Personal Story

This Was the One Thing My Husband and I Fought About Constantly During the Newborn Stage

and how we got through it
new parent alone time"
new parent alone time
Source: Shutterstock
Source: Shutterstock

To say I was worried about what the state of my marriage would look like once my husband and I welcomed our first child is an understatement. Let me preface this by saying I’m very lucky to have found an amazing partner—and don’t take our healthy relationship for granted. We got together in our early 20s, so after a few immature bumps in the road, we learned the very simple (yet still extremely difficult) concept that openly communicating about what we’re both feeling and need is the key to loving and really liking each other.

But as a soon-to-be first-time mom, I was terrified of what a new little human would do to our solid family unit. Would our daughter bring us closer together, or would we start fighting more than ever? Would we be able to find enough new parent alone time? Spoiler alert: The answer is yes to all of the above, but not at all in the ways we expected.

Leaving the House Becomes a Luxury

Almost immediately after our daughter was born (I’m talking the day we brought her home from the hospital), my husband and I started fighting over one very small thing: which one of us got to leave the house to run the most boring of errands. Once-dreaded tasks like grocery shopping, getting gas, and going to the bank now felt like the equivalent of going to the club in our 20s or brunch with friends in our 30s. Getting out of the house for just a few minutes of new parent-alone time had become the most elite activity, and we were both determined to have that sweet taste of freedom as much as possible. 

Don’t get me wrong, we both love our daughter more than anything and have wanted to spend as much time with her as possible from the very first moment we saw her, but any new parent will tell you that getting small breaks throughout the day is also essential to just feeling… normal. I learned two things can be true at once: You can be completely obsessed with your baby and never want to leave their side, and also jump at the chance to drive around in your car by yourself and listen to your early 2000s playlist at max volume.

“You can be completely obsessed with your baby… and also jump at the chance to drive around in your car by yourself and listen to your early 2000s playlist at max volume.”

You Might Fight Over Alone Time As New Parents

For the first few months of my daughter’s life, my husband and I were drinking at least two coffees per day to combat that newborn sleepless fog. And since I’m the type of person who thinks I deserve a little treat every time I leave the house, my threshold for treating myself after birthing an actual human knew no bounds. Was getting Starbucks twice a day for months a smart choice financially? No. Did I care? Also no. And as soon as one of us hinted that we were ready for another caffeine fix, we’d literally run to see who could get to the car keys first to get out of the house for a few precious minutes. “I got it!” I would say while playfully wrestling my husband for the keys. “No, no! You rest, babe. I got it,” he would say. Uh, nice try, dude.

This was a regular fight over new parent alone time that usually led to a game of rock, paper, scissors to decide who would get the keys. And on more than one occasion, I would pull out the “I birthed our child via an emergency C-section while your body did not go through any sort of changes or trauma” card and sweetly tell him to hand over the keys. I’m not proud of it, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

new parent alone time
Source: Canva

Be Honest About What You Need

While this was a very lighthearted and playful fight, it was also a very valid one. We were both blissfully happy in our little bubble with our daughter, but when you’re constantly being touched and needed by a baby, any smidge of alone time, no matter how fleeting, is next-level nirvana. And it becomes essential in getting through the newborn stage

While we would laugh through our “fights” over who got to leave the house for some new parent alone time, we also realized that we needed to rely heavily on the tool that helped us build such a strong foundation together in the first place: communication.

If I was feeling really burnt out or just needed a break, I would tell him that I needed to be the one to grab coffee and go for a little drive after. Or, if the baby kept him up at night longer than she did me, he would tell me how much he’d appreciate running out for a while to pick up things we needed. It became a give-and-take that centered around both of us being brutally honest with each other. It wasn’t always easy, but we both promised to put effort into recognizing what the other one needed, and that was a game-changer.

Remember You’re in a Partnership

And I know how lucky I am to have a partner to do all of this with. I never really understood the term “it takes a village” until I had my daughter, but it really, really does. No matter what your family unit looks like, surrounding yourself with people who are willing to help, whether that’s through mom groups, friends, or neighbors, is so important for your own self-care. And you shouldn’t feel bad or guilty about asking for help. Moms especially are expected to do it all, but we can’t and shouldn’t. And just because most of the attention goes to the baby once they arrive doesn’t mean you should forget about yourself or neglect your own needs. You still matter.

Know That It Doesn’t Last Forever

Our daughter is about to turn 1, and while we don’t argue over who gets to run to the post office anymore (literally what I would give to wait in line at the post office when she was under 6 months!), we’ve found our rhythm as a family of three enough to give and take where needed. Errands (for the most part) have gone back to being mundane, but you better believe I still jump at any opportunity to drive around and blast my early 2000s playlist… all by myself.