Relationships. They change and can be impacted by the littlest thing, whether your partner picks up the wrong kind of tea bags down at the shops or you start a new job meaning routine changes. They’re a big part of life. Especially family life.
Every parent can think vaguely back to those days before you had a small human, aka your own personal alarm clock, pooping and sick creating machine. The days when days off were actually days that you had off. A time where you only had to worry about keeping yourself fed, clean and rested. When you have children, whether that’s singular or plural, it’s pretty clear you have to change as a person. You discover yourself and lose yourself at the same time, you grow and not always by choice, so much in a short space of time, that you can just come crashing back to reality with a bump at any moment. Yes, having children always brings talk about the changes as a person – but what about your relationship?
Pre-Baby: Before becoming a parent I was in a relationship of 6 years. Childhood sweethearts. Strong, happy, regular dates and were each other’s best friends – this really sounds like things are going to go disastrously wrong. Before a baby, our free time was spent with each other – watching new cinema releases, nipping to the shop to stock up on treats for a duvet and film day, eating out at restaurants…the money we had spare was spent on ourselves because what else did we have to spend our hard earned pounds on? If I had a problem I’d tell my other half and we’d talk about it, ultimately to figure a solution out. Of course we had a few bickering moments, who doesn’t? We were still human. I think it makes a healthy relationship to have some ‘agree to disagree moments’. It sounds so surreal thinking back to the life we lived this time last year. A child changes everything.
Post-Baby: I thought I knew every possible side there was to know about my other half, but having our daughter has introduced a whole new personality. A side to him that was buried way down deep under lock and key, waiting for this angelic little newborn to unlock. Before baby I only knew the lets say ‘single’ side, but after baby I now see a side where he will always think about his child and how decisions will impact her. Sure our relationship has changed. We don’t have the free time to go all the places we went before baby, we might not have the energy to face the trip into the town centre when we are baby free – but those have been replaced with days of reading story books or singing songs. Digging into the world of Disney and the worlds of The Gruffalo. Our relationship has blossomed to another level. We understand each other that little bit better. He saw me at the most vulnerable point of my life and supported me through it. For that we have developed an understanding with each other through the bonding of being parents. We understand the importance of compromise, of communication and consistency in our daughters life. We understand that it’s okay to have ‘me’ time and with an under one – you need it! But more importantly, we have learnt life can be hard, relationships can be hard but it’s okay to do that and conquer life together.
The relationship we had before baby was wonderful and it’s a time where we were able to create lots of wonderful memories of just the two of us. It was a time we discovered each other’s personalities and learned how to understand, and live with each other. The one obvious difference is that free time is no longer free time, instead it’s a time which the three of us spend together, but we wouldn’t change that for the world. You read lots of posts online about how partners drift away from each other or the stress of parenthood pushes them apart or there is just no support, which I know in reality does happen – but it’s not all doom and gloom. With good communication, making time for each other and yourself, there’s a good chance (in my none expert opinion) your relationship will blossom with parenthood…it’s probably the best medicine there is.