Dad Says His Sleep Is More Important Than Helping With The Baby At Night Because Of His Job, Asks For People’s Perspectives OnlineInterview With Author
Human newborns, unlike many animals, really can not take care of themselves for a while post-birth. So the task falls into the hands of parents, caregivers and often extended family. And rightly so, as they need a lot of supervision, assistance with eating, falling asleep, and any number of other tasks.
So one dad wondered if he was in the wrong for not helping his wife at night with their newborn. By itself, it sounds pretty bad, but he stated that he does other chores throughout the day, and works a high-risk job that requires him to wake early, and if that wasn’t enough, in the middle of the story a particularly unhelpful MIL showed up. We got in touch with Better_Command3720 to find out more.
New parents know that a baby and a regular sleep schedule do not mix
Image credits: Danik Prihodko (not the actual photo)
So one dad created some family drama when he declined to help his wife with their newborn at night
Image credits: Marie Despeyroux (not the actual photo)
Image credits: christopher lemercier (not the actual photo)
Image credits: Better_Command3720
A lack of sleep always causes issues and is downright deadly in some situations
Bored Panda got in touch with Better_Command3720 to find out more. We wanted to know how he felt about all the online feedback. “Following my post, I received significant feedback, most of which supported my stance. It was somewhat comforting to find out that many people didn’t see me as the “asshole” in this scenario. This feedback provided a confidence boost in terms of my decision-making abilities, though it didn’t alter the complex reality at home. What I valued the most, however, was the plethora of advice and suggestions that the Reddit community provided. There were several practical suggestions for managing our predicament, from creating a more structured night-time schedule to seeking counseling to help navigate the tense dynamics with my mother-in-law. These discussions made me realize that many families grapple with the same issues and that a one-size-fits-all solution doesn’t exist. Each situation is unique, with its own set of challenges and dynamics. As for how I felt after receiving this feedback, I’d describe it as a mix of relief and validation. While it gave me the reassurance that I wasn’t alone in my struggle and validated my decisions, it also underscored the fact that the situation was far from ideal and needed attention.”
We also wanted to know if the experience had given him any new insights into marriage. “To any other parents or partners in a similar situation, my advice would be to maintain open lines of communication. It’s crucial to understand each other’s perspectives and to compromise where possible. Also, don’t hesitate to ask for help, whether from family, friends, or community resources. Parenting is a team effort, and it’s okay to lean on others. Going forward, my wife and I are focusing on improving our communication and considering ways to better share our nighttime responsibilities. I’m also discussing with my mother-in-law how we can improve our current living situation. I understand this is a challenging time for all of us, but I believe we can navigate through it with patience, understanding, and love.”
While the story has a lot of moving parts, it is important to not underestimate the importance of sleep. Common sense, yes, but many of us do not work jobs that are literally life and death. For the most part, not sleeping enough has many negative health effects, but its impact on performance is less noticeable in, say, an office job. Overall, a chronic lack of sleep can cause cardiovascular issues, obesity and can contribute to some mental illnesses. But in OP’s case, it’s not a question of chronic lack of sleep, as he seems to have a good sleep schedule that should recover after the baby grows a bit. Instead, we are dealing with short-term risks here.
Image credits: Josh Olalde (not the actual photo)
A healthy relationship requires good communication, regardless if you are wrong or right
As he says, a construction site, despite all the modern attempts at safety, is still a high-risk environment. We do not know exactly what he does or what circumstances he works in, but just the presence of lots of heavy machinery, heights, and unfinished buildings are enough to warrant an increased degree of safety. The brain needs sleep, indeed, it is the primary beneficiary of sleep. As researcher J. Allan Hobson put it, “Sleep is of the brain, by the brain, and for the brain.” Alertness and coordination are all functions of the brain, necessary for OP to keep himself and presumably his coworkers safe. So setting aside questions of comfort, as getting up at 4:30 AM is probably never comfortable, OP has a legitimate, life or death reason to need his sleep.
However, marriage and in this case raising a child is not a zero-sum game. Compromise and communication are necessary for just a handful of disagreements to not spiral out of control into resentment and constant fighting. An important part of adulthood is realizing that being “right” isn’t enough, it needs to be articulated and communicated in such a way that doesn’t push the other person away. Difficulties with in-laws are a tale as old as time, one that can’t be resolved unless both parties in a relationship form a united front. Since OP’s wife is not of the opinion that his MIL should have been kicked out and OP did it anyway, this demonstrates that they are not on the same page. In normal circumstances, family is a good resource to help new parents catch some much-needed sleep and get a break.
Another area where OP should do some self-assessment is about how much harm versus good the MIL is actually doing. He states that she adds to his wife’s stress, but his wife wasn’t the one to want to kick her out. While we do not have all the necessary information about the situation, it does seem like OP was making some assumptions and instead of confirming them, he took unilateral action. While the MIL might be downright annoying, perhaps his wife still found some comfort in another person who could take some of the load off her shoulders. But we don’t know because, it seems, OP never asked. The husband is not making an unreasonable request, he has a good and valid reason to refuse helping at night. But this is a good example of a situation that will probably arise in any relationship, where a person has to swallow their pride, set aside that they are “right” and figure out how to communicate.
Image credits: Christin Hume (not the actual photo)