Shortly after giving birth to my daughter, I found myself looking at my partner and thinking “why are you so bloody annoying?” I mean, this is the man I love, the man who changed my life, the man who I had just had a baby with.. and I wanted to kill him. (Dont worry he’s still alive & well – just to clarify)
But what I couldn’t understand was how I failed to realise that he didn’t know how to change a toilet roll, how to pick up after himself, how to do anything for himself really.. and what was more annoying was that he didn’t see that he was doing anything wrong and that it was me and my hormones.. um excuse me?
So anyway, the flat was a mess, we were a mess – everything was just a big mess.
Having a baby is exhausting, and I’m not talking about just the pregnancy or the Labour, I’m talking about sleep deprivation, anxiety, never ending nappy changes, the whole sha-bang!! Becoming a family is so exciting but at the same time, it can (and probably will) put a massive strain on the relationship that made you a family in the first place.
I’ll be honest with you, keeping a relationship going after having a baby takes alot of time and effort, which is something you’re probably lacking right now. However, if you work at it.. you’ll survive. I know that for me, I definitely felt like I was doing it all on my own, the housework, looking after our new baby, everything. I mean, yeah my partner worked 8am til 5pm and came home exhausted but after everything I had been doing throughout the day, I felt like he had it easy. He was able to walk out of the door when the baby was screaming and the flat was a mess and then return to a tidy home, baby sleeping and dinner on the table. Some days I didn’t speak to anybody all day apart from myself and my newborn baby.. I was driving myself insane.
But when you have a baby, your household chores double & so does your arguing – trust me. I felt really underappreciated and almost like I shouldn’t even bother, so I started to write a list on a scrap bit of paper every day, stick it on the fridge and cross them off once they were done. When Rob was home I started to write lists with names next to them (I know it sounds sad but trust me it works) For example, “I cook dinner, you wash up” or “You put some washing on & I’ll fold it” kind of thing. If you feel like you’re doing it all on your own, ask for help. Share the responsibilities and make it fair. One thing I have learnt is that hinting at your partner for them to do something – doesn’t always work. For some reason, men just don’t “get it”. Instead, ask them directly & then make a point of thanking them afterwards (I know it seems unfair because you never get a thank you but trust me, it’ll make them want to help you again).
When people say “make the most of your date nights now because you won’t have time for that once baby is here” they are not lying.. there might be 24 hours in a day but you spend your time doing so many other things that you forget to even speak to your partner sometimes. Your couple time is now family time, and your whole life revolves around your baby now. It does get easier, I must admit. But still 15 months later we don’t spend as much time together as we should.
My 5 top tips for surviving a relationship after having a baby are:
- Listen to each other
- Make time for each other
- Don’t blame each other
- Share the responsibilities
- Appreciate what you’ve got
Thanks for reading,
You may also like: 10 things I wish I knew about childbirth
*disclaimer – that photograph was taken when we were both 16 and care free, since then Robs cut all of his hair off & I’ve now got a mum tum.. oh and a toddler..