Parenting is tough, and it affects us in many more ways than we realize. It's not just about changing diapers, feeding times, and somehow getting enough sleep. It's also about somehow keeping our sanity and our relationships with our partners strong. Now, while you may have figured out by now how to swaddle burp, feed, and change your baby, nothing could have prepared you for this drastic change in your once two-person relationship.
Most couples will face problems after having a baby. Some will face maybe one or two problems, while some will face many. Whichever end you're on, keep reading to learn about some of the most common relationship problems that arise after having a baby, and how to solve them!
How Your Relationship Will Change After Having a Baby
If this isn't your first child, this isn't your first rodeo, you know the drill. As soon as baby comes home, all eyes are on them. For everyone else, keep reading.
While the first few weeks may seem daunting, just know that it will get better. And while things may not go back to how they were before (because you have a little human to care for now), things can change for the better with some intentional time and a bit of scheduling!
Problem: Parenting Is Hard
Let's be honest, having a baby is no walk in the park. If this is a season you have never walked through before, you may have purchased every guide to being a new parent you could get your hands on, streamed all the podcasts, watched all the YouTube parenting videos, but you're here now.
The time has come, you are strapping your baby into their car seat for the very first time, and subconsciously you are running through all of the scenarios in which you may not make it home safely! WHOA! Pump the breaks!
Take a deep breath, you are not going to have all of the answers all at once, but we can guarantee that there are ways to make this journey a little easier. Asking for help is one of those things.
If those closest to you have offered to help, take them up on that offer! Desperately need a quick break? Call one of them up and ask if they can babysit for an hour. You are not a burden, don't let those silly lies that run through your head derail those tender first moments spent with your perfect angel.
You are both going to realize very fast that you can not do this alone, so eat your pride and facetime your mom. There's no such thing as a dumb question as a new parent.
Problem: You Don't Have Time for Yourself Anymore
A common problem that many new parents struggle how to navigate is finding time for themselves with a new baby. When there is always a constant need to be met, exhausted couples oftentimes lose that spark solely because they don't have time to rest for themselves.
Think smarter, not harder! Look for opportunities where you can create rest for yourself in your relationship. Parenthood, just like a relationship, requires some give and take. Ask your partner if they are able to watch the baby in the afternoon so you can maybe go get a massage, and you will watch them the next day so they can go golfing.
Time apart helps a couple grow their foundation stronger. Making those types of small sacrifices for the other person to find rest is always an attractive trait. And while they may not even leave the house on their night off, working together to make sure you both are taken care of is important for any new parents to practice.
Problem: You Don't Have Time for Anything Anymore
WOW, you just realized that the house looks very well lived in, and washing dishes has never been so difficult to keep up with all of your life. The house may even have the faint smell of dirty diapers these days.
Now, while many people miss the newborn baby stage years down the road, almost all parents can agree, chores are the last thing you want to worry about with a newborn baby on your hands.
This nifty tip is a lifesaver. Release the idea that your home will be Instagram feed worthy for the next few months and ease into this new role as parents.
Try scheduling chores instead of feeling like you have to use nap time as your Tasmanian Devil tornado clean up time. Choose one chore a night for each person. (E.g. "You do the dishes, and I will throw away the trash on Monday night after we put the baby down.") And then if you're a professional scheduler, leave one night open for a simple date night to reconnect and touch base on how your weeks are going, and how you are both doing. Your relationship will thank you!
Problem: The Stress Is Building up
The learning curve is tight when becoming a new parent. It's easy to lose sight of how far you've already come. From being non-parents to caring for another human being, the birthing of your baby (or possibly the adoption process), to setting up the car seat correctly (the third time you tried, but who's counting?), becoming a parent is stressful. Or maybe your family, that you love so much, is hurting more than they said they'd help.
Don't lose that positive perspective, you can do hard things!
Spend time researching actives that you can all do together as a family. Start small. Maybe this is an outing to your local Target, or taking a walk in the park where baby cries won't bother fellow Target shoppers. Take time as you are adjusting to this new rhythm, and move at your own pace!
If you both feel safest and the most at peace at home with your little baby, then stay home. If you are ready to take your baby on their first outing hours after you bring them home, then do what you need to do and roll with the punches.
Listen to your gut. Don't allow negative people to steal that "new-parent" joy. And remember that your baby gets to experience this world for the first time along you. You are their world.
Problem: Where Did All the Money Go?
The baby shower was nice and all, but how can a baby go through 6 pairs of clothes in a day? They are a baby for crying out loud! There are never enough socks, onesies, diapers, or baby wipes in the house.
If you or your partner has gotten the calculator out over the last nine months, you know how quickly this spiral can go from both of you happily staring at the ultrasound, to getting into an argument about refinancing the house.
Money may be tight as new parents, but there are so many budget-saving hacks other parents have already discovered for you! From buy and trade groups, checking with friends for hand-me-downs, to making your own baby food, there are some genius ideas scattered all over the internet to help you and your partner navigate this new season on your finances!
Problem: Feeling Neglected After Having a Baby
With a new bundle of joy stealing the limelight because they are so dang cute, many couples start feeling like their partners are neglecting them. It's unfortunately easy to get to this point due to the seemingly endless list of things that need to get done.
Maintaining the strength of your relationship may feel impossible with this new and fragile little responsibility in your lives. But having regular check-ins are an easy way to show love to your partner while exerting minimal effort (because we know energy is hard to come by these days).
This could look like a text while you're at work and they're at home with the baby, letting them know you're thinking of them, and offer to bring home whatever they are craving for dinner. Put a positive note in their lunch. Call them just to tell them you love them. Or order pizza delivery after the baby goes to bed that the two of you can chow down on before cuddling up for bed.
Making a small effort is easier than making a large one, so choose one small thing to tell your partner that you love them today, and fall back in love just one text at a time.
Problem: You're Not Having Sex Anymore
We will keep this brief. Intimacy with your partner, in any way, shape, or form might be a terrifying thought after having a baby. Or maybe energy is just not there anymore to have that type of fun with your partner. We know we've said this a lot in this post so far, but we'll say it again: It's perfectly normal!
It's completely normal to not be as active as you were before you had your baby. But there are other fun options for the both of you after hours to feel closer together once you are both ready.
Make sure you are being open and honest with your partner on your fears, reservations, and explain yourself. If you are the one saying no, always offer a "why" to your decision. Dismissing the other when requesting intimacy without proper reasoning can cause long term damage to the integrity and strength of your relationship. Even just something as simple as, "I have work early in the morning" can be the difference between feeling unattractive or growing together.
If you are the one being told "no", remember to have patience, this season is a big change for the both of you, and it's okay to opt for the real Netflix and chill for a while if that is beneficial for the both of you!
Another great tip for solving the issue of less frequent sex is to schedule it. Yes, we know, it sounds funny. But scheduling some time and making sure it happens can have a drastic benefit on your relationship.
Problem: No Energy
Date night is out the window, you do not have the energy you used to have. Between keeping the baby happy and other everyday tasks. Don't get discouraged by this shift in energy!
Once you're ready, ask friends or family if they can step in to give you a break. We know that leaving the baby with others is a big and scary step in the parenthood journey, so finding people you trust to watch your beautiful baby may be even harder than you once thought. But once you are able to spend some one-on-one time, alone, with no mid-date diaper changes, it will change the way you look at your parenthood journey.
It is important for the two people raising the baby to also be well taken care of, and a little rest and relaxation may be just what the doctor ordered. Start small, ask someone to watch the baby for a few hours, and work yourselves up to the full weekend with grandma and grandpa. Try and schedule a weekend away, with just the two of you, every year to have something to look forward to!
Remember: One of the best things you can do as a parent is have a healthy relationship with your partner. This will make your baby's life a lot happier.
Problem: Lacking Patience for Yourselves
Every moment you fail as a new parent, you are also learning something new. There is not a new parent in the world that did everything right the first time around.
Have some grace for yourselves during this transition time. You may have planned everything down to the final detail, and none of it may come to fruition. Just take this parenthood thing one step at a time, and remember tomorrow is a new day.
You are stronger together, so support the other person if they are struggling. Pick up the slack when they can't. Be there for the other like you never have before, and you will make it through this in one piece!
Walking into parenthood is easier when you and your partner are on the same page. Be sure to keep healthy lines of communication open so you can both lean on one another consistently during this beautiful new season of raising your new family member!