Do you remember the days before kids? They were pretty amazing, right? But I don’t think we really knew or appreciated how care-free and amazing they were til they change. No matter how much you love your babies, your family life… you do lose that care-free part of your life and relationship.
We used to book a city break at the drop of a hat without even thinking about it. These days I don’t purchase an item of clothing without thinking “Do I really need this?” We now have a little mouth to feed, a little body to clothe and our priorities are massively different from what they were. Something we couldn't have ever been fully prepared for. As patronising as it is to those without kids, you just don't know the enormity of the change until it happens to you. And you certainly can't predict the change in your relationship either.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t resent the changes it in the slightest. I couldn’t love family life more. But the amount of time you have for your partner changes. Your relationship evolves from something fun, frivolous, not so serious every day... into being something where you look after this crazy little creature that can’t sit still. To making sure the washing is done because this little boy can’t be without pyjamas like we can if we ran out of clean ones. Making sure their lunch is made and snacks packed before you head out for a day out. It’s working nonstop long after bath and bed time to do all the bits and pieces you can’t achieve during the day whilst having a child demanding your attention. Those things aren't very sexy are they?
It’s oh so beautiful in all its chaotic-ness. But it’s also oh so hard. And it’s fine to admit that.
I am definitely guilty of trying to do it all. Work, be a good dad, be a good husband. But how do i manage them all at once? Sometimes (most of the time, actually) you can’t do it all. We haven’t had a date night in ages. We’re both so busy managing life, the family, the home that we just don't get the chance. I sometimes get to the evening after the bath and bed routine, dinner (and maybe a quick workout if i'm feeling fat that day) and look at my husband and realise we haven’t actually talked properly since I got in from work. The phones go down and we just TALK. I can't think of anything worse than getting into a funk where we are all of the sudden just used to not having time for each other and it becomes the normal way of living.
It’s one of those things you can’t ever prepare for or even get trained on in the ‘School of Marriage and Parenthood’ (how beneficial would that school be in reality, though? That's the type of education we need!). I have no real solution or conclusion to how maintain a healthy, happy relationship/marriage apart from what we do ourselves to stay sane. And it's what most people will say of you ask them... We laugh. We smile. Even when the shit (literally) hits the fan, you have to retain that sense of humour. It can all get so serious, so scary and all consuming what with nursery's, decisions, routines to stick to. Not to mention the fact you'll never have a decent sleep like you did pre-kids.
Where would I be without my better half? He brings me down to earth when i get carried away (as i often do) up in the clouds. He lives with me despite my cranky, snappy mood after a day of work which actually started at 4am with a wide awake three year old. Since becoming dads we’ve never bickered more. And if you’re in the same boat, just know it’s NORMAL. Show me a couple of adult humans raising a baby that aren’t tired, emotional, stressed… and just juggling every ball there is trying their best. If you didn’t blow up every now and then then you must be some kind of superhuman or you're burying it all deep inside only to come out later down the line in the form of a mid-life crisis.
The biggest thing we can do is remember who we were before. How would the non-parent version of us handle this situation? How would we support one another back then? And in that you usually find your answer. I am in no way a marriage counsellor… but I think we do a pretty good job at trying to keep sane during all the craziness… well, most of the time.