This can be tricky.
First of all, the term “help” really irritates a lot of women? Surely if things are ever going to be anywhere near equal then it’s not about your partner “helping” but more about them doing their part to look after their child.
Some partners are amazing and intuitive and happily take on their new role quickly and with ease. They appreciate how tough the job is and do as much as they can.
Others are slow burners, they learn on the job. It might take time, and tears, arguments and apologies but they get it eventually. They need prompting perhaps but they get it, deep down!
And others…useless? Worse than useless sometimes? Selfish? Unrealistic? Immature? Misogynistic? Unwilling to lift a finger to do the jobs they consider to be yours?
It’s sad but true. Not all partners pull their weight. Many partners don’t think it is their responsibility.
So, what can we do? Can we change things? Can we encourage them to do more?
Your partner is not a mind reader – so it’s really important to try and communicate well and that can be hard to do effectively when you are exhausted and maybe not getting on so well. But try and find a moment of peace, when you are both in a good mood and not mid-argument about whose turn it is to change the dirty nappy – and try and explain how you are feeling.
Instead of ranting about how you do everything and they do nothing, maybe come at it from a different angle and tell them how much you appreciate the things that they do, and how great it would be, and how supported you would feel if they could do a little bit more.
If you are feeling unsupported or under appreciated then let your partner know. If you feel that they could do more to help you then tell them this and tell them EXACTLY what it is you think they could do. Write a list of the things that need doing and see which chores your partner could realistically take on.
You can suggest taking turns with bath time. You could agree that one of you does night waking before a certain time, and the other does them after this time. One of you could do the late evening shift and one of you do the morning. If you do all the cooking and domestic chores, you could see if they would be up for helping with those too. You could ask him to do more at the weekend – to allow you to catch up with friends, exercise, read, binge box sets or just sleep!
I know this can be easier said than done if your partner is not receptive to this kind of thing, or if you are not very good at delegating, but it is worth having a think about and then having a chat about it if you would like things to change. It is like self-care. It might need some planning and some uncomfortable conversations but hopefully it will be worth it.
For more support with things like this, please check out our Postnatal Course.