I’ve been on Reddit since pregnancy, giggling at marvelously funny people and also hunting down useful parenting posts. It’s an entertaining resource of information. And many of the most popular posts are always rant/vent threats about horrible, horrible DHs. (DH stands for dear husband, Mom lingo, but there’s nothing ‘dear’ about anything they write or anything that they do.)
It’s really the worst. Typical scenarios: Mom wakes up at night to help baby, DH complains, cue Mom Rant. Mom needs a break, DH whines about needing his break, cue Mom Rant. Mom can’t do laundry, DH complains, cue Mom Rant. Terrible things are said! Screenshots of texts are posted! 100+ comments of commiseration and solidarity, sister! Kick that DH in the face (or other body parts)! Go!
And I have to admit, sometimes, I sometimes feel truly upset for these moms. After all, just like them, I’ve been handling all the night wakings. How dare these DHs not appreciate us more? I’m a WAHM and I get it – it feels like we never have a single moment to ourselves between feeding baby, working, house chores, cooking, playing with baby. At least DH gets to leave the house, right? And sit in traffic in peace and quiet, right? And have adult conversations and real social interactions! What the poo! Wow there is so much to complain about…if we put our mind to it!
But sometimes, the conversations tend to be a bit one-sided. Maybe it’s because we moms are more rant-y than our DHs. Maybe we know how to express ourselves a bit better, when we’re on an anonymous forum board and we know our voices will be heard and accepted by other sympathizing moms. But there was one Reddit post that was so level-headed about how this mom needs to calm down and get some perspective. Instead of being shot down, it actually got upvoted gazillion times. Turns out, there’s people like me who read, feel upset, but also feel like “Hmm ok, maybe let’s take a step back.”
The Redditor gently reminded that we moms tend to forget that it’s not just our lives that’s been turned upside down. Yes, perhaps moms are doing the majority of the work and baby care, but both of our lifestyles have changed. For the better, yes. And maybe, for now…the worse? Well, that depends on your perspective. Think about it: DH no longer has time to come home and unwind after a stressful day and a long commute. There’s a 17-lb baby in the living room! There’s no more sleeping in on the weekends. Maybe DH loved videogames, pre-baby. Nada, post-baby. We’re vaguely sleep deprived all the time, even if baby is sleeping through the night. If DH is the only one working, there’s the unyielding, ongoing pressure of supporting the family.
And the house is different. There’s baby toys everywhere. Laundry baskets might not always be empty. Dishes in sink. I try to keep up with the household cleaning and keeping things tidy, it’s definitely chaotic sometimes. Dinners tend to be cold. And I’m sometimes so exhausted that I have 0% energy to even have a decent conversation by the time we’re sitting at the dinner table. I’m working on that. I’m working really hard on time management. More on that later.
A baby can be a strain on a relationship, especially in the early years. It’s like parent + marriage bootcamp. And our family — we’re doing alright! We’re starting to semi-work it out, here at 7.5 months in. Whenever I need a break, I tell him. When DH has had a long day and can’t give baby a bath, I do it. We do our best to respect and listen to each other. We try to communicate. It’s cliche, but communication is really key. We don’t keep track of things like, “I changed her diaper this morning, it’s your turn!” We don’t do that. (We try not to, at least. The poo has recently become quite phenomenal, thanks to solid foods.)
Vent away, moms. But then, let’s move on. Let’s forgive, work on the situation if you have to, talk to each other. A tiny amount of gentleness and respect goes a long way, for both sides.