My partner and I learned the hard way that when you have a baby, you have to protect your relationship. After adopting our baby girl nearly two years ago, and then taking in several foster kids and experiencing numerous failed adoptions, we realized first hand that taking care of your relationship should be priority number one when you're a new parent. Of course, that's often easier said than done, which is why it's worth taking note of all thew ways happy couples protect their relationships after having a baby. Look, the bottom line? No one automatically knows how to be a good partner and a good parent simultaneously, but you can learn from the trials and tribulations of others. And while different things work in different relationships, it doesn't hurt to take a look around, see what's benefitting other couples, and try out a few things in your own relationship.
In the first six months we were parents, my partner and I didn't go out together alone. No, not even once. So a word to the wise? Don't do that. In our case, it was because our daughter was technically in foster care for six months and needed a specially background-checked babysitter in order for us to leave. But if I'm being honest, that was also sort of the excuse. After just a few weeks as the only people in charge of our daughter, it was really easy to think we were the only ones who could take care of her.
New parents, learn from my mistakes. Don't feel as though your world needs to revolve around the new addition to your family. Take a moment to realize that your relationship was the foundation for your family, and without a foundation most houses crumble. So I say it's worth paying attention to the following so you can take concrete steps toward protecting your relationship post-kids.
They Take Time Apart
When you have a new baby, it's not just about protecting your relationship with your partner, it's also about protecting some of your most important relationships with your friends and family. Not because your friends and family won't wait for you to get back on your feet after you have a baby (because the real ones will) but because you need your friends and family to help you walk through the experience of having a new baby.
Taking time away from your partner to nourish your relationships with your friends and family members is just as important as focusing on your romantic relationship.
They Sacrifice For One Another
When we had a new baby, the biggest gifts my partner and I could give each other involved stepping up so the other could step away. We have a 3-week-old baby at home right now, and when my husband got up this morning with both kids so I could sleep for more than 90 minutes straight, it wasn't lost on me that he was sacrificing for me on my behalf. I couldn't thank him enough for it.
They Prioritize Time Together
Obviously, protecting the relationship my partner and I share together is top of the list with a new baby at home. That means prioritizing time together early and often. I learned the hard way that putting it off only makes it harder later.
They Spend Time Alone
Time spent entirely alone is is crucial to appreciating your relationship with your partner. The single best thing I did for my relationship was take an hour every day to leave the house for a walk or a workout or a browse around a local shop. I needed a break from being someone's wife and someone else's mom, and when I have the chance to just be me, my relationship (and my children) benefit.
They Surprise One Another
My daughter was 3-weeks-old when my partner's birthday came around. It was the first occasion we had to celebrate after her surprise birth, and we had barely gotten our heads around her arrival let alone had brain space for surprises. But that said, surprises are a great way to let the other person know you've been thinking of them even during a really hectic time.
They Make Time For A Date Night
It's cliché and annoying and sometimes not easy to organize, but once you get out of the house with the babysitter or grandma in charge, you get to revisit that time you were just the two of you. Even if you do spend 98 percent of the time talking about your adorable baby, at least you're actually looking at one another when you're doing it.
They Find Someone To Vent To
Sometimes to protect your relationship with your partner, you need to have someone else to vent to instead of constantly unloading on your partner about how many messes you cleaned up in a 24 hour period, or how many times you had baby food spit in your face. Having another person, like a mom friend, who you can have some of those conversations with you helps give you a little space with your partner to talk about something else.
They Enjoy Sexy Time
I'm an adoptive mom, so I can't exactly claim to have jumped back into the saddle after giving birth right away, but I know that actually having sex with my partner did help bring us back together, no matter how tired I was at the end of the day.
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