I guess if it works for you, it works for you. If you're happy cleaning up after and feeding a dog you never wanted, I can't tell you you're not.
But if you're not, I think it would be a mistake to think that if you continue to go along with it, it will eventually get better.
You are teaching her that treating you this way gets results.
when baby has a bad day, mom has a bad day...as a human we all have bad days, and unless your wife gave birth to an alien then i would assume your baby is human and even though it is a baby it can still have bad days. a pediatrician once told me that if adults experienced teething we would rip our heads off. you need some orajel, some homeopathic "teething tablets" (wal-mart; toys-r-us) and you need to find a babysitter man...if you want your wife back before baby you need to find someone to watch baby so you can have your wife back. No 2 parents do it on their own, no-one will think you can't handle parenthood if you call in a third wheel every now and then. normally this is grandma...but since you don't have one you must find one. someone that has other kids i would suggest so baby isn't being "watched" but played with...then when you pick baby up baby is tired and needs a bath and should sleep well....I have a 4 year old boy and a 12 month old girl, I have a resource, a woman who has 4 daughters range of age 7 - 12...my kids enjoy their house, my kids don't cry when they go over there of boredom. get a resource...utilize it, and get some medicine to knock out that teething pain, when baby is experiencing pain and mommy cant calm it down mommy gets frustrated, she isn't yelling at you because of the things you're doing what she'd really like to say is "i don't know what i am doing here DO SOMETHING" but since she is a caring mother and loves your child with all her heart she doesnt want to admit that. do not, do not do not bark back at her.
It's peculiar that we marry, considering that at our base we are really not much different from say the muskrat, the beaver, the coyote or any other wild animal you can think of. Sure, we have less hair, but that thing sleeping beside you is an animalistic creature that can and may bite your head off with the slightest provocation. I suggest a tranquilizer gun.
No, but seriously, the thing to not do is panic, blame yourself or get angry. None of these responses will help or get you anywhere than backwards. Rather than that I tell you this is where you become an adult and painfully set the good example for the sake of your sanity. You have no choice, as you are married with a child. If you believe in marriage then you have to have the emotional maturity to accept your spouse as the nutty squirrel they are. Another thing to consider, and keep in mind that I'm a male who writes this, perhaps your wife is spot on about everything AND so are you. Sound weird? Consider these things.
Perhaps you really get so much done that you seem like whirlwind and she feels guilty for not helping or taking time to relax. Perhaps on the days that you don't get everything done she feels overwhelmed with things to do, can't manage it all and you don't seem to be helping at all. Perhaps she wants you to go to the gym so you look good but also feels guilty because she can't or doesn't have the energy to and worries that while you get fitter she gets fatter and may soon be abandoned to some hot chicky at the gym. Again, you haven't done anything wrong and neither has she. The only thing you guys may do wrong, as I have before and many others, is take your frustration out on eachother. Remember, we are all descended from sharks, squirrels, meerkats, wild boars, bears and whatnot, so wanting to bite the head off the nearest thing standing is natural, but as evolved humans we DO have the capacity to do better. It starts by never blaming eachother so much as the situation and finding ways to diffuse the situation or ourselves.
in your case I suggest going to church and seeing if they have a day care. If not church, perhaps parents or paid daycare for a short period. Maybe 3 hours a week (say on Friday). Having them take care of the baby for even a couple of hours a week is so much better than that feeling of never getting a break and anyone here can see you need one. Half the reason i go to church is so my wife can forgive me for some stupid thing I said or did during the week. I know that no matter how bad it gets we always manage to set aside the immediate hard feelings by the weeks' end. Then all we have to deal with is the nagging belief that we both married underappreciative idiots and could have done much better. Hahahahahaha! For better or worse...
Best of luck, hang in there, etc.
Your wife was ME!! I had PPD, and it was killing my husband.
I had the rage, and I had the disappointment, and the lack of sense, and the constant urge to complain, and the instantaneous annoyance with everything my husband said or did. I would wake up screaming and yelling everytime my son cried in the middle of the night because I was SO frustrated. It most certainly was PPD.
I didn't need drugs, what I needed was sleep. Which is hard for a breast feeding mother to do. But I had to make the mind over mommy-heart-strings decision that a few nights on expressed milk or formula weren't going to kill him... and my husband slept in the baby's room and took him all night on Saturday nights for the first 9 weeks so I could at least have ONE DAY where I woke up not wanting to kill someone. (Contrary to popular belief, one night isn't going to kill her milk supply... since it will reduce her stress level, its likely to help it!)
My husband also makes a concerted effort to have all his work done before he comes home (we're military, that's hard to do!), and gives me one hour 3 times a week to go do whatever I want (I do to the gym or have dinner with friends).
As a Mommy, its easy to tell yourself that you're only a good mommy if you stay at home at all times, breast feed exclusively and your child never cries. It's just not reasonable.
I suggest you call her OB, get her some medical intervention because even if its not PPD, she needs someone to talk to who's in the know about it. And I suggest you suggest marriage counselling (doesn't mean your marriage is ending, just that you need a little nudge to get over this hurdle). Continue to reassure her, but be firm. You need your time too, and you need to maintain your identity. If you stop doing the things that attracted her to you in the first place (including going to the gym), she won't be attracted to you anymore!
It has to be a balance. You both need "me" time, and you both need to take on the kid alone so that that balance can be achieved. You also need to both set aside "we" time... because the kid doesn't come first. The marriage does. The child was a product of the marriage, and if the marriage isn't working, the child suffers. Get a babysitter and go on some dates. Don't talk about the baby, or the baby sitter, or anything like that... my hubby and I would bring a newspaper or magazine... it helped to have topic ideas because it's really easy to talk about the elephant in the room!
A book that really helped me as a Mom to get a grip on what was going on was "On Becoming Babywise." I used to call it Isaac's "user manual." There are lots of other books out there, and this one isn't for everyone either... but it has a really good method for sleep training. And once we put it into action, three days later my LO slept through the night for 12 hours every night.. 8pm to 8am... He was 9 weeks at the time, and he's 7 mos now... still sleeping through the night.
Not only was HE a different baby from that day on... I was a different wife.
Best of luck!!
Some more followup...
Early in February, things were at their worst, but then suddenly, she was much more like herself again. We even had sex 4 or 5 times in a 2 week span. I went to see a therapist without my wife's knowledge, and she told me that my wife was either suffering from PPD, bipolar (which was the therapist's strongest inclination due to the mood swings), or sever depression. I showed the therapist a letter from my wife in which she detailed all of the horrible things about me and our relationship. The therapist explained to me that her sense of reality was skewed. She was able to repeat things my wife would say to me verbatim, which really impressed me. The appointment made me hopeful, and it assured me a but that it really wasn't me that was the problem. Lack of sleep wasn't the problem either. Our son sleeps 10-12 hours per night without waking and she naps with him 1-3 hours per day.
Things were pretty good for the entire month of February. My wife was acting like the girl I married again. However, while having sex one night, she complained of pain and we haven't had sex since. She has finally made a Dr's appointment because, according to her, she feels like something is physically wrong. I will speak to the Dr before hand and tell her to get my wife to talk about her mental state as well. My wife has also started her menses once again, which surprised both of us. She has many things to discuss with the Dr.
The last 2 days, my wife, for reasons completely unknown to me, has been distant and cold. The up and down is killing me. I really hope the Dr. can help her. I just want her to be a happy mom and a loving wife.
You seem to be handling this better than I did (and I don't think my wife was quite at the level yours seems to be), and we're still together, for whatever that's worth.
I'm not sure you'll ever get your pre-partum wife back. I don't need to tell you this, but the birth of your child is a huge event, which has changed both you and your wife in profound ways.
I join you in hoping that there can be improvement, and that you end up in an even better place. But I suspect it's going to look very different from what things looked like before the baby was born, so it may help to look forward to that rather than backward to how things used to be.