The No. 1 Reason My Marriage Has Improved Since Having a Baby

Father and daughter

Rick and Peony; be still my beating heart

My love for my husband, Rick, has grown exponentially since the birth of our second daughter, Peony, at the end of August.

Not because she glows like the Northern Lights when she catches a glimpse of him walking into a room.

Not because he got me the world’s greatest push present (or any push present) (although there’s still time to get me one of these, honey).

Not because I realize that it was our devotion and commitment to each other and our family that created our precious, darling little bundle.

That stuff is nice and all. But there’s one thing that has made me adore my husband endlessly since we brought Peony home:

Sleep.

Every Friday night, my husband sleeps downstairs with Peony so that I can sleep upstairs undisturbed for an entire night. It was my sister’s suggestion (thanks, Allison!), and boy, was it a good one.

Peony is a totally chill baby and a good sleeper, but she’s not perfect. She grunts and gurgles a lot. She has nights when the pacifier must be in her mouth, but she can’t keep it in there, so I end up holding it in place, which doesn’t make for much sleep. And on some nights, she likes to eat some time between 2 and 5 in the morning.

I’m someone who would ideally like to get 10 hours of sleep a night, but 9 will do. Anything less than 7, however, and I’m a wreck. I’ll do what I have to do to care for my baby, but that doesn’t always mean I’m happy about it (I’m being brutally honest here). It’s nice to think that nursing a baby is all sunshine and smiles, but in the middle of the night I’d much rather strap a juice box to her chin and roll over.

However, that’s clearly not an option (or at least not one that will be ignored by Child Protective Services). So I muster my way through most nights. And I try not to complain (note the emphasis on try). But my husband knows me well and how I love my sleep. He has offered to help every night, but I never see a point in both of us getting up. And since I’m the milk maid, I have to get up.

Rick has been a superstar about those Friday nights.

He coos to Peony on Friday mornings, “Do we have a date tonight? It’s you and me!”

Whether he’s looking forward to it or not only he knows. But he doesn’t make me feel bad about it.

Two nights ago, he knew I was extra tired so he offered to sleep with her downstairs. I wasn’t even that tired last night and he said he would do it again.

“But I’m looking forward to Friday night,” I whined ungratefully. “Does this mean you won’t do it again on Friday night?”

“No,” he answered kindly. “Of course I’ll still do it on Friday night.”

And the second best part — besides all the sleep I get on those nights? When I thank him in the morning for letting me catch up on my sleep, he always says, “That’s nice of you to say, but please don’t thank me. I’m her daddy. This is what we do.”

Who knew that waking up alone could feel so good?

Does your husband or partner take one for the team on occasion so you can get some sleep, too?

Image: Meredith Carroll

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