Let us cut straight to the chase here...
Babies and children add significant burden and strain onto a couple's relationship... Here are some large factors that may be eating away at your contented coupledom:
- The profound changes that kids bring to the household dynamic, to your identity, to your quality of life (less time to meet to meet your own needs), the chronic sleep deprivation, the juggle of kids and work...
- The volumes of extra work kids bring - recent studies show how a stay at home parent performs the equivalent of 2.5 full time jobs a week!
- The resentment that bubbles away around unfair splits in household and childcare duties versus work outside the home
- The intensity of modern day living coupled with less parental and family support
- The financial strain of childcare costs, reduced capacity to earn and the general escalating cost of living
- Your kid's needs come first, your needs get trampled on and so meeting your partner's needs can become a distant memory!
The once loved-up, united dynamic that was your relationship, can be battered into oblivion by the above factors which come into play when you chuck kids into the mix.
So here three things to consider that can help you move back into better harmony as a couple. Let's face it, marital bliss after kids is too higher an expectation. It seemingly only exists in 'others' idyllic looking Facebook feeds!
1. Ahhh, such a cliche but it is number one. COMMUNICATION!! In the hectic kerfuffle of family life, it can be hard to even meet your partners gaze over the noisy demands of babies and kids. Before you know it you've fallen into a somewhat exhausted routine that doesn't support you sharing the in's and out's of your everyday life. Admin and 'to do' orders get barked at each other across the chaos and sweet relief of collapsing on the couch to some mindless screen time in the evening is not conducive to the one thing that if you get right, can enable your partnership to keep soldiering on...
Top Parents Guide tips for happy couple communication!
- Carve out time to make this talking and looking at each other again thing happen - have a screen-free evening together! Or, if you need to smash the unhappy routine and re-connect, commit to a screen-free week or even month after the kids are in bed, it takes a while to get into the habit of re-igniting evening chit chat but give it time, it will happen!
- Watch your TONE of voice. Your tone of voice tends to define the reaction back from your partner. Yes, it's super hard when we are exhausted and quite
frankly, pissed off or disappointed by our partner's thoughtlessness (or whatever!) - but what is more important is how you share this with them.
Speak gently if you can or just neutrally to not raise their defences.
- Use 'I feel' statements i.e instead of saying 'you <insert favoured angry name> you've made me so mad because you <insert partners failing>,
try this: 'I feel really upset by <this situation>, and I need you know.... I really want to resolve this...
The best outcome is for your partner being able to consider, understand and then support your feelings and situation. In the modern 'busyness' of everyday family life, we cannot expect our partner to be a mind reader. So find the method to communicate as calmly and constructively as you can, whether that taking a huge breath before you speak, writing a letter or schedule in some time for you to properly chat things through whilst avoiding blaming language of name calling and 'you make me feel so mad'...
2. Share domestic duties, childcare and the 'mental load' of planning family life fairly
Ha again, another cliche but make a list of all the things you are responsible for in your house! Split that list! No relationship can bare the weight of years of resentment and sniping at who does or doesn't do what... Yup, we know it is not easy we know but make a start with the list...
Parents Guide top tips...
Add lovely things onto the household list for each of you, whether that be a daily walk, footy training, a monthly massage, dinner together, date night etc. We have some lovely ideas for parents date night in the Illawarra, click here...
Consider if a hiring cleaner will solve some of the tension if the finances allow. Although a divorce is WAY more costly than a fortnightly cleaner!
3. Find ways to meet your own needs, ah yes another rip-roarer cliche... SELF CARE!!
How can you help your partner to do the things they need to make them sane, happy and whole as a person, whether that be surfing, escaping the madness of the house for even 15 minutes, meeting friends for coffees or beers/wines etc. Encourage and look out for each other's wellbeing.,. You are after all, together in this beautiful, messy and chaotic thing called family life!
Parents Guide top tip:
You cannot meet your partner's needs if you have nothing left to give! Take time out for YOU so you can re-charge first. It will make the world of difference!
If you are worried about your relationship, your partner or your own wellbeing or parenting, there is plenty of support to access - click here to find local Illawarra services. If you do not feel safe in your relationship due to emotional or physical abuse, please call 1800 RESPECT for confidential support and advice.