As parents, we’ve all been there. Your bundle of joy can be more like a grenade lobbed into the middle of your life. It explodes everything you used to know and be. Hopefully, though, when you’ve got over the initial shock, all your pieces fit together in a new way that makes everything even better than before.
- So, what are the main challenges facing you both as you blithely set out on the parenting path?
- What pitfalls do we all sink into at some stage?
- And how can we overcome them to keep alive the two who were there long before two became three?
That bone-deadening exhaustion of the early days goes. But kids still sap your energy. It’s easy to put your relationship on the back burner when you’re so knackered you feel numb. Similarly, being tired can often lead to being ratty. And of course it’s our partner who’s usually the brunt of bad moods.
You might be more tired than you’ve ever imagined possible…Whether you’re back at work or a stay at home mum, life with kids gets so full it’s easy to let the two of you get squeezed out.
Kids are a great contraceptive. Feeling tired-out and time-harried isn’t conducive to swinging from the chandeliers. And the threat of a small person wandering in when you’re mid-throes isn’t exactly an aphrodisiac either. But – and here’s the sheer sod’s law of it all – sex helps create the intimacy your relationship so badly needs.
Going from you two to you three is a real role shift. and that can be hard to get used to. sometimes you can feel like you’re stifled in a stereotype, have lost your own identity and are almost in mourning for your old self. that can make you feel resentful. and it can be hard not to take that out on your partner – especially if he’s wearing the usual dad going out to work role. one minute, you’re leading a busy, independent life. the next, you’re at the relentless beck and call of a high maintenance pooing and feeding machine. you could find yourself envying him his freedom and the fact that children have had a much more seismic impact on your life than on his.
Often your new mum friends can understand more about the trials and tribulations of your new life than this man you’ve known for infinitely longer. That can be hard to get used to and it certainly doesn’t help intimacy.
I’ll the stresses and strains outlined above mean it’s easy to get swallowed up by life, but it’s just as important to remember to come back up for air sometimes and give your relationship time off for good behaviour. This is all very well, but how are you supposed to do this when you’re currently a strong contender for the title of uk’s busiest mum? thankfully, small steps really do go a long way.
- Talk and LISTEN. When you are both busy it’s easy to forget to take time to communicate. Even if it’s only half an hour a week, it’ll make all the difference. Talk honestly about feelings and give each other support.
- Try not to criticise – Try to understand your partner’s point of view. Focus on the positive things they do and reward these.
- Men are from Mars….. men and women do tend to communicate in different ways. Don’t assume your partner is in the same place as you. Accepting this means you won’t get as stuck in big issues.
- Turn to somebody – when things are tough, and partners can’t talk, turn to those friends and family who you know will listen without taking sides. Or talk to someone else you trust outside your circle, such as your GP, midwife or health visitor. They are used to talking to couples having a hard time.
- And finally – LAUGH! – It’s not called the best medicine for nothing. Be silly together. And when it comes to the same old rows, try and keep your sense of humour