Marriage and babies. Or rather, what happened to our marriage after baby.
If I had to give any couple advice on what to do to protect their marriage after baby it would go something like this:
- Give each other a break
- Don’t judge any fights in the first 6-12 months as anything other than just that – a fight
- Let more things go than you usually would
- Remember that parenting is kind of like finger prints, no same style is the same
- Just because your parenting style is different than your partner’s, doesn’t mean that either one of them is wrong
- Give each other time to do things on your own – weather it’s to hit a bucket of balls or sneak out for a few hours for drinks with friends
- Regarding above, it doesn’t count if you start tallying who got more of a break
- Don’t forget that there is another person in your relationship and s/he wants to do more than just talk about poop or just how cute the baby is…remember when you used to think s/he was cute too?
Marriage in itself isn’t easy. Marriage when you add a third (or more) wheel to it is even harder.
The thing that I think shocked me the most was just how in love I was with the baby. I’m sure that you all think, well duh. But seriously. I had eyes for her and only her. The guy that I spent the previous 3-4 years being head over heels in love with became second tier. Now don’t get me wrong, I still loved him. In fact, I loved him even more for sharing in this experience and for becoming a father. But he didn’t depend on me for his life and so, naturally, his needs came second to the baby’s. And so, my love affair with the baby began.
It started off innocent enough. The baby needed things and so I tended to her needs. I became overprotective, anticipating every cry (I’m sure the anxiety had a lot to do with it). It seemed that no one could do for her what I could do. At least not “right.”
Mariage took a backseat. At first, almost unnoticeably. We were struggling to maintain the lifestyle we were used to (a clean house, long work hours, being with our friends, seeing family) while adjusting to being parents. Parenthood wasn’t hard for either one of us, but keeping up with our lives, marriage and adding this new role to the mix was. As time went on and we adjusted, putting our marriage on the back burner became…routine. We were used to this new way of life – the one where our world revolved around this tiny creature who we’ve known shorter than one another, yet allowed to completely consume us.
It wasn’t until Peanut became more self sufficient that we realized what we were doing.
This is where I am thankful for my marriage and my partner in crime. We talked it over and both promised to make a bigger effort to put our marriage first again. And although I can’t say that things are the same as they were before the baby (nor could they be), I can safely say that I’m happy. I’m happy with my marriage, with the person I chose to spend the rest of my life with, with the guy I chose to father my children. It’s not perfect, but it makes me happy.
As for baby #2…well, I’d like to think that we’ve learned a thing or two.
- Get sitter more often
- Give each other a couple hours to do our own thing at least once every couple of weeks
- Take advantage of the fact that the baby doesn’t move around the first 6 or so months and sleeps a lot to sneak in “dates” without getting a sitter
- When back at work, take random days off while the kids are in daycare and spend the day together…even if it’s just to run errands or see a movie
- It’s ok for the marriage to take a back seat for the first few months…as long as we both remember that it’ll take a little effort to kick start it afterwards