How to baby-proof your marriage

By Kimberly Moffit on January 29, 2013
As a relationship counsellor and expert, I’ve worked with hundreds of young couples who’ve romanticized the birth of their future son or daughter. Couples have stars in their eyes as they’re preparing for the new baby: decorating a nursery, buying the baby outfi ts that will make friends and family ooh and ahh. Then the baby makes her grand appearance. Chaos ensues. The lovey-dovey bonding experiences you had with your husband come to a screeching halt when your baby becomes a full-time part of your lives.

Instead of shopping trips and showers, you’re faced with dirty diapers, feeding times, and a sense of complete and utter exhaustion. Communication with your husband is reduced to a few words in passing during midnight feedings. And sex? Sex is a topic so far from your vocabulary you’ve forgotten what it means. Your finances are a mess, too. The nursery you fi nished decorating has put you into debt and the baby’s diapers and food are expensive. The situation is even more strenuous if you’re now living on one income.

All of this can lead couples to experience feelings of major frustration in the fi rst few years after birth. Though it’s normal, couples want to know what they can do to survive going from a couple to a family. Here are some tips for making the transition as seamless as possible.

Make a financial plan

Money is the number one culprit of anger and frustration within a marriage. Sit down and make a detailed financial analysis or allowance with your husband/partner to money you have for baby-related items, food, and extra items such as entertainment. Financial planning is also an excellent way to help you feel in control of your future.

Create a schedule

Most relationship conflict occurs when we expect something to happen and it doesn’t. Make a detailed schedule including feeding times, when the nanny or babysitter will come to visit, when it’s your turn for girls-night-out, when you and your partner will exercise and clean-up. This will make you feel secure and know what to expect. A day of sitting around in babyland can feel a lot more hopeful when you can look forward to an 8 p.m. workout or pottery class.

Remember your joys

As the baby’s mother, you need to be in good health and spirits. Your good physical and psychological health will have a positive impact on your child, so it’s important to remember to do the things you love in your life. If you enjoy art or painting, fi nd a corner to set up a home studio. If you love to sing, join a choir. If you love to travel, set up mini-trips for your family. Taking part in activities that allow you to feel joy will help you to be a better mother and partner.

Make time for intimacy and heart-to-hearts

The number one thing you need in your relationship is to communicate. It’s not all about the baby! What are your goals and dreams for the future? What do you love most about your partner or vice versa? Send your little one to his grandparents at least once a month so you can reconnect. It may seem extravagant and even selfish, but it’s not. Your marriage is important, too. Some couples find it hard to communicate and be intimate after children. If you’re having trouble, don’t be afraid to seek professional help.

Kimberly Moffit is a psychotherapist and relationship expert in Toronto. Visit kimberlymoffit.com for more information.

Originally published in ParentsCanada: Me & Mom, October 2012.

By Kimberly Moffit| January 29, 2013

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