Becoming a Dad Article

Sources of Conflict

While moms and dads expect a new baby to result in more work, they aren't really prepared for what's involved and tend to fight over it.

Maternal employment and feminism have made today's moms expect and feel entitled to a substantial amount of involvement from you, regardless of your work hours. You may have a different perspective.

A month after the baby was born things got so bad that I contemplated divorce. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't make my wife happy and I got frustrated because I wasn't getting my needs met.

But then one day when I was holding my daughter I asked myself, do I want another man in this house taking care of our baby? And the answer was no!
- Veteran Dad

In addition to the division of labor, new moms and dads usually fight over the following:

  • Money: both spending and earning
  • Relationship, or lack thereof: fighting over making love is highly counterproductive
  • Social life: mom won't leave the baby; doesn't trust any baby sitter

In relationships that are strong, both partners work to resolve these issues. Moms and dads try to understand each other and do the little things that count. Those who go the distance are happier.

Unfortunately, the opposite is also true - those who don't follow through are miserable.

Six Characteristics of Happy Parents
Jay Belsky and John Kelly, authors of The Transition To Parenthood, found that couples who successfully overcame the polarizing effects of a first baby shared six common characteristics.

Understanding these and striving to implement them in your relationship may help you and your mate weather the storm. These couples:

  • Surrender individual goals and needs and work together as a team
  • Resolve differences about division of labor and work in a mutually satisfactory manner, and argue constructively
  • Attempt to kep up a pool of common interests, despite priorities that are branching off in different directions
  • Understand that their marriages will never quite be the same after the baby's arrival It will be different
  • Continue communicating in a manner that sustains and supports the marriage
  • Each hangle stress in a way that does not overstress their partner or marriage

The most important thing is teamwork. Before my son was born we discussed how we're going to take care of the baby and what we're going to do and it seems like that's paid off.
- Veteran Dad


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