New mother refuses to be husband’s alarm clock after being up all night with the new baby

Lefty Graves
Newborn BabyTim Bish/Unsplash

** This article is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as shared with me by a friend who experienced them first hand; used with permission.

New babies are notorious for keeping their parents up at night. My friend's new baby was no exception to this rule. One particularly rough week, my friend called me in tears. She hadn’t been able to sleep for several nights because the baby was keeping her up and her husband refused to get up and help her with the baby telling her that he needed his sleep for work the next day.

Unfortunately, he also expected my friend to wake him up for work each morning with a full breakfast (bacon, eggs, toast, and hash browns). This wasn't sitting well with my friend, especially after she had been taking care of the newborn baby all night. My tired friend told her husband that he would have to learn to make his breakfast until she began to get the baby into a better sleep routine.

He would also have to learn to wake up on his own and get himself out the door. My friend was trying to be both a good wife and a good mother, but she couldn't do either if she wasn't getting any rest. Her husband wasn’t too happy about any of this but agreed that he would set an alarm clock and at least try to get up in the mornings on his own. He also decided that he would settle with a bowl of cereal with some milk for breakfast for the time being.

One morning, my friend finally fell asleep about an hour before her husband was due to wake up for work. Unfortunately, this was the morning her husband slept through the alarm clock. My friend was so tired that she also slept through the alarm clock. When her husband finally woke up, he had minutes to get to work on time.

He was mad and blamed his wife for his rushed routine that morning. If she had just awakened him in time for work as a good wife should, he wouldn't have had such a rushed morning. This started a massive dispute between the two of them. Finally, in desperation, my friend called a counselor and told her husband that they would be attending a counseling session.

At the counseling session, the husband was told to be more supportive and understanding, as having a new baby in the house was a huge adjustment. He also needed to learn to take care of himself and get off to work in the mornings without being obnoxious to his wife about her need for sleep after being up all night with the baby. Or, he could get up and take a turn with the baby if he expected her to wake him up and prepare his breakfast each morning.

It took several months for this couple to work through their frustrations, but they finally agreed that she wouldn't be getting him breakfast or waking him for work if he weren't willing to take a shift at night with the baby. My friend's counselor felt this was a fair solution, as did my friend. Her husband disagreed. What do you think?

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Lefty has been writing online since 2000 on various topics, including youth mentoring, addiction recovery, parenting, gardening, advocating for seniors, sustainability, farming, and an eclectic mix of other topics. She resides on a farm with her family in Northeastern Washington state.

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