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A woman tending to a newborn baby while a man looks frustrated | Source: Getty Images
A woman tending to a newborn baby while a man looks frustrated | Source: Getty Images

My Husband Gave up on Parenting Because I 'Nit-Pick at Everything He Does with the Baby' — My Lesson for Him Was Brilliant

Junie Sihlangu
Jun 05, 2024
08:00 A.M.

When my husband and I welcomed our first child together, I thought it would be a glorious journey for us into parenthood. Yet, my husband turned against me, trying to blame his ensuing behavior on me. But I was having none of it, and quickly taught him a well-deserved lesson!

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My story is all about how I had to stand up for myself when my husband decided to take the back seat when it came to our first child. I used his family and friends to knock some sense into him and to take us back to a healthier relationship.

An exhausted mother holding a newborn baby | Source: Freepik

An exhausted mother holding a newborn baby | Source: Freepik

I'm 28 years old and currently a new mom to a beautiful baby girl, Emily. My husband, Tom, 36, and I have been married for four years. Our relationship has always been solid until Emily arrived. We've had our fair share of challenges, but nothing quite prepared us for the complexities of parenthood.

And the way things unfolded was nothing short of a dramatic lesson for both of us. Before Emily's birth, my husband and I spoke about our future. He mentioned that if I criticized his parenting, I would get ONE WARNING and then he'd give up on fatherhood completely.

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A unhappy-looking woman talking to someone | Source: Pexels

A unhappy-looking woman talking to someone | Source: Pexels

But, like any new parents, when our baby came, Tom and I were trying to figure things out. We often stumbled through sleepless nights and endless diaper changes. I had read several books on parenting and even attended a few parenting classes to prepare myself.

I wanted to be as informed as possible to give Emily the best care. Tom, on the other hand, was more laid-back. He declined my invitations to read the parenting books or join me in the special classes. His excuse was that he'd learn as he went along.

A pregnant woman reading a book | Source: Pexels

A pregnant woman reading a book | Source: Pexels

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I didn't push him too hard, figuring he'd find his way. But when he did things that contradicted what I had learned, I couldn't help but offer suggestions. The first major incident happened during one of Emily's first feedings by him.

My husband was holding her in a way that I knew from my classes wasn't ideal for her digestion. I gently suggested, "Hey, babe, maybe try lifting her head a bit higher? It helps with digestion." He looked at me, visibly frustrated.

A man holding a baby while trying to prepare her bottle | Source: Midjourney

A man holding a baby while trying to prepare her bottle | Source: Midjourney

"You know, Mary, I think I CAN handle this. I fed my younger siblings, remember?"

"Yes, but this is different," I replied, trying to keep my tone light. "The classes emphasized this position."

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Tom's face turned red. "Fine, you do it then," he snapped. He handed Emily to me before storming out of the room. Later that night, I tried bringing up the incident that had happened. I hoped we could reach some sort of understanding.

An upset man handing over a baby | Source: Freepik

An upset man handing over a baby | Source: Freepik

He shocked me when he immediately FREAKED OUT! He declared, "If you're going to NIT-PICK at everything I do with Emily as you did with the dog, then I'm giving up on parenting! I'm done!" My eyes were wide open as I listened to his crazy boundary.

"I'll be a couch potato and leave EVERYTHING to you!" I was confused about his claim that I nit-pick everything he does with the baby because that was the first time I said anything! All along, I'd kept quiet and would clean up his parenting messes behind his back.

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A man shouting at a shocked woman holding a baby | Source: Midjourney

A man shouting at a shocked woman holding a baby | Source: Midjourney

I was stunned and chose to focus on something else he said that left me confused. "What do you mean, 'like with the dog'? I was just trying to help."

"You took over everything, Mary. You didn't let me discipline Max the way I thought was right, and now he's your dog. I'm not going through that with Emily." His words cut deep, and the next few days were tense.

An upset man shouting at a woman | Source: Pexels

An upset man shouting at a woman | Source: Pexels

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True to his word, Tom REALLY started spending more time lying on the couch. He'd be there eating, playing games, and watching television, absolutely IGNORING me and our baby girl! Within a couple of weeks, I was SO exhausted and my body hurt!

My husband had left the majority of the baby duties to me. I felt overwhelmed and alone, juggling feedings, diaper changes, and my own recovery. I tried talking to him, but he shut me down each time!

A man playing a television game while lying on a couch | Source: Pexels

A man playing a television game while lying on a couch | Source: Pexels

Soon enough, I had enough and decided to teach him a lesson. Then, an idea struck me. If he was going to ACT like a couch potato, I would SHOW him exactly what that looked like! I planned a family get-together, inviting our families and close friends to meet Emily.

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I cooked, cleaned, and decorated the house meticulously. But in line with my perfect plan, I ordered a huge portrait I had commissioned. It was a painting of our little family: me, Emily, Max, and Tom. But my husband was depicted as a giant potato lounging on the couch in his pajamas!

A family portrait | Source: Midjourney

A family portrait | Source: Midjourney

The day of the event arrived, and I secretly placed the portrait prominently outside the front door. As our guests started arriving, they were greeted by the sight of the portrait with Tom as a potato. My lazy husband had said he'd go change into formal pants closer to the guests' arrival time.

But what he didn't know was that I gave our guests an earlier arrival time. So when they walked in, Tom was RIGHT THERE on the couch, in the SAME pajamas as in the portrait! "What's this?" Tom asked, bewildered, as the first guests burst into laughter upon seeing the portrait and its star.

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A man dressed in pajama pants and a jacket sitting on a couch | Source: Pexels

A man dressed in pajama pants and a jacket sitting on a couch | Source: Pexels

"Oh, just a little artwork to commemorate your recent declaration," I said sweetly. My husband's parents arrived a few seconds after the first group. His mom, Linda, took one look at the portrait and then at Tom, her disappointment palpable.

"Tom, what is this?" she demanded. "Is this how you're planning to raise your daughter?" My husband's face turned beet red. "Mom, it's just a joke." Linda shook her head. "It better be because this isn't funny."

A woman scolding someone | Source: Freepik

A woman scolding someone | Source: Freepik

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My father-in-law (FIL) added, "We didn't know about Tom's behavior, Mary, and we'd like to apologize profusely." Looking at Tom, who then looked at the floor, his father continued, "We didn't raise him to act this way, and he knows better."

"We promise you he'll be pulling up his socks from this moment onward," Linda declared, not bothering to get her son's consent. My FIL then grabbed Tom and took him outside where I could see that he was being scolded.

An older man having a serious conversation with a younger woman | Source: Pexels

An older man having a serious conversation with a younger woman | Source: Pexels

When my husband and FIL returned indoors, our friends couldn't stop laughing at Tom. "Tom, man, I never thought I'd see you as you truly are!" Jake, his best friend, teased. My husband shot me a look that was a mix of anger and embarrassment, but I held my ground.

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Throughout the day, I ensured to keep the conversation focused on parenting and the responsibilities that come with it. Every time someone commented on the portrait, I used it as an opportunity to explain why I was doing most of the parenting alone.

A group of friends laughing | Source: Pexels

A group of friends laughing | Source: Pexels

At this point, Tom had changed out of his pajamas, hoping to deter people from the topic of the portrait that I refused to put away. After everyone had left, Tom finally approached me. "That was really something, Mary. Did you have to embarrass me in front of everyone?"

"Tom, I didn't do this to embarrass you. I did it to make a point," I said, my voice softening. "We are supposed to be a team. I can't do this alone, and Emily needs both of us." He sighed, running a hand through his hair. "I get it, but you don't understand how it feels to be constantly corrected."

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A couple having a serious conversation | Source: Pexels

A couple having a serious conversation | Source: Pexels

"I know, and I'm sorry if I came across as nit-picking. I just want what's best for Emily," I said, taking his hand. "Can we find a way to work together?" Tom nodded slowly. "I guess we can try. Maybe you can show me some of what you learned in those classes?"

I smiled, relieved. "I'd love that."

A couple holding hands while talking | Source: Pexels

A couple holding hands while talking | Source: Pexels

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Over the next few weeks, my husband and I started working together more closely. I showed him the tips I had learned, and he began to understand why I had been so particular. We made mistakes, but we also celebrated small victories together.

The tension that had hung over us started to dissipate. It was replaced by a renewed sense of partnership. One evening, as we were putting Emily to bed, Tom looked at me and said, "You know, I think we're doing pretty well." I nodded, feeling a warmth spread through me. "Yeah, I think so too."

A couple taking care of their baby | Source: Pexels

A couple taking care of their baby | Source: Pexels

The portrait of the couch potato now hangs in our living room, a reminder of the lesson we both learned. It's a conversation starter for anyone who visits, and each time someone asks about it, Tom and I share a knowing smile.

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We've come a long way since that day, and we're stronger for it. In the end, it wasn't about who was right or wrong. It was about finding a balance and understanding each other's perspectives.

A happy family of three | Source: Pexels

A happy family of three | Source: Pexels

Parenting is hard, but it's a journey best traveled together. And now, with Tom by my side, I know we can handle anything that comes our way.

A couple gushing over their newborn baby | Source: Pexels

A couple gushing over their newborn baby | Source: Pexels

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Mary's tale fortunately had a good ending, but that's not the case in the following story. Jenny thought she'd teach her longtime husband a lesson when he disrespected her by flirting in her presence. But what she didn't expect was that her plan would work too well. Click here to read more!

This work is inspired by real events and people, but it has been fictionalized for creative purposes. Names, characters, and details have been changed to protect privacy and enhance the narrative. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

The author and publisher make no claims to the accuracy of events or the portrayal of characters and are not liable for any misinterpretation. This story is provided "as is," and any opinions expressed are those of the characters and do not reflect the views of the author or publisher.

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