Getting Dad to Help Around the House

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One experts advice on how to get your spouse to help around the house when a newborn arrives.

Dear Meredith,

I’m guessing this is an age-old question, but how do I get my husband to help out more without sounding like I’m nagging him constantly? We both work full-time. When I get home, I’m still expected to do everything I did before the baby came, but now I also have the baby. He’ll hold and play with her as long as she’s not fussy, dirty or spitting up. This, he says, gives me more time to do what I need to do, like the laundry, dinner, ironing, dishes, etc.

Sue

Dear Sue, 

If I had the answer to how to get one’s spouse to do household chores, I’d be fat and happy, plus my kitchen, bedroom and living room would already be painted and my husband would pick up his dirty socks every night, but I digress … 

As for parenting, I can give you some friendly suggestions. Under the guise of doing work for your home, one afternoon you could tell your spouse that because you both have a long list of errands to run – that can’t be accomplished with a baby in tow –- you’re going to do him a favor. You can tell him you’ll take care of the errands while he stays home with the baby who, you can say, will be napping most of the time. 

By frequently giving Dad space and time to be alone with the baby without a hovering mommy nearby to critique him, maybe he’ll develop more confidence in his own child caring skills and things like cleaning up spit-up and changing diapers won’t seem as daunting. Find a way to get him to spend time with your daughter so everything won’t fall on your shoulders. As for the household chores, there’s always a cleaning service.

Meredith

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