagine it’ll take a month or two to settle into our new lives. Researchers, though, define the “transition to parenthood” as at least a year. I was definitely grateful for the flexibility my plan allowed me.

I get how unrealistic it may seem to take a year off. Momentum is building now around early childhood education, as policymakers recognize the implications of the fact that 90% of the brain is developed by age 5. I truly hope parental-leave policy becomes the next big political issue.

What was your biggest pain point with your partner when baby was born?

What do you wish you’d known about taking time off from work?

Add your thoughts here.

Copyright Betty Udesen / Pear Press
Written by

Tracy Cutchlow

Tracy is the author of the international bestseller Zero to Five: 70 Essential Parenting Tips Based on Science, a public speaker, and a creator of places to speak and be heard. Sign up for her newsletter here.

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