Every parent knows that once you’ve crossed that threshold into parenthood, that nothing will ever be as it was before and it can be challenging. Couples often think that having a baby will bring them closer together, but it can be quite the opposite. Couples enter this phase of their lives with big expectations but are often left with big let downs. New parents often arrive at the counselor’s office blaming the issues they have on parenthood, but it soon becomes apparent that the complaining, bickering and blaming one another is not because of the kids but due to underlying issues that may have been lingering for a long time. In fact, parenthood can test your marriage to a whole other level. But how can you keep your relationship strong even after having kids?
- Divide household and parenting tasks fairly
One of the biggest issues that couples face is that the one person is always contributing more than the other. Both parents should be pulling a fair share of the weight. It often happens that a critical partner unconsciously discouraging the other partner from stepping to the plate and assisting because they’re often berated for not doing things in a specific way. If it is your partner’s turn for cooking supper, leave them be to do it in the way they best see fit.
- Showing appreciation for each other
Between raising kids, working and keeping the household running smoothly, life can become somewhat hectic. Showing appreciation for each other can go a long way in building a strong relationship. No-one likes to feel underappreciated. Compliment each other. You can consider making statements like “Thanks for being such a great Dad to the kids and what a lovely surprise to get home from work and you’ve already got dinner sorted”. Even a simple thank you every now and again can make all the difference.
- Seek counselling
It happens too often that couples feel embarrassed or are in denial about the seriousness of their issues and fail to seek counseling until it is too late, and their last resort is divorce. Instead, if you’ve pursued counseling early on and worked on your issues and get your relationship back on track. You can visit Regain.us for more relationship advice and information on counseling services.
- Accepting your parenting differences
No two parents will do thing precisely in the same way. Accept your differences and understand that it is better to have understanding for them as opposed to fighting about them all the time and end up hurting your relationship. Try to find a middle ground and pick your battles. It’s not a healthy environment for children to be around parents when they are constantly bickering and fighting about everything.
- Keeping the romance flame alive
Parents often get so busy with dealing with everyday stress at work, home life and raising children, it is easy to let romance take the back seat and forget why you fell in love with that person in the first place. Keep reminding yourself, invest in your relationship. Work on keeping the romance alive. Make time for each other by doing things like going on date nights, sending each other a text with words of appreciation and love or initiating sex by wearing sexy lingerie. Romantic connection is established with a flow of oxytocin also referred to as the love hormone which is the glue that keeps your relationship bond strong.
- Advocating for policy change
One of the most predominant hurdles to our overall well-being and happiness is the restriction on our finances and time. Family-friendly policies at the workplace and through government social campaigns can make it easier to have healthier relationships. Longer maternity, family and paternity leave times, flexible work hours, paid childcare, higher minimum wages and better health plans can help with improving the barriers or burdens that is preventing us from spending more quality time with our families. When we exert political pressure, it can help with making things better.
- Lightening up and laughing more
Life can be tough and stressful, especially when raising kids. Lighten up a bit more and laugh about the silliness that only parenthood can bring forth. Try to see the humor in some situations, the projectile urine of your little baby boy on your night shirt or the bum cream smeared all over the walls. Laugh about your toddler’s antics and funny sayings. Give your partner a kiss and a hug every morning and say to each other: “We are better as a team. We got this”.