5 fights couples have (and how to avoid them)

The strain of caring for a new baby causes parents’ tempers to fray ― avoid potential disputes with these tips.

The heightened emotions and sleep shortage new parents face leave many on edge and grumpy. Inevitably, we take it out on our spouses. When you aren’t staring lovingly at the beautiful baby you’ve created together, you’re probably glaring at your husband. Is it your hormones or has your spouse become the most irritating person on the planet? 

You might recognise five areas of conflict in your new life as a parent. If they’re a familiar part of your relationship, here’s how to resolve them quickly and calmly.

#1. I’m doing most of the work

The Problem
You’ve both become accustomed to playing the new-parent victim. Who’s the most tired? Who’s changed the most diapers? Who most deserves a night out?
The Solution
“One of the best ingredients in a relationship is mutual recognition and gratitude,” says Aaron Balick, psychotherapist and author of Keep Your Cool: How to Deal with Life’s Worries and Stress. “Just try saying, ‘You cleaned up the kitchen tonight, thanks’. Work of all kinds should be valued and, if you feel your other half isn’t holding up his side of the bargain, challenge him respectfully. And remember, a fair division of labour doesn’t necessarily mean you both do exactly the same tasks.” 

“Put your child at the centre of the parenting question at hand. Then think of yourselves as a team coming up with the best solution for her."

#2. I want to do it my own way

The Problem 
You were brought up with one style of parenting by your parents, while your husband was raised by your in-laws in a different way. Breastfed or bottle-raised, strict or laidback, over-protective or independent — there’s a clash of cultures and you both think you’re the one in the right.
The Solution
“Parenting isn’t about doing the right thing for you as adults — it’s about creating the best environment for your child,” Balick notes. “At the beginning of your relationship, you and your spouse both had to accept different styles of relating (perhaps one of you is open, the other private). You now have to learn to understand and accept opposing ideas about parenting, too.

“If there’s a difference in [parenting] style, discuss it like adults, privately, and agree on a united approach. Put your child at the centre of the parenting question at hand. Then think of yourselves as a team coming up with the best solution for her. This will take you away from a ‘who is right’ approach and offer a ‘what is right for your child’ alternative,” Balick points out.