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Mom Of Newborn Asked Husband To Stop Playing Video Games And Help Out But He Says It's 'Self-Care'

Photo: Yan Krukau, RODNAE Productions / Pexels
Mom and newborn, man playing video games

The first three months of having a newborn baby are known as “the fourth trimester.” According to WebMD, the fourth trimester is defined as a time in which both the baby and birthing parent are adjusting to the baby’s life outside the womb. 

New parents are often tired and overwhelmed by the dramatic changes to their daily routine. Parents should expect their lives to look different after a baby arrives.

One new mom struggled to manage the changes in her and her husband’s free time. She wrote into the r/Parenting subreddit, explaining that she and her husband are first-time parents to their newborn, who’s under 8 weeks old.

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The mom asked her husband to stop playing video games and help out with the baby, but he said video games are ‘self-care.’

In preparation for their new lives with their baby, she asked her husband to pause his video game subscription, “since he’ll be busy helping with the baby plus he has his school work,” as he’s currently getting his doctorate.

She reported that he didn’t listen to her request, “still paid the game subscription and continues to play games every day while I spend [the] majority of the time with our baby.

She added that she sleeps alone with the baby at night since her husband has work. She asked the Reddit parenting community for their "thoughts on video games."

Many parents on Reddit shared that video games were their way of relaxing when they had newborns, too.

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One person commented with her own story, explaining that “my husband used to play video games while he sat criss-cross with [our] newborn snuggled in his lap. [It] gave me a break and everyone was happy.”

“Granted, it wasn’t for hours and hours at a time,” the other mom said, noting that the “baby couldn’t see or hear the TV” because her husband used headphones. 

She went on to state her belief that “there’s a time and place for video games,” although she made the point, speaking directly to the new mom, that “if it’s bothering you then he needs to limit himself.

Another mom shared her “favorite memory from the overall hellish newborn period,” of her husband holding the baby “napping in a carrier on his chest while he played [games] and rocked side to side.”

“Video games when my baby was sleeping were absolutely my ‘self-care,’ said a parent in favor of video games. “You need to unwind and feel like a normal human being” outside of taking care of your baby.

Another parent agreed that video games are self-care, but noted that the mom’s husband 'can't monopolize self-care.'

This parent's advice was that they “make an agreeable compromise so that both of you get a break and both of you support each other.”

Yet another mother agreed that while “video games can be self-care, doing it to actively avoid responsibilities is not self-care.” 

This mom offered her take on how she manages free time with her own husband, saying that some days “he needs more time to decompress and I will try to help him get that time, but he also makes sure I have that same opportunity on days I need it.”

“Sounds like he might need to spend a few hours alone with the baby to give you some self-care time too,” came another comment on the thread.

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“You both should have free time, ideally equal… Decide how you're going to schedule free time for each other, and what he does in his own free time is up to him,” advised another Reddit user. 

“The games aren’t the problem,” said a different person on the thread. “It’s about finding a balance where both of you have time to do what you need to relax.”

One parent offered up an example of a shift in the routine that could help them adjust to caring for a newborn.

“When we had our baby my wife and I each set aside 30 minutes a day to give the other a break so they could recharge,” the dad explained. 

But, as this dad noted about the original poster’s concerns over her husband’s video games, “if he is spending hours and hours a day playing video games while you are both home and awake and he leaves you to the childcare, then I'd say that's a problem.”

“When a baby comes into your life, self-care is extremely important,” stated one parent. “You can’t care for [your] baby if you don’t care for yourself.”

“As a new mom, it can be difficult to pull yourself away from your little one and do something just for you but it’s an absolute necessity,” the parent continued. “For both of you.”

Another commenter had a valuable suggestion on an equitable way to divide free time. 

“I would say take some time to really consider your family setup,” they said. “Think about what people need rather than divvying everything up equally. Fair does not mean equal… fair means trying to make sure everyone has what they need to survive.”

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers celebrity gossip, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.