Carolyn Hax

Carolyn Hax: New dad needs ‘down time’ after work

 

Are there letter-writers you wonder about to this day? While I’m away, readers nominate some who stayed in mind.

“He said (roughly), is it so much to ask that he gets a couple of hours of unwind time after work?”

http://wapo.st/13Mtv83

Sept. 1, 2006

Adapted from a live discussion.

Dear Carolyn: I recently became a father/husband and am having problems adapting to my new lifestyle. I’m 27 and my wife is 24. Ever since we’ve been married we constantly argue over my “bad” habits of going to see my friends after I get out of work.

My wife stays at home and cares for our daughter while I work all day. For me, an hour or two of hanging out is refreshing and what I need after a long day before I can go home and begin my responsibilities of being a father.

My wife feels jealous because my friends are the first people I want to see when I get off work. I understand she’s also working by caring for our child but gimme a break! I can’t go out to the mall or go shopping when I work or take two naps during my workday!

Is there anything I can do to make her understand I need me-time?

Breaking the Girl

Oh my goodness. After nine or so hours away from your family at work, you then spend another hour or two away from your family? Because it’s “refreshing”?

You’re not single anymore, and you’re not childless anymore, and so you are no longer at the top of your list of people whose needs you must tend to. At the top of the list is your little girl. Next on the list is your wife’s name, right next to yours. She needs your companionship, your attention, your support. She doesn’t need a husband who needs a couple of belts with his buddies just to face coming home to her.

Yes, you need your time, too. Once a week with your friends. And she needs a night off, too, once a week with her friends.

And if any of this isn’t penetrating please arrange, this weekend, to watch your daughter, solo, for at least 10 hours straight. Then write back to me and report what it was like.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com.

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