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

What counts as self-care?

woman with baby and man playing video games Yan Krukau and RODNAE Productions / Pexels

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 and 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 during their fourth trimester. She wrote into the r/Parenting subreddit, explaining that she and her husband are first-time parents to their newborn, who’s less than eight weeks old.

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 and asked the Reddit parenting community for their "thoughts on video games."

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As one person noted, while “video games can be self-care, doing it to actively avoid responsibilities is not self-care.” 

As defined by Everyday Health, self-care "means taking care of yourself so that you can be healthy, you can be well, you can do your job, you can help and care for others, and you can do all the things you need to and want to accomplish in a day."

While most people may consider things such as seeing a therapist, prioritizing nutritious meals or spending a day bed-rotting as self-care, by definition, it's self-care encompasses anything you do with the intention of ensuring your physical and mental health are at the forefront. And if playing video games does that for you, it's surely a form of self-care. 


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

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That said, as a parent, it's crucial that self-care doesn't cross the line into an escape from reality or neglect of responsibilities, and it's up to parents to agree on a fair division of responsibilities when it comes to caring for their baby.

"He can't monopolize the self care..." one person wrote in the comments, suggesting the couple "Make an agreeable compromise so that both of you get a break and both of you support each other."




“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,” one 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.”

Self-care is critical, especially for new parents — but the indulgence in self-care has to be equitable to avoid resentment in the parents' relationship.

As WebMD has noted, for parents to show up at their best for their children, they must first take care of themselves.

“I would say take some time to really consider your family setup,” one person wrote in the Reddit comments. “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 social issues, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.