There's no doubt having a child changes a relationship. If there are any major problems to start with, the addition of such a massive responsibility, daily chores, and sleep deprivation could well tear you apart. Conversely, if you have a strong relationship, becoming parents may well test your bond, but can also make it even stronger. In fact, I found the toddler years actually made me feel closer to my partner.
My husband and I had been married for eight years before we had our son. In many ways we had become set in our ways and had our child-free routines down. We both had really busy social lives, too. For example, I was into dragon boating and practiced and paddled several times a week, on top of going to dance class. We still slept in until around noon on the weekends and would go away for the weekend spontaneously and with a moment's notice.
However, now that life has changed so much since we became parents, I have actually found that having our son has made our lives even richer and more fulfilled. Despite all the stressful parts of parenting (especially during those toddler years when tantrums are a-plenty) it has brought us closer together in the following ways:
Because Toddlers Are Hilarious
On a daily basis, our toddler says or does a number of hilarious things that makes us shake our heads and exchange strange looks and little smirks. Later in bed, we recount our favorite nonsense from the land of '"Toddler" and have a good laugh.
Because Toddlers Are Ridiculous
Even when our little one is being difficult, it's usually for such a ridiculous reason like when we won't let him play with something dangerous or because we gave him the wrong snack (which happened to be the exact snack he asked us for).
The only suitable reaction to this sort of behavior is solidarity. We're in this mess together and as it is utterly absurd we just have to laugh, together.
Because We Are A Team
At this point, we only have one child and so the adults still out number the little ones. When things get tough, we lean on each other and take turns, so we have a day off and enjoy a little self care time. Then, when we need to lay down the law, we rotate between playing good cop/bad cop.
Because This Is Still Hard
Raising a toddler is easier than looking after a baby in many ways. They are usually sleeping better, are becoming more independent, and you are starting to get a better handle on this whole parenting role. But, damn, sometimes it's still so hard!
Having someone to commiserate with when you have had a really tough parenting day deepens the bond you share with your partner.
Because We Have More Alone Time Now
Our toddler finally sleeps through the night, and we feel comfortable leaving him with the grandparents overnight, so we are starting to get back a little independence with often leads to romance. Bow chicka wow wow.
Because We Made This Amazing Little Person
When our son does something cool, or says something cute, we love sharing our joint parental pride. We made this little guy and he is so awesome as he learns new skills and delights us with songs and made up stories. Those moments make us remember why we wanted a child together in the first place.
Because We Are A Family
When you first have a child, it can feel like you are a couple who happen to have a baby. However, once your child gets a bit older, all of a sudden you realize you are a family. A real family.
That makes me feel closer to my partner than ever before.