Hey, Pops! I hope your little lady or tiny tot is growing healthy, happy, and vibrantly into month 7 of their life. By now, you’re probably pretty used to being a dad—though I’m sure there are times you still need to pinch yourself. That said, I want to slow down a little and speak from the heart, not about your relationship with your baby, but your relationship with your partner.
Don’t Forget What Started it All
There are Dads and Moms out there who are raising their children alone, for one reason or another, and it’s hard. If you’re in that boat, I feel for your struggle, and I hope you have a strong support system in place to help you take care of yourself and to contribute to your child’s life. You are absolutely rocking this parenting thing, and you deserve all the love. Keep kicking ass, and never forget to take time for your own hobbies and self-care.
For those who are together, you might feel like you and your partner are on top of the world. Your new baby has made your relationship stronger, and when you see your significant other taking care of your little co-creation, it strengthens that bond. Others might feel part of that bond through their child, but their own bonds as individuals begin to sever, and they start feeling distant from their partner. A lot of relationships get stuck there, and I (and most parents) can speak from experience. If left to its own devices, that distance becomes a chasm.
Get Out and Live a Little
It may take a while before you are comfortable leaving your baby with a family member or babysitter, but if you feel even the slightest need to reconnect with your partner, get out and have a date night as soon as you’re comfortable (that was around 3-months for us, but it can be sooner or later depending on the two of you).
If you can’t get out, have a romantic dinner at home. Leave notes around the house (maybe at their vanity to find in the morning or on the nightstand before bed) letting them know you care and appreciate them. Pack their lunch and slip a thoughtful message inside. Ask them what they’re thinking, how they’re feeling, and how their day went. The magic that happens when you offer to just sit and listen can’t be replaced by any gift or date night. I loved hearing about my partner’s day and hearing her passion for her work, and I know she appreciated it when I just sat and gave her my attention.
Most importantly, if there’s a distance growing—don’t wait. Distance isn’t closed by inaction or time, it’s closed by getting back to your roots, spending time together, and letting your partner know you still care. Sometimes it’s as easy as letting them know how much you appreciate them and their sacrifices as a new parent.
Things Are Different, but Things Haven’t Changed
People struggle when priorities in their lives shift or when a partner switches their priorities. When a new baby comes into the picture, there is a monumental change. If a partner is struggling with that, sit down and talk. Sometimes it stems from feeling left out. If that’s the case, engage them in helping you take care of the baby, play games, and read books. Ultimately they will need to understand that things are different, and that’s okay. Your love for one another is something that hasn’t changed.
Give Them a Break
Whether Dad or Mom is the stay at home parent, a 7-month-old baby (or a household full of kids) can be exhausting, and for some, being in the house or running errands all day can be monotonous and depressing. Taking care of your home, family, and finances is a group effort, and the last thing you want to do is keep score on who is contributing more.
If your partner is feeling overwhelmed, step in as much as you can to help with the baby, help around the house, or help them with their own self-care (an appointment to get their hair or nails done, or a golf outing with the guys, for example). I can’t stress how important this is. Without taking time for self-care, even the strongest parent will lose their way.
Relationships with your loved ones, children, and friends can be difficult and take a lot of maintenance, especially in the face of a new baby, but they’re important and without them, life’s lows will last longer and its highs will be fleeting.
Do what you can to take care of one another and yourselves and always remember what’s truly important in life. Our time here is limited—when you’re looking back, you won’t reminisce about how big your paycheck was or find solace in the stuff you’ve accumulated, you’ll think about the memories you made and the people who shared in them.
Missed the other months? If you’re new to fatherhood, there’s no judgment here. You can find the previous month here: