Alternate title for this post:
How to get your baby momma to have more sex with you. (Unless she just had the baby. In which case, you should leave her alone for the next 6-8 months.)
Now listen up. This advice applies to Valentine’s Day, Christmas Day, Mother’s Day, Birth Day, Anniversary Day. Instead of getting Miss Thang more stuff to dust, or flowers that will wilt or more bling to wear…Scratch that: bring on the bling!
Here’s what she really wants: MORE SLEEP!
Because sleep deprivation is the devil.
For your convenience, I’ve included affiliate links in case Baby Daddy’s in a shopping mood. Read my Disclaimer to learn more.
I polled my lady friends who are in the trenches with small children (newborns, toddlers, teenagers who are regressing.) Here are their tips on how you can give the gift of a lifetime: MORE SLEEP!
Tip #1: ASK HER
She’ll have suggestions. In fact, she probably already has a list she’ll gladly hand you for how you can assist her in getting MORE SLEEP!
Tip #2: DON’T ASK HER
She may be in such a state of sleepless angst that she’ll implode if she gets another assignment: Wait, one more thing to do?! So print out this list, hand her a pen and ask her to circle the things she’d like you to do. Then give her a hug. Because she needs it, along with MORE SLEEP!
9 ways YOU can help momma get MORE SLEEP
And when I refer to your kid as “he,” it’s so you don’t confuse him with your woman. If you have a girl, well, I’m still talking to you.
Now bear with me. I can already feel your blood pressure going up as you scan this list. Take a breath. I’m not suggesting you do ALL the things. Each Rock Star Dad has different gifts and talents. Find yours. This list is meant to take the guessing out of this for you. Remember TIP #1 and TIP #2 above. If all else fails, focus your energy on those two things. You’ll be amazing.
1. Let her sleep in.
If your kid is an early riser, get up with him. Fix his diaper. Fix his breakfast. Fix him a drink. Hand him your ipad so he can watch videos of pandas. Hand him your pocket knife so he can carve small animals out of balsa wood. Hand him your keys so he can go buy you a drink. Whatever, just let her sleep in.
Bonus points: bring her breakfast in bed (and clean up the kitchen afterwards).
2. Help with night feedings.
Does your kid (could your kid?) take a bottle at night? Then you totally got this. Just. Feed. Him. The. Bottle. (Fill it first – duh.) If she pumps (it’s a pain in the ass, believe me) so you can do this or while you do this, thank her for giving you the chance to bond with this amazing new creature.
Is your child still nursing? Then go get him when he’s hungry so momma doesn’t have to get out of bed. Keep her company while she nurses – it gets lonely in the dark. Make sure she has all her supplies: water, snacks (dried fruit, apple slices, grapes, cheese, nuts and seeds, granola bars, lactation cookies), nursing pillow, burp cloths, nipple cream, nipple shield – yes, this is a thing.
If she likes to nurse in a rocking chair, throw a blanket or luxurious shawl over her shoulders to keep warm. And make sure she makes it back to bed when she’s done.
Bonus points: change baby’s diaper and rock him back to sleep.
3. Help with day feedings.
Similar to the above, so mom can catch a nap.
Bonus points: if your lady pumps (working mom perhaps?) and you assemble/dissemble/wash/dry/ pack up her pump and all its itty bitty parts. And assemble/dissemble/wash/dry/ fill all those baby bottles.
4. Don’t give her more shit to do.
Favorite pair of jeans dirty? Wash them. Toilet paper or milk low? Run to the store. Work one of those jobs where you play with fancy chemicals and your company offers a laundry service? Use the laundry service (duh). Don’t ask her to do more chores. More chores means less time for sleep.
5. Do give her a break.
Is your honey a stay-at-home mom? On maternity leave? Working part-time? Home from work today with your sick kid? Well, she needs a break. Little people are (spoiler alert) exhausting. Especially little people who don’t nap. Besides, when was the last time she got to pee by herself? When you get home from your job or from having a beer with the guys, take over the kid duties. Hello? Little people loooove quality time with dad. And this gives your honey a chance to shower, nap, take a walk, enjoy a glass of wine, or head to bed early.
Bonus points: offer her a “thanks for surviving the day” massage.
6. Arrange childcare.
Send the kiddo to grandma’s house for the night. So you both can sleep for a change – I mean, enjoy some time together. And if your special lady stays home all week with baby, surprise her with a babysitter for Wednesday afternoon. So she can grab a nap. (Or a pedicure. That’s totally like sleep, right?)
7. Do more chores.
Empty the diaper pail. Restock the diapers and wipes. Do the laundry. Take your kid shoe shopping. Buy age-appropriate snacks for school. Prepare lunch for daycare. (And for that working mom, pack her a lunch, too, and put it in her car!) Straighten up the house. Make dinner. Clean up from dinner. Restock the chocolate stash. Refill the coffee pot. Vacuum goldfish off the floor. Walk the dog. Feed the dog. Put the dog up for adoption. I could go on. Managing a household really limits your partner’s ability to rest – there’s so much to do! So help her out.
Bonus points: if your lady is into cloth diapering and you wash/dry/assemble those bad boys.
It means: Man up and be a dad, not a babysitter. Say it with me now, “I am not a babysitter. I am an equal partner with equal responsibilities in this adventure.” This means bathing, feeding, clothing, disciplining your kid. And when you have multiple children? Or when a sibling arrives? Just go ahead and assume the title of Mr. Mom and manage the older folks. That includes getting those kids up and dressed for school/daycare/grandma’s. Let mom focus on the newest cherub (and, unless y’all adopted, this gives her a little space to heal after MONTHS of pregnancy and labor).
9. Monitor her mental health.
Lack of sleep makes people crazy. Just ask Anakin Skywalker. Pairing lack of sleep with a new baby can easily lead to postpartum depression. Especially if the love of your life struggled with anxiety before baby arrived. This is important. And not my specialty area. Check out Postpartum Support International to learn more. Then review the tips above to help her get MORE SLEEP!
For bonus dad points, check out this great book about how to build a true partnership after the kiddos arrive: How Not to Hate Your Husband by Jancee Dunn.
Share your own #RockStarDad tips below or on Facebook at MothersRest.