A relationship can be a beautiful thing. But, over time, it can become a little less beautiful. One of the main reasons for this is kids. There’s no doubt about it - having kids is going to change the dynamics of a relationship. No longer can you devote all your time and attention to your other half. Late nights and broken sleep can affect mood and stress levels, as well as decrease any expected precious evening time together you may have had planned. Babies and children are unpredictable.
Even with a five year old and two year old, we never know what the day or night will bring. Illnesses suddenly spring out of nowhere and though they may mostly sleep through the night, we’ll suddenly go through a patch of them refusing to go to bed or waking up with growing pains for nights on end. Often we plan to spend an evening together with no work or social distractions, once the children are in bed, but by the time they are asleep we’re both practically asleep too or too shattered to interact!
That being said, I feel like our relationship is still strong and perhaps even stronger since having children. One friend with older children once told me if we can get through the early years of having kids, we can get through anything!
So, how do you make sure your relationship stays strong after having kids? Here are three things I think help to keep a relationship strong after having a baby.
Stay intimate, when you can
Women can feel very self-conscious of their new bodies after having a baby as often there are some changes in shape and size. Reassure her that you still find her attractive. Finding time for intimacy along with a newfound tiredness are definitely obstacles once you have children. It can also take time to want to be intimate again after giving birth, so be patient!
Just knowing you still find each other attractive and that it’s simply these reasons for why there’s less affection will ensure no one feels insecure. Communication with each other is important here too. If you’re not ready, just say. If you’re too tired, don’t feel pressured. If there are other reasons for lack of intimacy such as pain, dryness or erectile dysfunction then seek advice.
Many couples often experience a lack of intimacy in their relationship after the arrival of their children. If you are one of these couples, follow these tips to keep your relationship strong.
- Spend quality time with your partner.
- Get help from family members when you need it when caring for the children.
- Talk about what you want out of life and set goals together.
Communication is key
Tying in nicely with both other points is communication. Clearly discussing how one another is feeling is key to a successful relationship. Being open, frank and honest is a must. Playing silly games with one another or playing the silent game is never going to play out well. Don’t always expect your other half to sense how you’re feeling, just be open and tell them. Sometimes they have no clue if you’re stressed out or struggling, no matter how obvious you think it is.
By discussing how you are feeling in an honest and open way means you can communicate clearly with one another and provide support if needed.
Spend time together, kid free
Harder said than done, but even one night every couple of months for a meal out together can be enough. It’s a welcome break from the duties of parenthood and a chance to talk without interruption.
If you don’t have any childcare or perhaps you’re still breastfeeding, why not set up a date night at home? Once every week, or two, cook and enjoy a meal together with no TV, mobile phones or distractions (unless of course the kids wake up!). If you can’t get out for a date night, bring the date night to you.
Spending enough time together as a couple, remaining affectionate and clearly communicating is all so important for a strong relationship.
The first few years of parenting are crazy; there's no doubt about it. And, as every parent knows, the children are not the only ones who need your love and support. It's not easy to keep a relationship going after having kids, but it's possible.
The best way to stay strong in your connection is to never stop surprising each other and by making sure you still have some time for yourselves. You should also try not to take any comments from friends or family about your relationship personally - they don’t know what goes on in your home life. Finally, it's important to remember that every couple has their ups and downs - it's how you react to them that really matters.