Are you maintaining some amount of normalcy amidst the chaos of bringing your new little stranger into your home or have you abandoned your old lives together completely? You wouldn’t be the first couple to admit to a little marriage neglect once baby comes. And of course it’s normal. But now that you’re reading this, take it as a sign that you should do what you have to do now so that it doesn’t become your “new normal!”
If you two love to take day trips, watch movies, entertain — whatever it is that you and your partner really loved to do together before your baby arrived — you should work extra hard to maintain that once your bundle of joy has permanently crashed at your place! Why? Because your relationship with your partner should be your number one — yes, number one — priority. Its health status is the single biggest contributor to your baby’s health and happiness.
So how can you work on maintaining your relationship now that your baby consumes most of your thoughts and time? Our 5 best tips on maintaining some normalcy:
1) Make date night sacrosanct!
Whether you had a date night before your baby arrived or not, make one night a week your new date night and be religious about it! Hire a sitter and go to dinner and a movie or stay in and make dinner and watch a movie with a bottle of wine — whatever you do, make it all about about you guys. You’ll probably end up talking about how incredibly precious your baby is and that’s okay, as long as it’s just the two of you together, enjoying each other’s company. So put the baby to bed and remember what made you want to have a baby to begin with — your love for each other!
Can’t imagine your baby being able to sleep long enough for you two to actually enjoy a date night? Learn how our schedules make it so possible, here.
2) Have a family plan.
Your life shouldn’t end once your baby arrives, nor should it completely revolve around your baby. Of course having a baby is a major adjustment and challenge for new parents but it doesn’t have to consume you or break your relationship apart. Decide how you’ll both parent up front — whatever that style might be. And remember, you’re on the same team, so remind each other of the goals you both have for your baby:
-We will teach our baby to become a “Rock-Star Sleeper!”
-We will teach our baby to discover and learn through self-play.
-We will teach our baby to comply when being restrained for her own safety.
-We will teach our baby confidence through the successful independent activities she engages in.
3) Keep your bed a “marriage bed.”
An incredibly smart thing to do for the sake of normalcy in your marriage is to use your baby’s nursery for its intended purpose… so starting on your baby’s night one at home, keep your bed a “marriage bed.” A “family bed” only serves to teach your baby to need you to fall asleep and creates a wedge (literally) between the two of you each night. The bottom line is this: keep as much of what you love about your lives as a couple in your lives when your baby arrives and that means keep your bed to yourselves. What’s healthiest for your baby is you two having a really healthy marriage and a large part of that is the health of your intimacy.
Read why we believe in using the nursery starting on night one, here.
4) Take care of each other.
Having a baby will be a time in your lives when the two of you either completely bond or totally fall apart. We want to make sure it’s not the latter. The surest way to facilitate a beautiful bonding time (that you’ll both look back on fondly for a lifetime!) is to remember to compliment each other on the great job you’re each doing with the baby. Everyone feels a little insecure about how they’re managing the baby in the beginning, so pump each other up! Look for the good. Lift the other one up when they’re down — and you’ll both definitely get down some during this time. It’s naturally overwhelming! So say the positive thought you’re thinking about your partner out loud when you’re thinking it. And don’t ever underestimate the power of a little encouragement during this roller coaster of a time. Your jobs are not just to take care of the baby, you need to take care of each other too.
5) Take care of yourself.
Do what you have to do to feel like yourself again. Schedule a massage, a mani/pedi, a daytrip, a therapist appointment, a yoga session, a shopping day, a long lunch with a friend…you get it. What did you love to do with your spare time? How did you take care of your body, mind, and spirit before you had your baby? Figure it out. Make a list. And follow through. There’s power in having something to look forward to so get booking! And ask your partner to help you out when you really need a second to regroup — whether it’s looking after the baby while you take a bath or even while you just walk outside to take in some fresh air.