No one likes to make mistakes, much less admit when they've occurred. Yet sometimes acknowledging the underlying issues can be the only way to avoid damaging the relationships in their life. Parenthood only adds an additional layer of messy problems that contribute a new parent's overall stress level. Whether you're aware of it or not, there are plenty of common mistakes young moms that can sabotage their relationship. And, like with most slip-ups, they're typically unintentional and consequentially are harder to avoid repeating.
Young moms, more so than "average-aged" moms (if that's even a thing), are held to an entirely different set of standards by society based on the stereotypes that come with young age. Although everyone is taught not to judge a book by its cover, plenty of people still jump to inaccurate conclusions when they see a youthful mother.
Many of my friends would happily put themselves in the "young mom" category. Yet they've all told me it feels like they're constantly having to prove they're just as capable of being a responsible parent, regardless of age. Fighting an uphill battle with people's perceptions can understandably take a toll on a young mom and may lead to some of these commons mistakes that can sabotage their relationship.
1. You Withdraw When Worried
The common thread among my young mom friends is the fear of facing judgment from their own partners. (After all, they already get enough of it from everyone else.) Dr. Lisa Firestone, Director of Research and Education at The Glendon Association, told Psychology Today that, "people pull back the moment things get close." Young moms can sabotage their relationship by keeping their partner at arm's length to avoid painful situations. Firestone went on to say, "caring about another person deeply is a truly painful thing because it reminds us of time and loss."
2. Your Responsibilities Take Priority
Being a parent, partner, and person all at once can be overwhelming. It seems there's always a to-do list with items in urgent need of completion. Yet, putting all your energy into your responsibilities can take away from your relationship. Dave Elliot, a dating coach and expert, told The Huffington Post that a common way to sabotage things is to, "put other people or things ahead of your relationship. A relationship, like all living things, needs nurturing, care, and ongoing nourishment if you want it to not only survive, but thrive."
3. You Make Comparisons
Any mom can have issues with their self-esteem after their body has been changed by childbirth, but it can sometimes feel more devastating to a woman who's been told she's supposedly in the physical prime of her life. Chiara Atik, a relationship expert, told Cosmopolitan that making comparisons to your partner's exes, "will only set you off into a downward spiral of resentment and insecurity."
4. You Struggle With The Spotlight
Everyone loves a new baby, but it can be difficult when you feel your significant other cares more for your child than they do for you. According to Monika Hoyt, a licensed therapist and relationship coach, you can sabotage your relationship by arguing over attention because "you feel neglected when your partner doesn’t put you first."
5. Your Esteem Takes Control
Speaking from personal experience, I know that my self-confidence was at its lowest when I first became a mother because I was in such unfamiliar territory, physically and emotionally. Since I felt so low, I was constantly putting my relationship to the chance to make sure it would survive. Clinical psychologist, Dr. Suzanne Lachmann, told Psychology Today, "low self-esteem can make you test or sabotage relationships that have potential."
6. You Focus On Friendship
When you're a young parent, your SO can feel like your lone anchor in a sea full of uncertainty. And it's easy to get into a routine as parents that leaves little time for romance. According to the Couples Counseling Center of Chicago, letting your partner slip into friend status can sabotage your relationship because one or both of you have let the passion fizzle.
7. You've Fallen Into The Tech Trap
A close friend of mine, who is a young mother, noticed her relationship was beginning to suffer and she had no clue why. It wasn't until her toddler accidentally hid her phone and her partner made a joke about how she's always glued to it, that she realized that was the source of their distance. Young moms often like to stay socially connected through technology, but too much screen time can sabotage a relationship since it's not getting enough face-to-face time.