Do relationships suffer after having Kids?

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.

Do relationships suffer after having Kids - Parenting Issues Couples with Kids, Relationships problems after having kids

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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?

Do relationships suffer after having Kids - Parenting Issues Couples with Kids, Relationships problems after having kids

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  1. 20th February 2015 / 11:22 pm

    I love this! I am a string believer in it was us before and will be us after so we need to nurture us in between! We have a date night almost EVERY friday…usually a dvd and treats or a take out, dine in for 2..something like that. We go out for a date maybe like every 6 weeks or something because its more pricey and more to organize with sitters etc. Its not what we do but the fact that we both see that as our night, no phones/fb but just us, reconnecting and hanging out.

    We also try to go away overnight on our anniversary and valentines, the spacing is good (feb/oct) and think it not unreasonable to ask grandparents or family to have them 2 nights a year! We recently had a lovely trip to Prague for christmas (in Jan) and it was only like £120 for us both and worth every penny!

    I really hope you get more you time and that it strengthens you to deal with all the other parts of family life

    • 3rd March 2015 / 8:58 pm

      That’s so right – we’re still the couple we were before but then we’ve grown so much together. We just need to now lose sight of ‘us’ :) It’s so good you have a weekly date night – that’s wonderful!

  2. Laura Powell-Corbett
    30th January 2015 / 3:52 am

    This is very true, And so important not to forget. I often think the same is true of taking time for yourself needs to be done and is often easier than couple time as who else would you trust other thab daddy but also rarely done!

    We aim for one date night out a month, which we’ve stuck with but sometimes find ourselves having the date night as a big social group which does defeat the object!

    • 5th February 2015 / 11:54 am

      That’s very true as well – you can completely neglect yourself when pregnant or a parents – so easily done, we just put ourselves last, don’t we. Ah a date night once a month is a good goal! :)

  3. 29th January 2015 / 11:55 am

    Hi Jenna, Great post and something I’m preparing for as my son and I move in with my partner in a month…not sure how I’ll manage to balance the two relationships but I’ll be trying my best. Well done for taking time to nurture your relationship, your kids will definitely appreciate it when they are older and see how solid and happy you are. x

    • 5th February 2015 / 11:53 am

      Thank you :) It takes real effort doesn’t it – and it will be ongoing for many years. Good luck for your move! :)

  4. The Papiologist
    4th January 2015 / 2:27 pm

    Agreed. I was just talking to someone about this the other day. As awesome as kids are, they can put a huge strain on a marriage. Making sure that your relationship with your spouse comes first will make you both better patents in the long run. Good post.

    • 7th January 2015 / 2:20 pm

      Thank you! You’re absolutely right – it’s so easy to always put the kids first but it isn’t always the best decision for the relationship. It’s so hard to find a balance but we’ll all keep trying :)

  5. Martyn - Being Free
    29th December 2014 / 6:01 pm

    I am single and to be honest finding time to date on a whole is difficult. My two boys are so hectic that when they’re in bed I’m exhausted. And a babysitter is non existent. It’s so difficult but I don’t mind it being put on hold. But being single is far different to you two going through it together. It’s great that you recognise it and are doing something about it.

    • 7th January 2015 / 2:19 pm

      I can imagine it is – it’s hard enough for one parent to go out when the other one stays home with the kids! Now what you need is to meet someone who can bring a lovely babysitter with them :) :)

  6. Ashley Beolens
    29th December 2014 / 1:23 pm

    It’s amazing how easy it is to slip into the “time for us later” routine I know in our relationship it has been kids first always for a long while but as our daughter (youngest now 5) has grown we have slowly found more time to just be the two of us. Although as often as we say we must do regular date nights they are very few and far between (unless you count the odd bit of late night food shopping without the kids).

    • 7th January 2015 / 2:17 pm

      Oh yes, supermarket shopping HAS to be considered a date these days if no kids are there :) Thank you so much, you’ve made me feel more hopeful that as the babies grow up we might get a bit more couple time :)

  7. Another Bun
    28th December 2014 / 9:47 pm

    We are realising that we need more time together just us to make sure that we can be a team as parents too – it’s easier said than done though

    • 7th January 2015 / 2:16 pm

      That’s so true but so necessary. We’ll get there won’t we, if we keep trying :)

  8. 3rd November 2014 / 7:34 pm

    Ha oh blimey this is true for me at the mo. With Little J bottle refusing and breastfeeding all evening, we’ve not had a date night in ages. I’d be happy with nandos and the cinema!

    • 4th November 2014 / 11:51 am

      It’s crazy – and by the time it’s 6pm I just want to go to bed! Move here and we can babysit for each other :) :)

  9. 2nd November 2014 / 5:40 pm

    we are the worst we said we would go on a date night / day once a month and we have not been out since july I can see we need it. With me going back to work and him working in the evenings its just crazy. I think if the parents are investing in each other the child will defiantly benefit we always spend these times dreaming about the future, chatting about funny chats the kids have said. Enjoy your birthday and not having to chase after a toddler and having a hot drink. Sorry for the ramble and thanks for joining in with sunday round up

    • 4th November 2014 / 11:50 am

      It just seems so impossible to factor it in doesn’t it – we’re already so time-short! You’re so right though, when they get older, the kids need to see that you WANT to spend time together as a couple too :) thanks lady and ramble any time!!

    • 4th November 2014 / 11:47 am

      Ah thank you – I just need to make it happen! :)

  10. 2nd November 2014 / 8:52 am

    It is easy to disregard your relationship as it is natural to want to give all your energy to your kids. Enjoy your date nights! X

    • 4th November 2014 / 11:46 am

      Thank you! It really is too easy – a date night even once a month would be good right now! :)

  11. 29th October 2014 / 9:49 pm

    I hope it makes your relationship stronger by having date nights again.

    • 31st October 2014 / 10:05 am

      Thank you so much Carla! So do I, it’s so easy to put your relationship last because everything revolves around the kids – there does need to be a balance though, doesn’t there? :)

  12. 28th October 2014 / 10:10 pm

    Great post and a very good point. We don’t have any babysitters nearby so me and the other half haven’t had a ‘date night’ since before my daughter was born over 6 months ago. You’re right though, there shouldn’t be excuses, we can still make an effort. :)
    Jenna at Tinyfootsteps xx

    Jenna at Tinyfootsteps xx

    • 31st October 2014 / 10:04 am

      Thank you Jenna! It’s hard without having people nearby who can babysit, isn’t it? I hope you get to have a date night soon too – it’s so important but you do feel guilty too in being away from the baby – but definitely try :)

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