Having a new baby can make a relationship even stronger because having an adorable bundle of joy to love brings you and your partner together. However, unless your relationship is tough enough to handle the pressure, the task of adjusting to a new family addition can chip away at your sanity and cause you to drift apart.
It happens to the best relationships: you and your partner used to be all about spending lazy weekend afternoons in your luxurious memory foam and king-size bed but once the baby comes it seems like you never get the chance to connect with each other anymore. A lot of couples expect their lives to change after becoming new parents but many are still floored by how drastic the changes could be. In today’s post, we discuss three common relationship pitfalls and what you could do to manage them a little bit better.
1. Not getting enough sleep. It’s expected to be tired and cranky when you have a new baby who need feeding every two hours but most parents don’t realize just how grueling it could be until they are right in the middle of the cycle. The ideal set-up of ‘sleeping when the baby sleeps’ is only possible when rookie parents have a hardworking support system to fall back on.
A support system can include an eager grandparent or aunt/uncle. It could be a very good friend whom you can trust to know which side of the diaper goes where. If all else fails, it could be a nanny or a babysitter. Whoever your support system is, make sure you let them help. New mothers, especially, seem to feel like they have to be on the game 24 hours a day and so they stretch themselves too thin. Your baby doesn’t need both of you to be awake for the 3am feeding; take turns. For dads whose partners are exclusively breastfeeding, give your support in other ways like getting dinner or playing and carrying the baby when he/she doesn’t need to feed.
2. Not being intimate. Okay, first of all, giving birth can really suck the sexy out of a relationship. Women who have gone through delivery has a lot of changes going on in their body and even mother nature has wired the female circuitry to subdue sexual urges during the first few weeks so that a woman can better focus on protecting her young. Yet, the baby should not be an excuse for not being intimate. Couples need to maintain some level of intimacy like hugging, kissing and cuddling just to reassure each other that there is still a physical connection. Remember, you need to invest in your partner now, more than ever because parenting is a much easier gig when mom and dad feel good about themselves.
3. Not playing as a team. After the new baby glow has worn off, the next thing on the agenda is settling down to the family life. And this is a very challenging task. For most couples, deciding who does what tends to be a constant source of conflict, especially since it really is impossible to divide responsibilities right down the middle.
The next best thing is to approach the division of labor will a lot of maturity and an eye for organization. And this is where the big questions come in; do you keep both your jobs and make arrangements for child care during the day or should one opt to stay at home? Spell out duties and responsibilities—assuming that one person will take over a chore just leads to misunderstandings and fights.
No matter how many children who already have, adjusting to a new addition to the family is bound to turn your world topsy-turvy for a while. But it does not have to be a negative transition—as long as realistic expectations and maintain your commitment to work together as a team.