Of course I’m no expert in anything I talk about here but I thought a relationship post would be a fun one to do on Valentine’s Day.
Here’s the thing. Relationships change constantly because life changes constantly. The stage of life that you’re in could be very different than mine right now but these are my experiences. Andrew (my hubby) and I have been together almost 10 years. We’ve been through high school together, lived as broke college students together, went through extreme losses together and extreme highs. Truthfully, we barely remember life before each other because we were kids. We dated for almost 7 years before getting married and then lived together for a little over 2 years before Charlotte came along. I feel like I know him better than the back of my hand and we make a pretty good team and balance one another regardless of the stage we’re in during any given time. BUT, having a baby really does change everything and I had no idea how much this would be true. It is particularly the case in the beginning. Although these tips will be relevant regardless of if you’re a new parent or not, we’ve definitely needed to bring them out during this transition into our new roles as parents.
1. BE REALISTIC. For instance, going into parenthood thinking you will go on several date nights a month might be unrealistic. I definitely know that some people are in a situation where they really do go out frequently with only their partner soon after the birth of their baby but let’s be real. Most of the time, that’s just not practical and setting yourself up thinking everything will be the same is likely going to lead to disappointment. You’re both going to be exhausted 110% of the time and going out at night is probably not even going to sound fun. Being realistic with your expectations of life after baby is going to help SO much when you’re actually in the situation. You and your partner are both going to be thrown into this magical but stressful time that is like no other time in life. Plan accordingly ahead of time if you’re able. If you’re already new parents, be realistic about what the other person is feeling and cut them some slack. You’re both along for the same ride so empathy shouldn’t be too difficult.
2. On the other hand, don’t forget about your spouse. Especially as new moms who give everything to their babies, it can be easy to forget your spouse. If you’re exhausted and your S/O wants to go out, maybe try an at-home date night. This is pretty much always our type of date night. We love getting take-out and coming straight back home to relax. This was a good compromise for us during those first months. Sometimes, it can be beneficial to even delay sleep just a bit to catch up with your spouse. Talking (with only the two of you around) is SO important. Otherwise, it can be easy to get so busy that you forget to even ask about each other’s lives which could translate to one of you thinking the other doesn’t care.
3. Always explain and communicate your feelings. Obviously this is true for any relationship at any time but I’ve noticed it can be more challenging now. Having kids typically means less time to talk overall so it can be difficult to not bottle things up due to being busy. We all know that bottling things up is the worst for a relationship. You don’t want to fall down that slippery slope!
In the end, patience, encouragement and understanding are three things I like to keep in my head at all times. Being a new mom is different than being a new dad but they each come along with new challenges and needed compassion.