I wish I had had the peace of mind to write this to my husband years ago:
I know this may seem weird for me to write you this letter, but I wasn’t sure how else to bring this up. You’ve been spending a lot of time with a new girl, at first I thought I would be ok with it but now to be honest, it’s getting harder. I’ve watched you two together and she brings out the best in you. All the things I fell in love with, your kindness, tenderness and silliness, I see her bringing that in you and it makes me so happy. But as weird as it sounds, I’m feeling a little bit jealous too. I used to be your number one girl and now there are days when I feel our daughter has taken that place from me. That sounds so ridiculous! I feel so dumb “saying” that out loud, how can I be jealous of the time that you spend with our daughter?
I blame the lack of sleep and all the crazy hormones that are still running through my body, but things are different in a way that I didn’t expect. We don’t have as much time together any more. It seems like we get home, rush through dinner, playtime, bath time and then when it’s finally time for us, I can barely keep my eyes open. I don’t remember our nights being so short – what happened? Sixty minutes goes by so much faster now - how does one little baby have that power? I also don’t remember having so much to do! It seems like whenever we are home there is always laundry or dishes or cleaning or something else that we should be doing. You are so great with her to play with her and read to her, but while you are doing that I feel this crazy compulsion to clean the kitchen or start a load of laundry. What I really want to do is sit on the floor playing with you two but the guilt of not “doing” gets the best of me.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I need your help emotionally and physically. I need you to be patient with me, to talk to me and reassure me that you still love me, that I might not be your #1 girl, but I’m your #1 woman and partner. I need to hear it. I need to feel it – I need one or two of those hugs and kisses you shower on our daughter, showered on me. I know this may seem silly to you, and possibly a little irrational, but being rational is not really my strong point right now. I need more of your help around the house. You do a great job, but in my sleep deprived state I’d feel a lot better knowing that there were things that I didn’t have to worry about (i.e. like washing the bottles or packing the bag for the next morning). There are days when I feel like I have a huge list to do without the time or the energy to get it all done. Sometimes it feels like by becoming a mom I now have the weight of the world on my shoulders, that everything falls on me. I know that it’s probably just in my head, I’m working on it and trying to figure it all out. I need to work on feeling that I have to do all the things that I used to do and more. I need to work on the fact that now there are little things that make me freak out when they never did before.
We have been given a wonderful gift. Our daughter is more than I could have ever hoped she would be. You are so incredible with her! You have been such a great daddy, which is why I feel so bad even bringing this up. I wouldn’t change anything about your relationship with her. I would love nothing more for the three of us to just be in a bubble and play and not worry about the outside world….. I keep telling myself that being a family of three is still new to us, we are still adjusting, figuring out our new roles and how to function as three, instead of two. I know that we need to give ourselves time and be patient but it’s hard. Change is hard and if I’m being honest, sometimes I miss how it was before (long dinners out and a movie seems like an eternity ago). We are now creating our new normal. We may have to sacrifice some things (no more sleeping until noon on the weekends), but we will also create some new things too (family adventures to the park). What do you think? How are you feeling? Is this what you expected? We talk a lot about the baby and the things that need to get done, but I want to make sure that we are talking about ourselves too, no matter how selfish it might seem on the surface.
Thank you for reading, just writing all this down on paper makes me feel a little less insane :-) . I love you, I love us and I love our little family.
I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.