No man will ever understand a woman’s hormones, particularly during pregnancy. In fact, woman barely understand them! Phoebe, case in point: (Laughing, crying, laughing, then I want to kill). Simply put, your relationship can suffer during these months of pregnancy, and the battle to keep relationships strong after the baby arrives can be even more difficult.
To be fair, for the most part, pregnancy is a bonding time for couples.
They imagine what their little baby will be like, personality and aspirations. They get to pick out names and choose nursery colors together. There’s the first time the mom feels the baby move inside her and then a few weeks later the dad feels the movement. They hear the heartbeat together for the first time and see the image of their baby in the ultrasound and find out the baby’s gender together. Such precious memories never to be forgotten.
And the birth, it’s full of fear and pain shared by the couple, along with happy tears as they first lay eyes on their child. The bond of love between you and your husband will feel stronger than ever in that moment.
What happens after these moments pass? If life had only special moments, would they be special? As time moves forward, the mom sees her child as coming first with the baby constantly in need of her milk, in need to be held, in need to fall asleep in her arms. And all of a sudden, the time spent with your baby outweighs the quality time spent with your husband.
The nights are filled with task after task to ensure the baby is well cared for, fed, changed, clean, well rested until you realize that you yourself have similar needs. So us mom’s go and take a shower when they have a window of time, we eat a quick meal and possibly we’re able to fall asleep on the couch only to woken up again by baby. Our attention is divided and our husbands feel disregarded.
It’s certainly not our intention, we want the whole family to feel loved and well cared for. I wanted to provide attention to both my baby and my husband, making sure I kept up the routine we had from before the birth, packing his lunch in the morning, making his coffee and breakfast, making sure the house was clean before he came home from work and having dinner on the table at the same time every night, saying, “I’ll clean up the dishes honey, you’ve had a long day”.
But reality was after the baby was born, I just could not physically accomplish it all, baby’s and husband’s needs. So he was the one to sacrifice.
Now my husband is the most forgiving man you will know. He never got angry, upset or demanding. He lovingly acknowledged my new limitations and he picked up the slack. He often picked up pizza on his way home from work the first few months after the birth. He brought home flowers, chocolate or chick flick movies for me to enjoy, whatever he thought I might need. Sweet husband right!?
The fact remains that these dads are making sacrifices on a daily basis because us moms now have different priorities. We want to keep life as it was before baby but that is simply not possible. And this isn’t necessary a bad thing.
Now our evenings are centered around family activities, playing with toys and wrestling on the living room floor. They are filled with giggles and laughs. So here we are making memories again. There’s a short window of time where we will hear little feet running down the hallway, or when a toddler will bring you their toys to share with you.
And while my husband is so incredibly in love with his little girl and all these precious moments we can’t help but enjoy, he also remembers the moments when it was just the two of us, just as a husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend. When life was just a little simpler. Easily able to leave the house on a whim, easily able to go away for a weekend. Looking back, life was just EASY.
So in thinking back on the days before baby, yes it was easier to take care of my hubby but there were other things I used to do that I now find much harder to accomplish. Things that I’m sure my husband misses just as much as his load of laundry being done in a timely manner. Here a three tips to keep the love alive even while raising a family.
- Get dolled up. Remember when you were dating and you used to make sure your hair was done, you wore cute outfits and you always put your makeup on? Yeah, that still needs to happen! Your husband loves to come home to his pretty wife. I’m not saying that he doesn’t love you when you are, in your sweats and mismatched socks, and hair in an affectionately named “messy bun”, because he certainly does! But don’t tell me you don’t feel better all dressed up!
- Make sure you show him how much you care about him. Leave a note for him in his lunch box, on his bathroom mirror or on his stirring wheel. Show him through small actions how much you love him. Think back to when you fell in love with him, what things remind you of why you decided to get married and start a family in the first place? Use these memories to brainstorm ways to keep alive a love that is incredibly special, one that made a beautiful little human. Thank him for all he does to take care of the family, this too will make him feel needed and appreciated.
- Set aside time each day to have one on one time. This could mean an earlier bedtime for the kids and then use this time at night to spend together. Grab a chocolate cake to share with a glass of wine out on the porch. If the evening doesn’t work for your family, get up early to see him to work. Use the time to talk about what he’s looking forward to in his day. Make his coffee just the way he likes it. And give him the kind of kiss he’ll remember.
- MAKE DATE NIGHTS HAPPEN. Call up a babysitter for a much needed night out to the movies, like teenage kids. Better yet, schedule out date nights for each month so you can plan on it, making sure they happen, as they are incredibly important!
Your family has changed, but it has changed for the better. You will always look back on your years without children and remember them fondly. This doesn’t mean that your family life ruins your relationship with your best friend, your partner in life.
By using these tips and by taking the time and effort needed to keep your precious love alive, you will be rewarded with a strong relationship.