Ten Things New Dads Should Know About New Mums

Mothers Day is a lovely way for us blokes to celebrate and thank not only our mothers but the mothers of our children who, from the moment they make the transition from childless to mother-of-one seem to rise above themselves and become even more wonderful and sensible and mature, while we’re basically still standing in line waiting for our turn on the dodgems.

To us, babies are fun, inconvenient and a mystery all rolled into one relatively unresponsive bundle. We get better, of course, but our partners just seem to ‘get it’ right off the bat. We are in awe of them (the sensible fellas anyway). Of course, everything changes. The wonder is that despite a lot of the stuff you thought was really important being more difficult or even impossible to do, at least in the short term, the change is for the better.

Mostly. There’s still a few things you have to sort out if you want the transition to be a smooth one. The baby isn’t your problem, men. Here’s ten things you might want to be aware of when you bring little mini-the-two-of-you home.

1. THE WOMAN YOU LOVE.

Say ‘goodbye’ to the young, carefree girl you fell in love with, and say ‘hello’ to her mother.

2. NIGHT LIFE.

You know how when you come back from holidays and you’ve got all those fantastic memories but now the next holiday won’t roll around for what seems like a lifetime? That’s the current state of your sex life. I hope you took lots of happy snaps to look back on.

3. LAUGHTER.

All the funny things your wife loved about you when you were courting will now be the very things she hates most about you. You’ll try your one-liners out on strangers in cafes just to make sure they still work, but meanwhile, your partner will be standing beside you rolling her eyes and all but apologising for your behaviour. “But you used to laugh at my jokes,” you’ll want to say.  If you really want to make her laugh, stub your toe on the cot. I guarantee she’ll think that’s hilarious.

4. CRYING.

The lady in your life will now cry for no apparent reason and it’s all your fault (because you got her pregnant). It doesn’t matter if she just dropped a bottle of milk in the kitchen and hasn’t picked it up, you as good as did it yourself. She’s probably so exhausted she feels her time would be much better spent staring at the mess glugging out on the tiles and crying rather than bending all the way down there. You must now fix her tears with love, hugs, apologies, grovelling, kindness and understanding. Even if it kills you inside. Even if it was the last of the milk and you really badly needed a coffee. Yep, this is more important than coffee.

5. BOOBS.

Yes, they look fantastic. No, you cannot touch them.

6. FASHION.

After your baby arrives you may notice some changes in your wife’s wardrobe. Chances are fashion won’t exist for her anymore beyond comfortable tracky dacks and dressing gowns. Say anything and you won’t exist anymore either. The good news is, when her energy comes back she’ll want to dress nice again. The bad news is her clothes may not fit (see 4. CRYING, apologise because it’s all your fault and up your credit limit). Of course, if you’re planning on having more than one child, you must adapt. Trust me, the more kids you have the more arousing flannel pyjamas become.

7. MEALS.

There will be days when you come home from work and she feeds you toast. Understand this – toast is a meal. And say thank you! It still took every last scrap of her give-a-shitness to burn that sucker for you.

8. HOUSEWORK.

She’s home all day now so the house should look immaculate, right? Wrong. Furthermore, although housework has always been shared equally between you, your ‘half’ of the housework will now require more than taking the wheely bin to the curb once a week. Unless it stinks or moves, doing anything other than lifting her feet to walk over it is optional for your wife until her brain wakes up again. You don’t have this excuse so grab a mop, sunshine – it’s the long stick with a wig on the end.

9. DON’T SAY THINGS LIKE THIS.

“The baby slept through!” is a phrase to avoid. Unless your partner says this, it didn’t happen. If you accidentally say it and she doesn’t immediately agree, duck and run – if she hasn’t thrown something at you it’s only because she’s looking for something heavier, sharper or with better range. “I’m so tired” is also big no no. Just to be clear, you don’t know tired.

10. THE BEST ADVICE

Although they look interchangeable, all babies are in fact different. They do things at different times. So therefore, every parent’s experience with their little loved one will be slightly different. For example, unlike your mate whose wife might complain of having to wake their baby up in the morning, your experience might be one of three night feeds broken up by banshee-like-screaming and the start of a migraine. Do not under any circumstances ask your mate for advice to pass on when you get home. Just spit in his coffee and tell your wife about it. She’ll love you for it.

This is your chance to shine, fellas. Go with the flow. Her flow. “What can I do to help?” is now the sexiest thing you can say.

A big Happy Mothers Day to all you wonderful mums – but mostly to my own dear Mummy who I’m convinced some days still thinks I’m seven (I’m in the double figures now, Mum) and my beautiful, sexy, hot to trot, rather wonderful wife, Tracey, without whom our children would suffer everything from knotty hair to a sickening over supply of cheese toasty dinners. To my mother-in-law, Nanny, who for some reason still thinks her daughter didn’t make a mistake in marrying me, and to Grandma Mac and Grandma Lawrence, for letting me love them like the grandmothers I had, but who had to leave all too soon. We love you all xxx

Ten Things I Want To Tell New Parents

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69 Comments

  • *prints & passes to husband*
    “See! See! It’s not just just me it’s a THING, it’s a real THING”
    *bursts into tears*

    Great post. How many kids til you figured it out?

  • They are all spot on but #7 really appeals, tonight we are having toast, quite possibly burnt and probably covered in some canned legume. And it will have used up every last ounce of my give-a-shitness.

    Brilliant. 🙂

  • I remember once, in the early days of Roses life, offering my husband dinner… Sh!t on toast was his response as being acceptable… Very quickly I responded back with Mummy, Doggy or Baby Sh!t?? Another great post!

  • This is the worst thing I’ve ever read. Why does a couple’s sex life, laughter and good times have to stop once they have a baby. Why not write and encourage couples to make the most of their marriage still, find some intimacy, and even find some time to laugh together.

    It’s not ok for a wife to start treating her husband with contempt “Yes, they look fantastic. No, you cannot touch them” just because she’s a mum, and it’s not ok for you to encourage it.

    • Because she’s tired, mate. The first six weeks after bringing a baby home tend to be a real difficult period (know what I’m talking about, done it seven times) and what this post is trying to get at, through the use of humour (great for alleviating stress, you should try it some time) is it’s time to pull your socks up, cut her some slack and just remember, no matter how much you think you’re helping, she’s doing the bulk of the work. This post is not saying things don’t return to normal and you can play with those fun bags again, so don’t panic. Thanks for stopping by, but I really do think you’ve come to the wrong blog 🙂 Cheers.

    • This is a comical take on what actually happens after you have had a baby! (I have had two!) I live my husband dearly but if he tries to touch my within 6-12 weeks after the birth of a child he may loose a limb! It’s nothing to do with lack of live or anything else it’s called EXHAUSTION & SLEEP DEPREVATION!!!!!! Things do change after you have had Kids! It’s a fact of life! My youngest is 8 months & we have the best sex life ever BUT sometimes the answer is just NO….. He is stating FACTS not encouraging it……. Sometimes even the Daddy doesn’t feel like anything but sleep too 🙂

    • Funny thing is your comment is exactly what my ex used to say and that is why he is an ex. I feel sorry for your partner if that is your attitude Tim.

  • Totally agree with you Bruce. Anyone with kids (esp loads of them – I only have 4) knows that you have to have a sense of humour to get through some days, esp in the early days. And once you have kids, you life will change. How you do things will change. Accept it, enjoy it and have a good laugh.

  • Out of all these, number 9. If I could bold that, I would. NUMBER NIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE. sometimes after hearing “I’m so tired”, I’m like really? REALLY? Oh, Jesus, please keep me from strangling him. I love my baby (#5, we are catching up… Or stopping while we are ahead) and I love my husband, but don’t tell me you’re tired and wonder why I’m not sympathetic. 5 kids. You’d think he’d get it by now?

  • Excellent! How much easier would it be if new Dads were lucky enough to get this info immediately for both Mum, Dad & baby. Tim lighten up, I can only imagine you’ve not had new babies to get this. More than a couple make life so very different, it’s a fact!

  • Yay! Another bloke that gets it, although I will admit since we are onto bub number three my husband is pretty clued in now. Intimacy? Yeah right and while feeding a now two month old you touch my boobs you will get hurt!!

  • Seriously Bruce? That was a very well written, diplomatic, and understanding reply to Tim’s comment. Surely you are tired from being the perfect sympathetic husband on Mother’s Day? Can’t you try and sound just a little shitty or something? High-calibre responses raise the bar on bloggers like me. Damn you.

    • Bruce, your reply to Tim was spot on!! My husband is my everything but every time a new little person has entered our household, he knew he’d better keep his hands to himself lest I make his need for the ‘snip’ redundant :). Thanks Bruce for a great post and a must-read blog for all parents (with a sense of humour!)

  • so funny! As a mother of 5 kids under 7 I had a good laugh at this and so would my husband! we have been through it all and although I don’t wear trackies my wardrobe covers so many sizes and why yes I do love my flannelette pj’s:)

    thanks for that laugh, will send to my hubby for him to read tomorrow at his desk.

    and love how you’ve mentioned all the mums in your life! good work

    corrie:)

  • Was a hilarious read to keep me awake during the second (or third – not 100% sure!) feed for the newborn (#2 for us). Am forwarding the link to hubby to have a read & chuckle. While he is very good, he still insists on the fun bag grabbing and reminding me how long it’s been since the last time we *ahem* did ‘it’ (<sounds like I'm 12 giggling after finding Penis in the dictionary LOL!).

  • Too funny! I have 4 kids close together. Unfortunately Tim that doesn’t happen after kids LOL. Unfortunately my hubby after 4 kids still doesn’t get it. Once kids are off to school & the wife gets more sleep, more help, more appreciation and more consideration, the intimacy won’t exist. Kids take 2 dedicated parents if intimacy is ever going to exist. Just my opinion after 4 kids in 6 years! 🙂

  • I’m laughing my toys off. Only the first six weeks you say? Some of these things still apply at nine months haha. With a baby that usually wakes twice a night, when hubby says he is tired, I want to strangle him.

  • I just read this out to my husband and he and I laughed all the way through it (with a few nods thrown in). Nicely done, Bruce 🙂

  • Hilarious Bruce and ohhhh soooo true! Tim, Tim, Tim after 5 kids I can tell you that of course there is still intimacy, it does come back…or the last 4 wouldn’t have happened. You missed the point mate as the title clearly states blah blah blah NEW Mums!! You can not fathom the meaning of tired after having children….all you can do is read this post again and hold it like the 10 commandments in your brain throw in a load of washing, maybe even stack the dishwasher and for total adoration offer to rub her back/feet/neck without a happy ending for yourself and your wife will be all over you and she’ll be bragging to ALL her friends how wonderful you are. You can’t buy those brownie points my friend….

  • What a pity my ex hadn’t read this. Then he would have realised we were totally normal, not dysfunctional & might not have gone looking elsewhere for proper conversation – which of course led to other things.

  • LOL Should Tim come back and read the commments. I can tell you now Hubby barely gets to touch my boobs since the 3rd. And should he try he’s risking a slap. When a mother feeds the breasts do get tender plus after having a blasted kid clamped to one for 1/2hr or so there’s NO way I want someone coming along to “play” with them!! And as for sex, Grab a 5kg bag of anything (flour, potatoes whatever). Carry it EVERYWHERE, set the alarm so it goes off during the night and day every 2hrs and get up and STAY up for 1/2hr, holding the 5kg bag attaching a vacuum cleaner hose (going) to your chest. Do this WITHOUT falling asleep (at least try). Do it for 1wk then come back and tell us you’re interested in sex!!

  • had to come back and say I LOVE #9. The amount of times Hubby has said Wow DD2 slept through the night!! “oh you didn’t hear her at 12am, DD7 at 12.30am and DS10 at 1am.
    My pet hate is when I’ve had hardly any sleep and he goes “I got a GREAT nights sleep last night. You did too didn’t you, I never heard DD2”.
    Problem is I can guarantee that if DD2 sleeps through the night one of the other two will wake up instead!!! Last night it was DS10 at 2am and DD2 at 3.30am last night LOL

  • EVERY prospective father should read this! Of course a new baby is all roses and sweet smelling baby powder on the outside, but on the inside… it’s exactly as described. Tim, you are dreaming mate! Of course it’ll all get back to what you mentioned, but it’ll take some time! The sheer exhaustion, the absolute despair at having to even contemplate cooking a meal, cleaning anything, it nearly makes a woman cry. And as for the boobs, I have seven kids, and am still breastfeeding my youngest at 20 months. The boobs are SORE mate, they are not fun bags at this point in time (after the birth). I’m pretty sure Bruce did not encourage contempt towards a husband, just a weary and painful ‘they bloody hurt, so BACK OFF!!’
    Bruce, I like what you’ve written because it is real. We need the real stuff, so we can prepare for real life, otherwise we would have new mothers expecting to look like a supermodel once the baby has popped, and the new father expecting to carry on with Martha Stewart as his wife!

  • My husband has always had me to look after him and he was far from prepared as soon as our first little guy came along. It took almost 9 months for the both of us to adjust to our new lives for a lot of different reasons.

    The one thing I wish he had done was to help with scheduling those “special times” and finding a way to make them happen. Instead it was pretty much left up to me to find a way. Ah well maybe some of you blokes can take a lesson from this. If you make time and arrange a trustworthy babysitter, and a nice night out, chances are the magic will happen on its own.

  • After a little feedback please – new dad suffering from something like emotional whiplash. Prior to baby tons of cuddling and support. Post baby – don’t you come near me…

    The not desiring sex I absolutely understand, but this lack of intimacy was really unexpected. We also don’t seem to talk any more, about the now or the future. And rarely try to get out of the house together.

    To provide a little framework, I’m getting up to do at least some of the changes overnight. Can’t do the feeding at this stage (too early for formula) and I think she’s only expressed twice so far.

    Doing more of the cooking and dishwashing, and the general clothes/towel washes about the place (not that I wasn’t doing it before). Yes, she has more of the load even so.

    Really becoming concerned that she is martyring not only herself but also our relationship. Did anyone else go through this? Did it pass? How long did it take? What steps did you take?

    • Hi H. Firstly, despite having so many kids I’m not any sort of guru with this. It sounds like your baby is still very young, so there’s a couple of things which spring to mind – it’s all very normal still, just give her time, and keep doing what you’re doing. If she’s giving attention to the baby that’s a good sign, but if you’re worried about post natal depression, go speak to your doctor for guidance. As for the intimacy, that’s not unusual in my experience. It’s not like the movies or hallmark cards. It’s hard. It’s tiring. It’s full time. But if you’re helping and not making things worse with demands then you are doing the right thing and, as all the sleep patterns and feedings settle down, things will return to normal 🙂 I really hope that’s helped, H.

  • I dunno mate but maybe you should get a cool wife who doesn’t blame you for everything that happens to her? Even when she was a willing participant. Agree with point #2 though.

    • Wow. I can’t believe someone could miss the point so completely, DCM, but this post is absolutely not a complaint about my wife. She’s awesome 🙂 Thought I made that clear. Maybe read through the post again 🙂

  • Hi H,
    I’m a mum to three kids (all under 4 when the last was born) and my husband and I went through exactly the same thing, particularly after number one. Sex was a definite no-go for a long time for me (mostly it had to do with not being able to even think about the chance of falling pregnant again – the morning sickness was a killer for me), but the intimacy in our relationship really suffered too. When my husband and I finally started to talk about it, we realised just how much it had affected us. So we had a no-sex policy for a while so I knew there was no secret hope behind anything he did, and we just tried to start including more touching through the day (simple things like a shoulder squeeze, quick back rub or holding hands and snuggling on the couch). Gradually things improved and after a few months I was pregnant again 😉

    Something else I would strongly recommend is ‘The Five Love Languages’. Everyone has a love language that speaks to them, and usually ours is different to our partner’s. For example, my husband’s is physical intimacy, but mine is acts of service (when he does things for me like offering to do the grocery shopping or folding the washing without me asking – it might sound silly but that is when I really feel loved and appreciated). Telling her what a fantastic job she is doing or organising for her to have some time out (even if you and bub are in the next room) can really help too.

    Finally, I help run a fantastic facebook page http://www.facebook.com/babyhintsandtips where you can ask questions like your one above and other mums or dads will answer from their experience (I can say its fantastic because I loved and used the page for a year before I became an admin lol). Sometimes it just helps to know you aren’t alone. (Hope the plug was okay Bruce, feel free to delete).

    By the way, it sounds like you are doing a fantastic job. I’m sure you are helping a lot more than you think.

  • Hi H. I know your pain, we went through a similar thing. My advice is to talk about it, and when you do have some practical solutions thought up – like the touching with no sex for now rule mentioned above. Also, we found a schedule of duties helped so I didn’t feel like it was all up to me. We seriously had a written down task list that went on the fridge (and his side was long) so I wasn’t thinking “I need to do ……..” Cause it wasn’t my job. We also assigned nights, so Sunday to Wednesday I get up, Thursday to Saturday he gets up, and I pump enough during the week to freeze for “daddy’s nights”. So then 3 nights a week, I get a full night sleep – I really feel like myself again if I can just get some sleep. Having it all written down and agreed really helped!

  • Okay. As a mother to lots of kids I want to dispel a few myths. I’m going to say it once (I swore I never would in public).

    After you have a baby you’re tired, wobbly, a bit emotional. Be nice to your wife, help out, do the boring, physical stuff like laundry and vacuuming and you’ll find…

    1. You don’t stop having sex once you have a baby. Women who have had a baby are still happy for a little one on one time with their husband. 6 weeks is a big fat myth too.

    2. Boobs. After baby they will look fantastic. You CAN touch them. Milk does not ‘run out’.

  • Hi Alex,
    In my own personal experience:
    1. I had no desire for sex for 6 months – even though my husband was very hands on. I was exceptionally tired, worn out and emotionally drained, but even when that started to settle I just did not want to go there. 6 weeks is also just a guide and some are ready before then, but others need to wait for things to heal (hello stitches)
    2. My boobs do look the best they ever do in those first few months, but that’s after a week or so of tear inducing engorgement. Then, depending on how close to a feed it is they would leak like crazy (nothing like bending down to dry your legs after a shower only to have milk drip onto your toes).
    It’s great that your sex life kicked back into gear really quickly, but everyone is different and I think it’s important to recognise that, and that it is okay 🙂

  • I think so many problems, both marital and parental, could be avoided if we all stopped trying to live up to everyone else’s standards and just did the best we could. It’s usually more than enough. Give yourself a well deserved break and put yourself under less pressure 🙂

  • You are much more observant than those of previous generations. Took me 2 gens. to figure these things out. Gt.G. Dad.

  • Thanks Bruce. Thanks everyone. Still status quo at the moment unfortunately. We shall see how it goes.

    I would like to make things a wee bit clearer in case there were any misunderstandings. If something needs doing, I do it. No complaining or carrying on. The main thing I don’t do is baby clothes and woolens. Mostly because of… well, a blokes ability to wreck delicates despite all good intentions.

    The rest of it – I’ll happily do. Be it cooking or cleaning. Very frustrated with the two step kids though, as they cause a ton of mess around the house and don’t lift a darned finger to help out. As for the youngest well, oppositional defiance disorder would not be a bad diagnosis. Something is not right with that kid in any case. Don’t think I need to elaborate further, but there is that further set of complications.

    When I suggested going back to the counselor, the response was “Why? We don’t put in place what she suggests anyways. So why bother?”

    I’ll probably end up going along by myself anyways. If for nothing else a sanity check to make sure I’m not overreacting. Perhaps I’ll learn something new along the way which might help.

    For the record too, I run a business. So there is that on top of everything else. Pretty much everything, the roof over our heads to the food we eat is provided by me.

    Feeling HORRIBLY under appreciated right now. And if I’m being honest, I’m not behaving particularly well right now. The biggest question is what am I doing here? Obviously for the baby. But in the longer term, I’m really having some serious doubts.

    • It does sound like the problem has deeper roots than a new baby in the house. Good luck H. Hope the counselling brings some positive results for you 🙂

  • I know this was a light hearted posting from you too Bruce. Apologies for hijacking the thread a bit.

    Thanks again. Take care.

    H

    • All good H 🙂 Sometimes you just need to get it out. We all do from time to time 🙂 Hope you can find something to chuckle about on this blog and brighten your day.

  • I think my husband should have read this 32 years ago.I had 3 babies in 2 years 10 months, and 4, in 4 years and 6 months. But I loved being organised,and I was quite the disciplinarian; it’s the Primary School teacher in me.I am now enjoying the grandchildren, and 1 on the way,will make it 6 soon. So now I’m playing the proud ‘grandma’.And I had some of the best sex when I was pregnant.

    • I’ve just done some quick maths and I think I had some of the best sex when you were pregnant too, Christine 😉

  • This is the biggest croc of shit iv ever herd this is defiantly a woman who wrote this. No man with a set would ever speak like this.

    • Dear ‘The man’. I’ve been giving some thought to how to properly respond to your comment in a way in which you might understand my message. Here goes: your messing the massage I am defiantly a man with a set whats made more kids then fingers on you’re left hand (I sayed left cause I don’t wannna mess with you’re right hand’s rhythm). Hole point of this post was too give a chuckle too parents but also help the odd man see they need to be understanding and not crocs, or indeed alligators, of shit towards their womenfolk when theres a new baby in they’re house. I think your that odd man 🙂 Thanks for stopping by, but I think you’ve ended up on the wrong blog 😀 Bruce ‘A Man’ Devereaux

  • My question to The Man – how do you herd a crock of shit? I think the correct tense is actually “herded”.

  • Stitches… thanks Bruce! That response will no doubt be lost/wasted on him, but at least the rest of us get it. Cheers for the chuckles, I’ll be back. So glad I fell over this blog this morning. Keep up the great work! 🙂

  • Love this! This info should be handed to new fathers in hospitals after babies are born.
    Other tips like:
    Do not ask what’s for dinner. If the kitchen doesn’t smell like food offer to make it yourself!
    I also didn’t like SO asking if I needed help with anything. Crying on the lounge feeding twins at 5pm in a house that looked like a bomb went off and daddy dearest really couldn’t work out what he could do all by himself? Just do SOMETHING dads! Or at least look like you’re doing something…

  • I find this article perpetuates mysoginist ideas about gender roles and generally leaves me feeling upset. Men and women, we are surely better than this.

    • I understand what you’re saying and totally agree if you come into this post with that attitude it is going to be upsetting. However… often what people need when they’re tired and cranky and the world seems smaller isn’t a lecture but a laugh 🙂 Having a chuckle and finding a funny when things are often going cry-worthy wrong is what I try to do in my life and on this blog. It’s for shits and giggles, and sometimes I try to throw a home truth or two in. If you want a site about equality and men are just as good parents as women, which I believe, then you have come to the wrong site. Sorry you got upset at my post though 🙂

  • This is a wonderful post Mr D!! I intend to send it to all of the new parents, or new parents to be that I know (and maybe one day, if IVF works I’ll even send it to my fiancé).

    Brilliant comment thread by the way. Hahaha, your replies to the trolls are always a great read ?.

    You are one lucky SOB to have Tracey… but what’s truly touching is that you know just how lucky you are.

    I’ve been reading your blog from the beginning to keep me busy during my latest stay in hospital and it’s provided me with many giggles. So thank you for bringing a smile to my (ever so bored of hospital) face ?.

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