Did you ever notice how your relationship with your partner goes through a shift once that bundle of joy arrives? I felt it too. And honestly, I wasn't quite prepared for it.
Like many of you, I've skimmed through countless parenting books that promised to transform me into a supermom. But here's the kicker: those books often skipped over what happens to the relationship between mom and dad. So I’ve compiled a list of tips that personally helped me and my husband nurture our relationship after we became parents in the hopes that they may guide you too. Here it goes:
Acceptance is Key
Let’s face it - parenthood will change your relationship. The fancy dinner dates? They'll need some planning. Travelling? Get ready for logistical acrobatics. Alone time? It becomes a rare treasure.
But you know what? It's still a wonderful journey. This change might seem overwhelming at first, but it's also a chance to make your marriage even stronger. You and your partner become a tag team, facing the challenges and joys of parenthood together.
Schedule a Date Night (at Home)
I’m not sure about you, but planning a date with my husband stresses us both! Who will take care of the baby? Should we go somewhere near so we can head back if something bad happens? OMG, what if something bad happens??? And so on!
Here’s what we did: we had date nights at home!
Set the mood with soft lighting, some music, and a homemade meal or takeout from your favorite restaurant. Wait until the baby is peacefully asleep, and you have the perfect opportunity for an intimate evening without even leaving the house. Alternatively, you can embrace the spontaneity of staying up a bit later than usual, ordering pizza, and snuggling up for a movie night. It might require some extra effort and creativity, but I promise, it’s still a meaningful and intimate experience.
Tune in to Your Feelings
Parenting can be incredibly stressful, and it's not uncommon to inadvertently take out that stress on your partner. I’ve been there, and it caused many senseless fights that just caused me and my husband to feel more tired.
When tensions rise, take a step back and assess if you're upset because of the issue at hand or if exhaustion and stress are playing a role. Honest communication is crucial here. Instead of reacting in anger, express your feelings calmly, such as saying, "I've been feeling tired and stressed lately, and I think it's affecting how I react. I didn't mean to snap at you." Open communication can go a long way in diffusing conflicts and preventing them from escalating.
Don’t Overlook the Little Things
It's those small everyday moments that truly matter. For my husband and I, those little things include tagging each other in Facebook reels, sharing funny photos of our kids, and telling stories about how our days went before we called it a night. We don’t get tired of doing these every day!
Find those simple, effortless things that make your partner happy and do them! The key? Being intentional in showing your love and appreciation for each other.
Also, don’t forget about intimacy! By intimacy, I don’t mean just sex (it’s fine if you’re not there yet!). Romance thrives through simple yet powerful acts like holding hands, cuddles, and affectionate moments.
Prioritize Yourself Too
Remember, you're not just a mom; you're you. Take some time for yourself and do the things you love. Go out with your friends, take that long hot shower without any interruption, or lock yourself in your room for an hour to put your feet up while catching up on your fave series. And do so unapologetically!
Indulging in self-care activities allows you to recharge your emotional batteries, which in turn makes you a better partner and parent. Keep in mind that a happier and more fulfilled you will contribute positively to your relationship and your family's overall well-being. So don't feel guilty about taking that time for yourself!
From scheduling date nights at home to tuning into your feelings and cherishing the little things, these small yet meaningful steps can create a lasting impact. And don't forget, prioritizing yourself isn't selfish; it's an essential part of maintaining a healthy relationship.
By embracing these practices, I’m sure your love will continue to grow, even amidst the diaper changes and sleepless nights!