Adjusting Your Marriage After a Baby
This month, my husband and I are going to be celebrating 6 years of being together! But honestly it feels like it was only yesterday when we went out for the first time to get FroYo. A lot has happened since then. We got engaged on our second anniversary and then married the year after. Fast forward to our sixth anniversary and we now have a 22-month-old son that makes our world a lot fuller. When we welcomed our little one into our lives we were only 1 year into our marriage. Some may question whether or not we had enough “solo time” before we welcomed life into this world, to which we both reply, “Yes, we did!” I believe it’s all about being content. We embraced all the changes in our relationship and I think the more open one is to going with the flow, the easier it is to be successful as a spouse and parent. I would like to share with you some of the things that my husband and I had to adjust when we became parents.
- Sleep – I think this is the first thing on every parent’s list. Before the baby, my husband and I would stay up until midnight to catch up on our shows. We would wake up a couple of hours before work and not feel like time was against us. Our first 2 months with our little one was pretty brutal, given that I had to wake up every 2 hours to feed him. One thing I have to say about this is that it gets better. The most important thing is to share tasks and responsibilities. There is no elbowing each other in the middle of the night to go get the baby, my husband feeds him while I pump. Fortunately, he is great when it comes to doing things for our boy. I know a lot of men are adamant about not taking care of the kid(s) because society thinks it’s the mom’s job to do everything - not in our household! Working together during the hardest part of parenthood made us appreciate each other even more and made our transition into parenthood even smoother.
- Going Out with Friends – It used to be easy for us to say “yes” to our friends’ invitations to go out at night. We sometimes give in to give ourselves a break, but most of the time if it’s past 9PM we decline. Our refusal to go out with friends after a certain time is something that happened in our relationship only after having a son; however, I am confident that these changes were not negative as we turned our bar nights into game nights at home. Our values changed after having a son which allowed us to mature and find fun in different places.
- Date Nights – Prior to having our son, dinner would be our date night of choice. Back then, it was easy for us to decide if we were eating out for dinner or cooking at home. Now, since we want our boy to grow up used to the 'dinner at home with family' setup, we make the conscious decision to mainly cook our meals. However, we do eat out on weekends with him, with the only limitation being no sitting at the bar. When we do want some alone time, we are fortunate to be able to leave him at home with my mom.
- Trips – My husband used to think that I over-pack for our weekend trips. Now, he is in utter disbelief with how much stuff we have to bring when we go on trips with our son. Deciding where to go is also a challenge. A perfect example of this is our 6th year anniversary trip, where we spent days trying to decide where to go because we were bringing our baby with us. What activities can we do there? Should we rent a car? Are we bringing the stroller? So many things to consider! We’ve always wanted to go to New Orleans or Las Vegas but since those places are better enjoyed when you stay out until late, we ended up deciding on Florida. It was more relaxed, and we could go to the beach. We had a wonderful time!
- Jobs – I think this is the biggest change that we chose to make. My husband and I met when we were both working in the kitchen. We are both in the food industry, so the hours are rough. As a Chef, I had to be at the restaurant from 9AM to 10PM - sometimes until midnight on weekends – 5 to 6 days every week! The situation was worsened by the fact that my husband had the same schedule. So, after our little one was born, we knew that it was not going to work out for our family. We could hardly spend time with him and we were just way too exhausted to take care of him when we got home. We decided to make a change in our careers and I have to say, having a morning job and getting off on the weekends is so much better! Not only as parents, but for my husband and I too. It’s easier for us to plan date nights and spend lots of alone time together.
Although our lives have changed a lot, our relationship is much deeper now and our marriage has become a big adventure that we appreciate more and more each day. The changes that we embraced are all for the best, and I noticed that it not only makes us better partners for each other but better individuals as well. It’s all about being disciplined and supportive and functioning as a team. When we are on the same page, we are able to avoid arguments and strengthen our foundation as a married couple.