Ways To Keep A Marriage Strong After Having A Baby
There is an age-old myth that having children will fix a marriage that is already in trouble. We hear a lot about unhappy marriages after having a baby or relationship breakdowns. The truth is, is that children can break even the strongest marriage. Here are ways to help your marriage survive your child-raising years.
Raising children is probably one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. I am a working mother of two. I work in a high stress, high-pressure job but this still doesn’t compare to raising children.
Children are non stop, there is no 9 – 5 and home time. It is constant. My son wakes around 6 am and doesn’t stop until 8 pm, my daughter a little less. During that time they are on the go, demanding food, drinks, entertainment, asking for help, fighting and generally draining every last piece of energy stores you may have. There are no sick days and no holidays. It is absolutely endless. It is the most rewarding thing you could ever do, but not for the faint hearted.
Parenting is not only physically exhausting, it is mentally and emotionally draining also. Children will test every last shred of patience you have then push you that little bit more. You no longer have time for you, let alone your partner and having an adult conversation is near impossible without a million interruptions.
So, for a marriage that is already under strain, how could this possibly be a way of saving the relationship? The answer is, it isn’t. Children will not save a drowning marriage or relationship. So, before venturing into this chapter of your lives, ensure that your marriage or relationship is on solid ground and also ask yourself if you are ready to have children?
However, if you both have decided that you are ready to have kids and your relationship foundation is firm, then here are some simple ways to get your marriage to survive having a baby.
Keep The Romance Alive
Okay, I’ll confess this is a hard one. Remember those nights having intimate dinners and cuddles on the couch with your significant other was as easy as fetching water from the tap? Well, it’s hard to maintain the romance when you’re exhausted, your house looks like a tsunami has gone through it and you’re covered in baby drool and vomit.
But, try to make an effort, at least once in a while. Shower (yes mama’s, shower!!), dress up in something nice, put some make up on. You don’t have to go out to dinner, do something nice at home. Watch a movie, sit and talk by the fire. Anything that helps you stay connected to your significant other, which helps keep the spark alive.
Get Out Of The House
Right, so I speak from experience here. I had massive mom guilt and didn’t want to leave my first born for a night. Admittedly, I’m a bit of a control freak in this way. No, I thought, I shouldn’t be enjoying nights out, I’m a mother now. Wrong. This lead to social isolation, feelings of being trapped and resentment towards my husband, who could leave the house without a second thought.
Organise a girls night out, leave the baby with your partner. Yes, it might seem counterproductive to leave your partner for a night to save a marriage but trust me, you will come back feeling super refreshed and will be a much calmer and happier mother and wife.
Share The Load
Okay, again I speak from experience here. I took the mindset that I am on maternity leave and my husband works, so therefore all household duties are mine. Again, wrong. While I still believe the majority of household duties would fall to the non-working partner, do not do it all. You will burn out, build resentment and set a pattern of behaviour that isn’t desireable. By this I mean, if you return to work after 10 months as I did then expect your partner to suddenly start helping again, in most cases you’ll be bitterly disappointed.
For men, realise that you need to help where you can. That could be by even taking your toddler out for the day so mom and new bub can rest or taking the newborn for a long walk to let mom have a relaxing shower in peace. Anything that allows an already fragile and no doubt exhausted mother some time to herself.
Admit It Is Hard
Parenting is the hardest job anyone will ever do, hands down. So, admit this. Admit it you’re struggling and listen to your partner if he or she is voicing that they aren’t coping. No one is superhuman and children don’t come with manuals. No matter how prepared you are, at some stage, you will find it difficult and that is okay. Work out ways with your partner to help cope or implement strategies that will make your life a bit easier.
Become A United Front
You are in this parenting game with your significant other, so you both need to get on the same page and become a united front when parenting. Support each other and back each other up when it comes to decisions and discipline. Having that support not only teaches children that they cannot manipulate one of the parents, but also teaches them a valuable lesson in teamwork.
Ask For Help When You Need It
Again, I’ll put my hand up here and admit I am terrible at this. I try to be superwoman and let my pride get in the way when I should be asking for help. When I do ask for help, I feel guilty for “putting people out.” But, sit back and watch other moms and you will quickly realise that many have no qualms about asking for help. We all need it sometimes, so if it is there, take it when you can.
Don’t “Love Your Kids” More Than Your Partner
This is probably more aimed at moms out there. Yes, we adore our kids and yes we all would die for our kids. But when a baby comes along, you shouldn’t automatically love your children more. Yes, you love your children but it should be equal to the love for your partner.
Think about it from a man’s point of view. He has the love of his life, all to himself, he gets married, he has kids. Then all of a sudden, all of his wives energy and love goes towards her child and there isn’t any left for him. You can’t blame him for becoming distant in this instance, could you?
It is only natural to put all of your energy to you children, after all they do demand all of it and more. But remember to make your significant other still feel special and loved. Make some time for them when you can and you will find it will likely be reciprocated.
Our hearts are big and there is plenty of love to go around. This will not only keep you connected to your partner, but will also teach your children the value of a loving and caring relationship.
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