How to solve relationship problems after baby
Yesterday I highlighted the many different stresses that can contribute to an unhappy relationship/marriage after the birth of a baby. Today I’d like to give some pointers on how to rectify these challenges. Of course if your relationship was in trouble before the labour pains began then you may need a little more work than these few simple tips, however, if you were so in love you couldn’t bear to ever think of separating, and now all you do is bicker, then these pointers may just get you back to where you used to be.
1) Defined Roles – I mentioned that not having defined roles can cause friction in a relationship. Maybe the mother is at home, the husband at work, but he expects the house to be spick and span when he returns, maybe neither of you feel like the other is pulling their weight. Some days, looking after a baby is easy, others you may be pacing the floor for hours trying to expel that elusive burp! At the risk of turning into your mother, a rota system is needed here. A not so long discussion on who should be expected to do what and when. Also the worker needs to understand that gone are the days when they finished work, had a few pints and returned home to a take away and a night in front of the TV. With a new-born, there’s ALWAYS work to be done, and it needs to be shared 50/50.
2) Housework – The house won’t be ultra clean, boxer shorts won’t be ironed and cupboards won’t be as organised as they once were, but in the grand scheme of things, does it really matter? And if it bothers you that much, get a cleaner, (or sweet talk your mum).
3) Sex – Although you may not feel like it, you do have to give yourself a kick up the bum on this one. It may seem like so much hard work to muster the effort, but I do promise, once that effort is made, you will feel so much better, and so much more together. If you can try fitting it in earlier in the day when you’re both much less tired. You may not have hours to spare, but ten minutes will do you the world of good. If it is completely out of the question for whatever reason, make time to hold hands, cuddle, or even a stroke as you pass each other in the kitchen.
4) Family Relationships- Yes they change, and yes family and indeed friends will have lots and lots of advice on the right way to bring up a child. The trouble is, there is no right way. There may be plenty of handbooks, but no two couples are completely alike in their views on what is best for baby. Remember this, this is your child that you are bringing up your way and passing on your love, wisdom and morals to. Others are free to give advice, just like you are free to take it or leave it. In the world of mother in laws (as mentioned, my hubby bristles when my mum tells him he’s doing something wrong), stand firm together, support each other, your loyalty will reap the best rewards.
5) Sleep – Express Express Express. As soon as you can. Even just one night’s sleep a week will make you feel better, or even the thought of knowing that you could if you wanted to. Whether he’s working or not, the odd night won’t kill him, it hasn’t killed you!
6) Communication – So you don’t have time to have those lengthy chats anymore? Think again. How about when one’s cooking dinner? Baby will be happy on a shoulder being winded as you both unburden yourselves. Or even turning the TV off when baby finally goes to sleep at night? If you’re worried about being interrupted at a crucial moment, write a letter, send an email and make a promise to talk about it when you’re both home. The beauty of babies is, they have absolutely no idea what mummy and daddy are discussing. (Unless it’s an argument, save that for the garden).
7) Social Life – It may seem like you’ll never have a social life again, but this phase doesn’t last forever. Soon enough babies will be sitting up, eating solids and happy to spend the night at Grandmas and you’ll be happy to leave her. Just hang on in there, and if you can’t get out to party, invite the party to you!