When the baby arrives in the family, it is a common phenomenon to see dads dethroned. While mum is getting used to having the baby, dad gets demoted to the bottom rung of the ladder. Although most 21st century men are more hands-on fathers, there are still some dads who find themselves feeling resentful about the lack of attention from their wives.
No, we are not talking about fathers complaining about dinner not being ready for them when they arrived from work, or their shirt not ironed, or the house being untidy. This type of dads belonged to the dinosaur age. They are relics, and are frankly better suited on display in museums rather than at home with a wife and a baby.
We are talking about normal ordinary dads who value their relationships. Just because a dad is a good dad, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t feel resentful once in a while. A prime example is my husband. He is a hands-on dad. When our baby was born, he was over the moon. We shared the care of our children fifty-fifty, and he also took on much of preparing our meals. He never complained about looking after our baby after work, and he took the night shift so I can have some sleep. All in all, he was a perfect father. Yet, during the first year of our daughter’s life, he admitted that he felt surplus to requirements. He felt neglected.
Before our baby arrived, we spent most of our time together chatting or cuddling while watching the telly. But after the baby, all I wanted to do was catch up with the chores or sleep, and my sex drive was at an all-time low. When he tried to cuddle me, I snapped or pushed him away. I would go to bed early, which means we don’t chat as much anymore. I was there, but he felt I was not there at all. No wonder he felt hard done by. And I think his emotion was justified.
Yes, husbands should be patient, understanding and supportive, after all, the baby has two parents, and there was never a rulebook that says mum should be the sole career. But men are humans with emotions. And it is perfectly normal for dads to feel some negative emotions when they feel that their relationship with their wives is changing.
So, if your other half says he feels neglected, hold back your defensive reflex. It probably took him courage to admit it. I know it is easier said than done. I’ve been there, and I know how hard it is not to take his complaints as criticism or whining.