Maintaining a marriage post-baby takes a lot of time and energy, exactly what you’ve got the least of right now.
Bringing a newborn home is a joyous, stressful, life-changing event—so it’s no surprise that many couples find themselves running into relationship problems and arguing after having a baby. And if you find yourself in that boat, you’re definitely not alone. Here’s a roundup of some of the ways marriage changes after baby, and what you can do to keep your relationship strong.
Domestic Duties Double, and So Does Your Bickering
There was still laundry, dishes, and other loathsome household tasks before there was a baby. But there were never so many things that had to be done so quickly. You can’t procrastinate on chores once you have an infant. And now you and your partner both feel like the other’s not pulling their share of the load.
Also, make it a habit to thank your partner after they’ve completed a task. Acknowledgment and gratitude may make your partner more receptive to future requests.
Couple Time Is Now Family Time
You’re always together but no longer alone. Whether you’ve been together for years or just met and wanted to have a baby quickly, jumping from a grownup twosome to a family is challenging.
The solution here is that you need to schedule time together. But besides dates, plan brief meetings where you can bring up household and baby-care issues such as an upcoming doctor’s appointment or which stroller to buy.
You love your baby more than your partner
It goes without saying that you love your baby more than anything—and to some extent, that may include your partner. But you may not have predicted that, at least for a little while, you would practically forget that your partner exists.
The solution to this is- Try not to let it get in between you. Remember, you’re both crazy about baby, and there’s no reason either of you should hurt each other’s feelings because of it—if anything, use your shared love for baby to grow even closer.
Greater responsibilities and stress
Yes, there will be ups and downs, but something about having created a life together—and taking care of that life as a team—will bond you two in a whole new way. You may run into some bumps in the road, but you’ll also likely look at your partner singing to baby in the middle of the night, or teaching her to play patty-cake, and fall in love with them all over again. Think of early parenthood as boot camp. If you guys can make it through this, you’ll be prepared to make it through almost anything.
There’s no such thing as downtime or lazy hours
The time you used to have for each other, where you would lie on the couch with your husband for two hours at night, is gone. Now that time is spent cleaning up, prepping things for the next day and a lot more activities lined up to do.
How to deal with this? You’ve got to challenge yourselves to bond while emptying the diaper pail and cleaning mashed sweet potatoes out of the high chair’s crevices. Not sexy, but if you think about it, it’s kind of sweet that you two are in this together.