5 Tips For Splitting Parenting Duties With Your Spouse

Are you a sleep-deprived mom? Incorporate dad in and get some zzzzs.

5 Tips For Splitting Parenting Duties with Your Spouse [EXPERT]

While all parents may not agree that it takes a village to raise a child, most agree that a village certainly makes parenting a lot easier, especially when the squire and the squiress equally pitch in.

Mothers of infants who wake frequently during the night and feel depressed and sleep deprived as a result — you are not alone. According to a recent CNN Health report on the outcome of a study published in the September 2012 issue of the medical journal Pediatrics, mothers of infants with sleep problems are at greater risk for suffering from depression.  Some estimate that the risk is double.


Since mothers tend to be the primary night-time caregivers, it's no surprise they tend to me the most sleep deprived of the parenting pair. And sleep deprivation does no family member any good. According to The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, sleep deprivation can lead to excessive daytime sleepiness, irritability, lack of motivation, anxiety, and of course, depression.

For married mothers, especially ones of infants, it is important that they share the parenting duties with their spouses. Well-rested mothers are happier ones. And if momma ain't happy, no one is. While some husbands will simply do whatever is asked when it comes to sharing parental responsibilities, others need a little push in the right direction. /inline/node/159556


To get dads more involved with parenting responsibilities mothers can:

1. Communicate their needs. Men are not mind readers. If you need your spouse to take one of the middle-of-the-night feedings, let him know. If you need to lie down for a few minutes as soon as he walks in the door, tell him. Your spouse can't meet your needs if you don’t let him know they exist.

More married advice from YourTango:

2. Provide tangible ways dad can help. Most wives can attest to this. Saying "I'm thirsty" isn't usually enough to have him magically appear with a glass of water in his hand. "I need some help tonight. Can you get up at 11 and feed the baby? I've prepared a bottle in the fridge and left a cup on the counter to warm it in" is more likely to yield the results you're looking for. Providing specific tasks can increase the likelihood that your needs get met. /inline/node/160026


3. Talk about needs before they arise. No one wants to hear what they're doing wrong when it's too late to correct course. Rather than waiting till the midnight feed to ask for help, discuss a plan of action during the day. Work with your spouse to develop a routine that works for everyone.

4. Let him do it his way. Sometimes you have to take what you can get and be happy. So what if he doesn't change the baby exactly the way you do. If the baby's safe and the diaper is secure, that's what matters. The less you micromanage, the more willing he'll be to help out. /inline/node/158026

5. Call in backup. If all else fails, you'll need to call in the reinforcements. If your partner isn't stepping it up, rely on your momtourage. Ask friends and family to help out with meal prep, laundry and even watching the baby for a few hours so you can take a nap and get some solid sleep. If you're able, consider hiring a nanny. If you don’t take care of yourself, you're not going to be able to take care of those who depend on you most.

While getting your spouse to share parenting responsibilities can be a challenge, if you present your case for help clearly, you'll likely get the help and sleep you need.


Michelle LaRowe is the editor-in-chief of eNannySource.com. eNannySource.com has been helping families and nannies find each other since 1994. LaRowe is also the author of Nanny to the Rescue!, Working Mom's 411 and A Mom's Ultimate Book of Lists. She was the 2004 International Nanny Association Nanny of the Year.