The Tag In.
Parents. This partnership is up there with the Hardy Boyz and Tango & Cash. When two people are now the sole point of survival for a tiny person, there needs to be unsaid communication and a sixth sense about when shit is hitting the fan.
As a baby is first carried into your home, there’s a fair chance that your wife is not going to running at her optimal levels after a human being has recently exited her. You’re going to be facing this first round almost totally alone; brining the baby over for the feed, building on your swaddling skills and learning how an oven works.
Soon you’ll be heading back into work to show off the endless photos of a near featureless baby to anyone who accidently makes eye contact with you. After a day of missing your new baby while you read through the inanest spreadsheets you’ll be heading back home at the end of the day to a hell of a scene. Odds are there was very little sleep from anyone in that house, the hurricane of IDGAF will have swept through and a sense of malaise settled in. This is where you Tag In.
…Take the baby, tell your wife to go shower, take a walk, lie down or open the Reisling; whatever is needed to refuel.
Your wife has nothing left and likely been hyper listening for your car to pull in and keys hit the door. The metaphorical crawl across the mat with outstretched hand is before you. Jump that top rope and take control. Work may have sucked and maybe you’re slightly exhausted yourself, but none of that matters for the next few hours. It’s your turn to own it. Take the baby, tell your wife to go shower, take a walk, lie down or open the Reisling; whatever is needed to refuel. You’re off the bench now, you’ve been called to plate, you are (insert any other amazing sports-based metaphors). In any event it’s your time to shine. The option to ‘decompress’ is null and void for the near future. You’ll get that when the children can make their own meals, until then it’s sleeve-rolled up hard work.
If you can, then do it. If you can’t, then don’t. I’m aware that sounds overly simplistic and it’s incredibly hard to read each other in an environment that is high stress and completely new, but neither of you should drag yourself into action if there is a sound minded and competent alternative available. That can extend to farming your child out to their grandparents, although I’d flag that there needs to be common sense – They’re not faux parents, just another a tag out option.
Hopefully after you both start to find your feet in this waking commitment (actually, sometimes it’s not even waking) and you’ll begin to see each other’s trigger points approaching. It might be another meal being flung from the table like an irate Gordon Ramsay or minor infractions that begin to pile up for one day. If you can nip these in the bud and extricate either yourselves or the kid for just a few minutes to let the air thin out a bit, it will go a long way to avoiding that flashpoint. None of this means you’re a bad parent or person, it’s just means, like the rest of us, you have threshold of shit you can take. If you’re able to see that line coming then you’re already ahead of the game and in this brave world where (lo and behold) its OK to ask for help.
Throw your hand out, there should be someone that will tag in while you catch your breath in the corner of the ring.