Do relationships suffer after having kids?
Earlier this week my husband and I were talking about the things we have planned in the next 6 months. Plans for Halloween and Christmas with Miss M, what presents to buy her, where we’ll spend Christmas, decorating the house and of course planning the pregnancy and the arrival of the new baby next year.
It struck us that a lot of our planning in the past 2 years has followed a similar path and that we really hardly ever make plans for the two of us. Date nights out (and in) are a thing of the past, holidays and nights out are incredibly rare and often abandoned given the work that goes into finding babysitters or family-friendly accommodation and restaurants.
Don’t get me wrong, we have a lovely social life and a lot of friends (with and without their own kids) but times have definitely changed – as we expected them to.
What concerned me though is when my husband pointed out that we had no room in the plans just for ‘Us’, my reaction was to explain that until the kids are a bit older, less dependent on us and well, hopefully easier, there IS no real time for us.
This can’t be right though. Can it? Is it right to put your relationship ‘on hold’ after having kids? When is the ‘hold’ lifted? When they’re 18? 21? 35??
It can’t be right. I did not marry my husband only for the potential I saw in him to be a good father. I married him because he was someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, to provide for me and me for him, to laugh with and experience life together as a team. I also quite liked his beautiful eyes and how strong he is (you know, for carrying shopping bags).
I’ve decided to treat this recent conversation as a warning sign and to start making some changes. Yes, practically our lives do mainly revolve around the kids and they will for many years to come but this does not mean that we can stop making time for each other and for our relationship. I do not want to become so complacent in assuming that there will be time for us later that when ‘later’ comes, we’ve outgrown each other or forgotten why we fell in love in the first place.
We are not fortunate enough to have a long list of babysitters to call upon or a never-ending flow of money to pay for romantic weekends breaks or, well, any weekend breaks! We do however have a roof over our heads, a dining table and an oven and we’re lucky enough to (currently) have a toddler who goes to bed at 7pm and stays asleep until the next day. So date nights are back on the cards, albeit in our own home.
We’re both taking my birthday off work together to do something fun while Miss M is in day care and I will not (I hope) feel guilty doing so as we’ll have a family dinner together later.
These are small changes but I hope they will bring about a much bigger impact on our relationship over all. I want to be with my husband forever and when they’re older, I want to set a healthy example to my children and for them to aspire to have a loving, close relationship like their parents do, as I did with mine.
Do you think that relationships suffer after having kids?
What do you do to stop this happening?