Friday, November 13, 2015

Babyproofing Your Relationship

The following is a guest post by the Adultier adult:

Having a baby is a huge change. All of a sudden you're responsible for this living, breathing (pooping) baby who relies on you for absolutely everything, and you have no training and no idea what you are doing. It takes time and it's a huge learning curve, but after a while you start to find your feet. I won't say it becomes easy, but you stop worrying that the baby will jump out of the Moses basket when you're not looking or suddenly climb out of the pram (bear in mind she can't even raise her own head up yet), and run into the road. 

One of the biggest changes is your relationship with your partner. No matter how strong your relationship is, all of a sudden there's this little human dividing your loyalties, monopolizing all your attention and nobody's sleeping.... It's really important that you make sure you don't just become Mummy and Daddy; that you also remember that you're still Husband and Wife, and that your partner needs you just as much as the children do. Okay, he probably doesn't require you to pull a Lego out of his nose or to cut his sandwiches into triangles, but he still needs you. 

Here are a few tips for baby proofing your relationship:

1) Make time for your relationship

Plan a "date night" for once a month. If possible, get a babysitter and go out together. It doesn't have to be anywhere expensive. Even a quiet drink in your local pub will give you a break. It will be really difficult, but TRY to avoid talking about the children.

If you struggle to find a sitter, plan your date night for after the kids are in bed. Choose a movie and snuggle up together on the sofa. 

2) It doesn't have to be all about the kids

Okay, you're parents now but that doesn't mean you cease to exist as your own person. Make sure you remember to treat yourself as well as the children. The other day I was in a charity shop when I saw a nice jumper. It was $5.00. I got as far as the till, but then I put it back. It didn't feel right to spend that money on me. This is the wrong attitude to have. You are just as important as the children and sometimes you deserve to treat yourself.

The same goes for your partner. If you find that you have a bit of spare money, instead of buying the kids more plastic tat that they will play with once, why not treat him to some smellies or a t-shirt? It shows that you're thinking about him, even if you're not with him.

3) Appreciate him

My husband works full time, which allows me to only have to work part time. He goes to work every day, does a whole shift and then the second he walks through the door, he normally has a baby thrust at him and a toddler demanding his attention. Even though I have also had a full day looking after the girls, I make sure I make him a cup of tea, and get him sat on the sofa before letting the kids loose on him. I know that him going to work allows our family to have the life we do, and I try to show how much I appreciate that. 

4) Listen

Ask about each others days and actually listen to what they say. Put your phone down, turn away from the TV (it's only showing Peppa Pig anyway and you've seen all of them before) and actually pay attention to what they're saying. 

5) Don't be afraid to be intimate

I admit that as soon as the children are asleep, the last thing I want to do is be intimate. I want to sleep! Mainly because I know that in a few hours I'll be up again. Make the time to snuggle together. It doesn't have to be sex every night (though, my God, if you have the energy, then go for it!) Just lying together, stroking each other, kissing, playing with each other's (get your mind out the gutter!) hair will help you keep that bond as a couple.

Finally (and this is the big one)

6) Talk to each other

If something is wrong, don't stew on it or let resentment build up. Talk to each other about it. You are a team. You are on the same side and you have each others back. Remember that you are so much more than just "Mummy and Daddy."