5 ways to babyproof your relationship
Having a baby is wonderful and amazing but it can really throw a spanner into your relationship! I often hear mums complaining about their partners and it’s likely that at some point you’ll find yourself getting really annoyed with yours too.
You might be annoyed with your partner for not helping out as much as you want. Perhaps you hate the fact that he doesn’t look after the baby in the way that you would. Or maybe it’s because you find it hard to watch your partner go off to work in the morning knowing that they are getting a break from the chaos whilst you are, yet again, on baby duty 24/7.
Feelings of resentment, jealousy and unspoken anger all build up if you don’t deal with them. This can mean that you reach the point where you look at your partner and wonder if you even like them anymore.
Add that to the inevitable changes that having a baby brings; being unable to go out when you want; financial pressures and just general exhaustion; and it’s easy to see why your relationship can get a bit fraught at times!
Fear not though, a few simple tweaks can make a big difference. Here are 5 things you can do to babyproof your relationship!
#1 – Set your expectations out clearly
Nothing annoys us more than finding out something we expected to happen, hasn’t. You might have expected the washing up to be done, the baby to be bathed or dinner to be made but got home and nothing’s been done.
But just because you expect something doesn’t mean that your partner knows this. If we don’t say what we expect then we can end up setting our partners up to fail.
Yes, you might bath the baby every night at 6pm but your partner might think that letting him play for a bit longer is fine.
Or you’d do the washing up after dinner but your partner is happy to leave it until the kids are asleep.
Maybe you want him to offer to do some night feeds but he doesn’t seem to get the hint.
Whatever it is, if you don’t tell your partner what you want to happen then he’ll probably do things the way he wants.
So if something is important to you then tell him. Agree it in advance. If you are going out and you want the bottles done, say so. If you have a list of things you’d do on a daily basis give it to him.
And you need to be prepared to be flexible. It’s not a dictatorship, it’s a partnership. You both have a say and both have a right to do things differently (see #3).
#2 – Talk it through
Let’s say that you’ve asked your partner to do something and he doesn’t. You have two choices – you can either sulk/get mad/seethe in resentment or you can sit down and talk about it.
Letting it fester is a sure way to build negative feelings towards him and isn’t going to change anything.
Talking about it, however, will help you to feel like you’ve expressed how you’re feeling. It will also give him the chance to understand things from your point of view.
Plus you might find that his side of things is not what you thought it was. After all, it’s possible that there is a good reason why he wasn’t able to do what you asked.
#3 – Embrace the differences
If we’re completely honest, mums are usually better at the day to day family life than men are. We’re good multi-taskers; we know our kids the best and we’re great at ensuring the house runs smoothly.
Not many men (certainly that I’ve come across) can measure up to this so we need to accept that they’ll do things differently. Maybe they do the bedtime routine in the wrong order or don’t clear up straight away. Or they let the kids play outside in their pants in winter and have dessert first at meal times.
The thing is, it doesn’t always matter. Ok, if it means that you have to do everything or leads to unhappy (or unsafe) kids then that’s clearly a problem that you’ll need to resolve.
But if it’s just that your partner does things differently then maybe it’s time to relax and accept that different isn’t wrong.
I’ll give you an example. I’m a get it done type of person and always do the household chores before I sit down and relax. That’s just me. My husband on the other hand will relax first and then do the chores as late as he possibly can.
This used to infuriate me as it would mean that when he said he’d do the kitchen, I’d be walking round the house an hour later fuming that it wasn’t done.
That was my problem though. By the time we went to bed the kitchen was always clean. So the only issue really was that I wanted him to do it the way I would, and that’s not fair.
To solve this one, I learnt to relax. I learnt to trust that my husband will do what he says, he will just do it differently (and when he wants to).
Ultimately though, it does get done and providing I sit in the lounge with a glass of wine where I can’t see the mess, I’m able to let it go.
#4 – Deal with your own issues
There is no getting away from the fact that we have our own issues that affect our relationships.
For example, if deep down you are feeling resentful that he gets to have a break away from the kids everyday, or even jealous that he still has his career when you’ve given up yours, then when he comes home late from work you might end up exploding in his face over something that is actually quite small.
Or if you had a childhood where you were often shouted at, you might subconsciously want to protect your children from being told off. This could mean you fight with your partner about how you discipline the kids.
For example, I feel really uncomfortable when my husband tells the kids off for their table manners. This is partly because when I was young, I’d get upset when my sister was shouted at for having her cutlery in the wrong hands. I’m projecting my own upset from the past onto my kids in the present.
But I’m aware of this now, so when we’re discussing table manners, I can take a step back and leave my past where it should be. This means I can be more objective and see the situation for what it is.
So if you find yourself getting really angry at your partner just stop for a moment and think about whether there’s something else going on.
Is it a symptom of a bigger problem for you or maybe something being triggered in you at a deeper level?
If there isn’t and it really is just what he’s done that’s fine, you can go ahead and be angry.
Just be aware that often we’re bringing our own baggage to the table and if you can deal with that, you’re going to feel a lot more positive about and towards your partner.
#5 – Get help
Even the strongest relationship can be thrown into chaos when kids come along so there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting help. And often, the sooner you get it, the easier it is to fix the problems. You will also end up with less damage to your relationship if you get help early.
Help can come in many forms. It could be talking things through with family or friends. Maybe you could get babysitters in so that you can spend some quality time reconnecting with your partner. Or it might be getting professional help either by yourself or as a couple.
If you think you might benefit from getting some help just do it. The worst that could happen is that you try it, it doesn’t help and things carry on as they are. There isn’t really anything to lose by giving it a go.
There’s no point suffering or feeling miserable when there might be things you can do to improve your relationship quickly.
Working on things can help you to fall in love with your partner again. After all, that love is the reason why you had a baby in the first place. Letting it fall apart isn’t going to be good for anyone.
If you want to improve your relationship then that’s where I come in. As a trained Relationship Coach I will work with you to find the changes you can make that will help you to feel great about your relationship and partner.
I also run workshops on How to babyproof your relationship so why not come over to check out my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/thoughtsaboutMH/ or follow me on Twitter @thoughtsaboutMH.
Just a single session or workshop can help you to feel more positive and know what you want to do so why not drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.