What to do when you have a baby and your relationship turns toxic

This is a chapter from my upcoming book “The Clueless Father’s Parenting Survival Guide.”

It’s also one of the longest chapters in the book. Sorry about that. But if I could spend an hour of reading and hopefully spare my child years of pain, I’d consider it a good trade.

I’d say probably about 15% of the book deals with preparing your relationship for having children and also things you can do to rescue the relationship if you weren’t prepared for what children would do to it.

Hope you find it helpful.

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Baby Proofing Stuff We Bought

I’ve been asked numerous times what baby-proofing products we bought.

Rapid fire I will post the links for these here:

Outlet covers: Munchkin 36 Count Plug Covers

Fencing for blocking areas off: Northstate Superyard Playgate Light Gray

Gates for blocking off stairways, I can’t find the brand we got, but this is pretty good: Northstate Superyard Playgate Light Gray

Cabinet Locks: Safety 1st Magnetic Locking System Complete. As a note on these. Once our kids got older, they ripped them right off and instead of using the sticky tape, it required using screws.

Self-Closing Trash Cans: Simplehuman Step Trash Can, Black Plastic

Corner Guards: Prince Lionheart Corner Guards, Chocolate Brown. Be ready for your kids to rip these off a lot.

Stove Knob Guards: Safety 1st Clear View Stove Knob Covers 5-Pack

Power Strip covers: Safety 1st Power Strip Cover

I know a lot of people use way more safety proofing products than this. But common sense positioning of furniture and keeping dangerous stuff out of reach or put away also helps go a long way.

 

Anti-Stress Supplements that Work

I get easily stressed. I work 6-7 days a week and generally about 14 hours a day. We never seem to have enough money or time. The kids, as adorable as they are, can get on the nerves and generally I can be on edge more often than not. But this isn’t good for my health and the doc told me I need to figure out a way to reduce stress levels and get better sleep at night.

After a bunch of searching I found another Natural Vitality product that really helped. It also helped as an after exercise muscle soother which prevented me from being severely sore the next day.

It’s called Natural Calm Raspberry Lemon and is a great supplement that you can mix in hot water and drink like a tea. They have a variety of flavors and packet sizes. I suggest starting with smaller doses and working your way up as I have found taking too much can upset the stomach. Anyways their instructions are pretty clear. Hope it helps.

CALM

My baby only wants milk, HELP!

My baby only wants milk! Help!

My oldest daughter, now 3, was on solid foods and loving it by the time she was 6 1/2 months old. And she’s a good eater. She doesn’t demand sugar too much, she eats veggies and she loves steak as much as or more than her daddy (that’s me). So I really didn’t get what the big deal was about parents who had a problem getting their kids to eat but I was happy that she was fine.

Then our second daughter arrived and by the end of 6 months she refused to put anything in her mouth other than milk. The real big downsides of this are:

1. The baby wakes up more often during the night for feeding (3-5 times is not unusual).

2. You constantly worry about proper development, are they getting enough nutrition?

3. Washing bottles and preparing baby formula constantly isn’t really what I’d call a hobby I enjoy.

But by the time our daughter was 11 months old, a pediatrician we consulted with said that she was out the bottom on the baby development chart (below the 5th percentile in height and weight) and at this point I really started worrying. As an aside, my wife is petite, so I always knew there was the possibility of our daughters being petite as well, but that didn’t stop me from worrying. Anyways, the pediatrician gave us various techniques to essentially force our daughter to eat. None of them worked and all of them made me feel a little guilty because she was obviously beyond miserable.

We then left Mexico to visit some family in LA and I went and saw the doctor who had taken care of me when I was a kid. She told me all about her youngest son who had been a “milk baby” and the great frustration she had to go through as well as the worries on development because just milk isn’t enough by itself. So she started researching and testing various concoctions until she found one that worked great for her kid and after several months he went up to the 100th percentile on his growth chart and has stayed there for the last 3 years. Her theory was that it wasn’t really the taste as much as the texture of the food that the kids had a problem with.

Now as a note, we already complemented the breastfeeding with barley formula (http://youtu.be/feQ6FcZRgFg) because we don’t like using the powdered baby formula products. So now we were looking adding another supplemental/complementary milk formula to this. I rounded up the products and started making this every morning right when she wanted her “wake-up” bottle and at first she started drinking it and then spit it out. I kept trying until I finally found that with the banana out of the mix, she drank it no problem.

I’ve been giving this to her now for almost 5 months and she has now gone up to the 68th percentile on the height chart so I am relieved and happy. The nightly awakenings are still exhausting but my wife and I deal with it as a team so it’s bearable.

The formula she gave us was: (NOTE: CHECK WITH YOUR OWN DOCTOR FOR THE EXACT QUANTITIES AND INGREDIENTS FOR YOUR KID!!!)

12 ounces of organic vitamin d milk, or whatever milk your baby uses.

1 1/2 Tablespoons of vanilla flavored egg protein powder (I use 1/3 scoop of the protein powder I bought which means basically 8 grams of protein. You have to figure out the proportion based off the protein powder you use and how much your baby should be getting. I know there are dozens of others out there such as whey proteins, but I haven’t checked into any of those yet)

1 tablespoon of Kidsafe Supreme Superfood. This is basically powderized vegetables, fruits and other good stuff with all the amino acids, vitamins, iron, etc… intact. Pretty expensive but worth it.

1 teaspoon of organic flax seed oil

1/2 teaspoon blackstrap molasses for all the B-complex vitamins. This is a strong flavored ingredient, the doctor recommended a full teaspoon but until I brought it down to a 1/2 teaspoon or about 14 drops, my daughter wouldn’t drink it.

Fill up a 9 ounce bottle. If your baby won’t drink the milk because it is slightly chilly, then warm the milk before you blend it. But I found my daughter preferred it slightly cool. I then usually have about 3-4 ounces leftover and I drink that and then head out with them for daycare.

Hope that helps.

Best,

T.C.F.

 

 

 

The Uninvolved Parent

I realize that most people in today’s modern world are simply looking for a quick fix for each problem as it comes up as opposed to the more in depth problem solving that takes hard work, learning and true understanding to help avoid the problem from continually recurring in the future.We have passed out of the Age of Aquarias and entered into the “Age of Google.”

Accordingly I’ve posted the solution to the problem right at the top and then past the read more, the whole theory behind the problem under that. You can take the swift approach or you can struggle through the equivalent of 8 Facebook posts to get a better understanding of the problem itself.

I’m not judging or trying to be preachy. Really I’m not. I just know that while this might help solve today’s problem, understanding more about the problem itself might just save your marriage. That being said here goes:

HOW TO SOLVE THE “WHO DOES WHAT” DILLEMA

The basic problem in what most perceive as “uninvolved parenthood” is simply lack of laid out agreements between both parents. One parent might be completely content doing all the parental work providing that they get one day a month in a full luxurious day spa and a trip to Rodeo Drive. The other parent might be blissfully happy simply writing the checks every month and not having to change a single diaper.

While I think both of the above are being denied the depth of character and the true value of the life changing experience that parenthood actually is, who am I to judge? If that’s what happiness it is to certain people then you know what I say? Let them be happy.

But if suddenly that check isn’t written and that day-spa trip has to be cancelled and then someone has to change a diaper that wasn’t expected, then friction enters into the equation. But you know what? No matter how perfectly people think they have it planned, it is going to happen. Why? Because that’s how life works: unpredictably, with fevers that don’t fit into your monthly schedules and temper tantrums that weren’t on the daily planner.

Life challenges you and forces you to either grow or perish. And parenthood for some is the raw essence of life itself.

So how to avoid the unpleasantness and friction? Settle the agreements. You know “if blah happens so and so does blah.”

Ideally do it before you have the child. Because once you do, there is no going back. And if you won’t provide for that child, they will either die or wind up with real parents leaving you behind with the label of a “biological” one. Being a biological parent doesn’t make you a father or a mother. Even gods have to earn that right, and when they don’t, their children suffer and then eventually even the gods do.

To quote one of the most brilliant lines ever written in a screenplay: “Mommy is name of God in the mind of a child.” But so is father.

So what do you do? Sit down with your partner (ideally before you decide to conceive, but if it’s too late for that, it’s never too late to set things right.) and write out the following:

FOR THE 6 MONTHS FOLLOWING BIRTH:

1. If Mommy has Cesaeraen birth, who is going to help change the diapers and give baths and help feed the baby for the 2-3 weeks while mommy gains full mobility? (Daddy? Nanny? Grandma?)

2. Who is going to wash the bottles? All the time? Or just once a day? Or once a week? What? (If you buy 6 bottles they will need to be washed and sterilized once a day, less if the mother can regularly breastfeed)

3. Who is going to change the diapers? All the time? Most of the time? (Expect up to 8 diaper changes a day until they hit 6 months old. If you change less than they need they will get bad rashes and generally make life miserable because you were to lazy to do the work to change the diapers regularly. And just because life is like that, even if you do change the diaper often enough, they will also get rashes when you change the diapers enough anyways)

4. Who is going to wash the baby? All the time? Most of the time? Some of the time? 1 time a week? 3 times a week? (They will need at least one bath a day although if they don’t puke or pee or poop on themselves sometimes you can get away with a 48 hour gap)

5. Who is going to feed the baby? All the time? Most of the time? Some of the time? (They will need to be fed every 2-3 hours on an average for at least 90 days and possibly up to 180 days)

6. Who is going to feed the baby when they wake up 2-3 times a night? Are you going to trade from one day to the next? Do the parents have maternity leave to be able to deal with the exhaustion or can one stay at home while the other goes to work? If the partner who has to go to work can’t sleep and therefore can’t work, how are you going to solve this?

7. Who is going to get the baby ready for bed?

8. Who is going to read the baby bedtime stories?

9. What do you do when one parent is sick?

10. What do you do when the baby is sick?

11. What do you do when everyone is sick?

12. Who is going to take the baby for stroller walks?

13. Who is going to take the baby for walks in the park?

14. Who is going to do the grocery shopping?

15. Who is going to do the shopping for the clothes and accessories?

16. If both parents are going to work, who is going to care for the baby?

17. What is the agreed “girl time” for mom to relax and hang out with friends and take a short breather?

18. What is the agreed “guy’s time” for dad to relax and hang out with friends and take a short breather?

19. What are both parents going to do about “hobbies” they had prior to parenthood (because you can for the most part just kiss those goodbye. Seriously, donate that X-Box or playstation to your favorite family member.)

20. Who is going to look after baby when mom and dad need some “together time” because you HAVE TO HAVE THAT or you will burn out before the race is even really going. (Nanny? Grandma? Sister?)

21. DISCLAIMER CLAUSE: BOTH PARENTS MUST AGREE TO REVISIT THESE AGREEMENTS FROM TIME TO TIME TO ADJUST THEM BASED OFF THINGS THAT THEY HAVE LEARNED.

And pretty much anything else you can think of that might become a problem. You need to talk about it before it becomes one, or if it already is one, you need to talk it over until you reach a mutual agreement. And if you can’t reach a mutual agreement then realize you’ve hit a point of cancer that will eventually destroy not only the parent’s happiness, but the child’s as well.

You are entering into a life-long contract with a child, and often you enter into it unknowingly in a head first screaming dive off the side of a cliff with an undersized parachute strapped to your back. That again, is life.

And if you can learn how to deal with it, you can learn how to truly enjoy it. And if you think that was too long for your taste or cut a bit close to the bone, then don’t even bother clicking “read more.” But I do hope that helps and wish you the best of luck in enjoying the full depth and breadth of parenthood.

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