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DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a new parent of a 2-month-old. My husband and I don’t have anyone in our state (Oregon) we are close with because we moved here a year ago for my husband’s job. It’s been hard because all of our family is back in Ohio, where we are originally from. We have no support system, and my husband has gone back to work, so it’s just been me taking care of our son during the day.
When my husband gets home, he barely helps me with the baby; instead, he sits on the couch and claims he is too tired because he works all day.
I feel like I am a single mother at this point. He never gets up during the night for the baby because he says he needs his sleep to go into work with a sound mind. I want to say I understand where he is coming from, but I can’t because we mutually decided that we wanted a child together and should, therefore, both be taking care of our son. What should I do to get my husband to engage with our son more? — I Need Help
DEAR I NEED HELP: You have to talk to your husband. Get his attention calmly. Sit down together and lay things out so he can understand. Having a newborn is extremely time-consuming, emotional and exhausting. It is more than a full-time job. Yes, he does have a full-time job that tires him out, and you appreciate his efforts, but you absolutely need him to pitch in with your son. You never get to turn off and relax. You need him to share in the responsibilities of caring for your son, including getting up at night when he’s crying. Make a schedule if that will help him. Don’t give up until you convince him that you need him to be a partner in caring for the child you both brought into this world.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I enjoy being an introvert. Being able to spend time alone with a good book on a Saturday night is my favorite thing about the weekend. I do have a dog and I enjoy walking him in the park every day, but mainly I am a homebody. The problem is that I am single, and it is hard to meet men because I am not one to go out. How can I start to be open and become more comfortable stepping out of my comfort zone to meet men? — Comfortable Life
DEAR COMFORTABLE LIFE: Start with your dog. When you go for a walk, notice who else is out there. Speak to fellow dog walkers, especially any interesting men. Put yourself out there to meet the people you encounter. Go a step further and enroll in a class or activity that you find fun that involves interacting with other people. If you put yourself in an environment that is designed for social engagement, you don’t have to work as hard to meet people. You will have to look up and speak to others. Get yourself there, and try it out.