I was asked the other day whether it was normal for couples, marriages or your relationship, whichever you want to choose, to be different after having a child. My response? COMPLETELY.
In fact, my actual response was “I would be surprised if it wasn’t different!”
The thing is, like most things that come with parenting and being a Mum or a Dad, nothing prepares you. I’ve likely used that phrase more times than is considered acceptable over various parenting related posts, but that’s only because it’s true.
Having a child changes everything. Like, EVERYTHING.
I can only speak from my experience. But in those first few months of being totally and utterly responsible for another human being, the husband and I argued more than ever. We used to argue before, as do most couples, but this was constant. We’d argue over who was most tired (I think this is pretty standard from what I can gather!). We’d argue over whose turn it was to tidy the kitchen, do the washing, clean the house, get up to the crying baby. If there was an occasion for conflict, we would normally find ourselves in the middle of it.
It does get easier. But I don’t think it ever really goes away. No two people can ever agree on everything. It’s near impossible. But I think what does change is your ability to reach a compromise.
The thing is. Before you have children, you have no idea what kind of parent you are going to be. You might think you have an idea. But until you’re in the thick of it, you have NO CLUE. If you’re lucky, you will both have the same ideas and views. You will both want to bring up and later discipline your kid in the same way. But I guarantee there will be something that you won’t completely see eye to eye with.
I think there is always the parent who is a softer touch. This is me in our relationship. I don’t think the husband would mind me saying, he is more old fashioned with his parenting ways. But I feel like I am perhaps more emotionally involved. Is that because I carried our son for nine months? Took nine months off work to look after him when he was born? Changed my life completely to become a Mum? Maybe.
Or is it because I am with him more, I give in a bit more for a bit of an easier life? More than likely. It’s an emotional upheaval and certainly, a rollercoaster being a parent. Sometimes there’s resentment because you can’t do the things you want to do when you want to do them. Quickly followed by guilt because it’s not the kid’s fault you brought him into the world. Then that resentment may end up being aimed at your partner because perhaps he has more of his ‘old life’ left than you do. But then in the next breath, you wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s so confusing and ultimately draining.
So is it normal for things to be different? Yes. Hell yes.
Parents are born when a child is born. There is someone else to put first. Someone who has only been here five minutes takes priority over everyone and everything and sometimes that can be hard to get your head around. Hard to accept. But how could you possibly want it any other way?
This person, this little human that was made with love. A mini version of you both. Is a joint responsibility. Sometimes this can push you apart and sometimes, it can drive a wedge between you, for it never to be the same again. But hopefully, if you’re lucky, like us, it will become the making of you.
They say that if your relationship can survive the first five years of being parents then you stand a pretty good chance of remaining together in the relationship and being happy. It hasn’t been all cupcakes and rainbows for us (I’ve clearly seen Trolls too many times!). And it won’t always be. I’m not naive. But if anything good is worth having, it’s worth working at and sticking at.True love is about growing as a couple, learning about each other, and never giving up on each other. Click To Tweet
So if you have just had a child and you are wondering who the hell this person is you are living with and why don’t you recognise them anymore. Don’t worry. You are normal. You became a different version of yourself when you became a parent, you both did. And it will take a while to get used to. But with the mutual love for your little one, you will get there, and it will all be worth it.
If, however, you are stuggling, it might be worth considering couples counselling as a way to get your relationship back on track. It is nothing to be ashamed of to admit you might need a bit of guidance. You can find out more in this article: https://www.regain.us/advice/counseling/use-online-couples-counseling-to-get-your-relationship-back-on-track/
Now go and give them a hug or send them a text message. Don’t forget the kisses. It’s little touches like that, that will remind them who you are. Because as the end of the day, you are still you. You may be a Mum or a Dad, but you’re still you and you are still a couple. Remember that, and you’re already half way there.
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