It’s no secret that marriage after a new baby can be hard. Combine raging hormones, lack of sleep, and a new little person who requires constant time and attention and it’s no wonder that marriage sometimes suffers. All hope is not lost though. If you’re preparing for a new baby in the house and you want to give your marriage a little boost, check out these 5 tips I’ve assembled to help strengthen your relationship.
1. Communication is King
Communication between partners is always important for a marriage to succeed but, during stressful times (and believe me, having a new baby is stressful), it’s even more important to keep the lines of communication open. For Zach and I, this meant still making time to talk to each other about our days and putting a priority on telling each other our needs. Remember, your partner can’t read your mind!
Since a baby will take up a lot of your time, the old ways of communicating might now be interrupted by diaper changes, feedings, or just plain old exhaustion. Find new ways to show your love to each other and talk about what both of you expect from each other in your roles as parents and as a couple.
2. Lower your expectations.
Full disclosure? I had really high expectations for life after baby. I expected to quickly find my routine as a mom and settle into life with a baby without much disruption to our regular schedule.I put so much pressure on both Zach and myself to return to ‘normal’ right away. Boy, was I in for a surprise! In reality, life after baby will always look a little different than life before baby–and that’s ok!
For three to four months at least, learn to let go of your expectations and find joy in the little ways you and your spouse can connect and spend time together. No, you might not be eating a 5-star meal at an intimate restaurant but there are other ways to incorporate romance into your marriage. Check back on the blog soon for some fun at-home date ideas!
3. Parenthood is not a contest.
This is such an easy pitfall to make but it’s also a dangerous one. Even when you head into parenthood expecting to share your responsibilities equally, there will always be times when that balance is lopsided. I know, for me, I struggled with jealousy during those first few months after E was born. While for me, something as simple as taking the dog out had become an ordeal, Zach seemingly still had the same freedoms he had before Baby E entered our lives.
What you need to keep in mind is that it really doesn’t matter who changes the most diapers. Both parents have an equally important job to do–whether it be working to provide for the family or taking care of the daily needs of the new little one or both!
4. Make ‘Me Time’ a priority.
Self-care is so important, you guys. I had no idea how important until after having E. Both moms and dads can experience this but I think we as women have a tendency to lose ourselves in parenthood. However, when we don’t have time to recharge as individuals, all of our relationships suffer including our marriages. Talk to your spouse and carve out a time at least once a week when you can do something for you and your spouse is in charge of the little. Even if it’s just taking a nap-taking time to recharge your batteries will help you be a better mom and a better spouse.
5. Remember you are a team & embrace each other’s parenting styles.
I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard a mom say this to a dad: ‘You’re doing it wrong.” The looks on their faces made a lasting impression on me and I determined to let Zach forge his own path when it came to his parenting style. It can be hard to relinquish control when you feel the way you do things is the most efficient or better way of doing something for baby. But, it’s important to realize that just because your partner parents differently doesn’t mean their way is the wrong way. There’s more than one way to change a diaper, am I right? Plus watching your spouse learn to navigate parenthood is one of the most rewarding parts of being a team.
Which brings me to my next point. Always remember that you’re a team. And as a team, you both need to work towards strategies and solutions that will help you navigate new parenthood.
BONUS! Remember this is only a season!
Adding a new baby to your family can be a lot harder than you imagined but keep these five tips in mind and your marriage will be a lot better prepared for your little one.
IT’S YOUR TURN:
Have I forgotten anything? What tip would you add to this list to prepare your marriage for a new baby?