Written by Jana Angeles
Gone are the days where you’re young and in love, thriving off weekly movie dates and snuggling up in bed while the morning unfolds. The dynamics of marriage or a relationship changes after having a baby and the first year of becoming parents is one of the toughest to get through. You may begin to feel like you loathe your partner or spouse right to the core; everything that they do annoys you but the last thing you want to do is feel like you’re resenting them for everything so what do you do?
There’s so much that happens after having a baby and this really puts relationships to the test. What you go through in your first year really determines how you will survive the journey of parenthood. Though your relationship feels like it has lost the initial spark where everything was romantic and exciting, it’s time to officially work together and make sure you balance each other out, making your lives easier for the both of you.
Share the workload when it comes to household chores
- This may be a given but sharing household chores will do wonders on the dynamics of your family and lifestyle. Working together and getting things done while taking care of the baby can be really beneficial and will also lay off any surfacing arguments you could potentially have together.
- One way to do this is by creating a list of things to be done and assigning the tasks to each person. After a week, swap these tasks so in that way, you can call yourselves even when sharing the workload.
- Don’t be afraid when it comes to asking for help when you really need it. It’s best to ask rather than keep to ourselves and resenting our partners for being unhelpful and not taking initiative.
- Avoid having expectations on what you should and shouldn’t do. Be fair when it comes to assigning each other tasks. This will make the transition of taking care of a baby and doing household chores a lot easier.
Manage your finances early
- Surviving on a one-person wage is a struggle so the best way to go about it is to plan early. Even with maternity leave, some work policies don’t really give great allowances and most times, you’ll be receiving much lower pay for the time off you’ll be receiving.
- Be sure to set up an emergency fund just incase anything happens. Having a safety net of income can be really beneficial especially when it comes to unexpected costs. Prior to giving birth (maybe six months beforehand), try and see if you can live off a one-person’s salary while you’re both still working and put the other paycheck into a savings account (preferably one with a high interest rate) so in that way, you’ll be even more prepared for your baby to enter the world.
- If you feel like you’re headed for financial strain, talk to each other and communicate properly on how you can improve things. Remember you’re in this together!
Understand each other’s parenting styles
- Dad may be laid-back, you on the other hand are not. This can drive you up the wall if you consider yourself someone that likes to take direction and wants to keep things organised. While having an overly-relaxed partner may be a good thing, you may disapprove of their parenting style. Talk to each other about your unique parenting styles and set up some boundaries you can both take from each other. The last thing you want is to yell each other for handling things in a different way.
- Read articles, watch informative videos and borrow/purchase parenting advice books and gain some knowledge on the styles of parenting. Knowledge is key to any relationship but then again, you’d be lying if you didn’t admit you were winging it. Sometimes seeking the advice of third-party resources is where you can both draw a line and try agree on some of the things you do while being parents.
Schedule a specific time when grandparents can come over
- Whether we’d like to admit it or not, our in-laws can drive us mad. Grandparents (from both sides) may feel like they can come over at anytime just to take care a few things and help us out. Sometimes,it can feel overbearing and draining to be around them, especially when they constantly want to visit the baby. Don’t feel obliged to always have them over, no matter how generous they’ve been pre to post-pregnancy. It’s not a priority for them to visit all the time especially when they come over and the house is a mess. Be firm and tell them politely that due to overtiredness, you’d appreciate not having them over just yet. Instead schedule a time where they can come over so at least in that way, you’ll have time to tidy up and look presentable.
- There’s a thing where for some weird reason, the daughter-in-law can’t be taken seriously by her husband’s parents. If you feel like you’ll appear cold and heartless when announcing to your baby’s grandparents they cannot come over as they please, let your partner break the news to them. It’ll save them the drama of blaming you for creating an unwelcoming presence to the household. It’s a bonus if they’re totally understandable because in all honesty, raising a child is like running a marathon; you cannot stop.
Organise some couple time and alone time!
- Having a date night is important. Organise a sitter to look after your child and have some time to yourselves. Go watch a movie, go and eat at a fine dining restaurant or have a picnic outside the nearby park. No matter what, it’s crucial to separate your couple hangouts from your child. Being together with your child isn’t couple time; that’s family time.
- Allowing your partner to have some alone time is just as important too. Whether it’d be a jog around the block, hanging out with their mates or just having a solitary trip somewhere, give them that freedom where they can just have some time to themselves. Giving them the chance to have that time can really highlight all the positives within your relationship and can also lessen the fights because you’ve allowed them to recharge the batteries. YOU also need time alone. Have an R&R with your girlfriends (spa, getting your nails done etc), read a book at your local library or take yourself out to lunch. The possibilities are endless!
- When both of you feel like getting intimate (the amount of times you have sex decreases when you have a child), make sure your baby isn’t in the room and remove all toys and things that may ruin the mood. As silly as it sounds, planning when you have sex can really do wonders to your relationship and you’ll both appreciate spending the quality time together.
Whoever said marriage or relationships is a walk in the park don’t know what they’re talking about. How you function as a couple, especially after having a child, really determines how you survive through the challenges that may come up in the future. Always remember that communication is key and that allowing yourselves to have that bit of compromise can help that transition of being new parents a lot easier.