Being a parent changes you in many ways. It requires a great deal of sacrifice, and your desires may often have to take a back seat for a moment. Unfortunately, these new responsibilities can put a lot of strain on your relationship. In this article, we take a look at how your family dynamic changes after having children and what you can do to smooth things along.
1. House Chores Double
Initially, the workload between a couple is never that much. Sure, there is still laundry, dishes, and vacuuming to be done, but you get by. One spouse can manage to do most of the work or you can share responsibilities equally. But the instant you get your first child, the workload doubles. You have to feed the baby, wash the baby, while still maintaining household duties such as laundry and cooking for the family. You will need all hands on deck to survive. Feelings of resentment can begin to creep in when one person feels that they are doing a majority of the world. The solution here is open communication. Let the other person know you need help.
2. Money Matters More
Proper money management not only reduces stress, it gives your kids a foundation for future financial success. Unfortunately, money is a thorny issue in most homes. A survey by the American Psychological Association revealed that 36% of Americans are uncomfortable talking about money. Having children requires a lot of sacrifices. For women, those shopping sprees will have to stop. For guys, forget about those expensive toys. Even in double-income families, one spouse may have to stay home for a while leaving only one income. Accept the situation and trim the fats where possible, and you will be okay.
3. Date Night Becomes Family Night
The transition from just the two of you to three or four is not always smooth and can be difficult. The baby usually becomes the center of attention while your partner might feel forgotten or left out. Spending time with the children does count but you will still need a break from parenting and time to go on a hot date with your spouse. Take these opportunities to talk about stuff other than your children. It can be serious topics such as what their goals and dreams are in the upcoming years or something more casual lighthearted like reading each other’s love horoscope. Any topic that can help you relax is fair game.
4. Grandparents Want Time with The Baby
Dealing with grandparents can be a divisive issue. When you have children, both of your parents will demand time with their grandkids. Some grandparents may request more than you can offer. It is a common issue if they live nearby. This unannounced pop-in can be disruptive and cause issues between couples. The best way to deal with it is to set clear boundaries in the beginning. Set aside days when the kids can visit their grandparents. It is not a bad idea to keep to a schedule for these types of visits. Take the opportunity to spend time with each other.
5. Different Parenting Styles
After having children, you might discover that the only thing you have in common is love for children. Most people borrow parenting styles from their parents. One parent may favor being the “fun-parent” over being the disciplinarian. These differences only add to the tension already in the home. Something like sleep training can become a big issue. While one of you wants to let the baby learn to fall asleep on their own, the other may not be able to bear the crying. One parent will end up feeling undermined. The solution is to compromise when possible. When in doubt, seek advice from a pediatrician.
Family is a Gift
Despite the slips and falls along the way, having a family is truly one of life’s greatest joys. It might be a little challenging at first, but you will eventually get the hang of it. The trick is to talk openly about all your problems and find solutions. Fights and disagreements will happen, and that’s okay. Just remember to apologize and never let the argument get out of hand. More importantly, learn from your mistakes.