Before children all your love, spare time, attention and affection is focused on each other. You have the time and the energy to spend hours solely in each other’s company, the nuances of one another’s personalities becoming like comforting blankets.
After children there is no spare time, no spare attention, and the word ‘energy’ leaves your vocabulary entirely. In short, your lives are consumed by your children. And not necessarily in a bad way, although obviously there are many hard times; but the fact is that they become your priority, where once you were each other’s.
This is hard. Add onto that lack of sleep upon lack of sleep and a relationship can easily become strained. Show me a couple who didn’t have relationship troubles after having a baby and I’ll show you a big fat liar.
Life as parents slowly (or quickly!) becomes a competition – who is the most tired; who had a harder day; who deserves some child free time. The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. It doesn’t make you a bad person and it doesn’t mean you have to split up (although obviously there are times when that happens).
What it does mean is that talking to each other becomes so much more important. In my experience as a rather argumentative mum of three, when small issues fester they become huge chasms of resentment and those are hard to bridge.
Whether one or both of you works, whether one of you is at home more than the other or whatever your family situation, if you are in a relationship then you’re in it together, and communication is the key, even if it means having a bit of an argument sometimes.