As you and your spouse adjust to new responsibilities as parents, here are a few coping strategies to help you out
Of course, before there was a baby, there were laundry, dishes, and other loathsome household tasks. But there were never so many things that had to be done so quickly. You can’t procrastinate about chores once you have an infant. Share the housework and childcare duties, so you can have more time together. One strategy to decrease infighting is to post a list of daily chores on the fridge and switch responsibilities each week.
Couple time is now family time. You are always together, but no longer alone. Whether you’ve been a couple for years or just met and wanted to have a baby quickly, jumping from a twosome to a family is challenging. You need to schedule time together. Besides dates, plan brief “meetings,” where you can bring up household and baby-care issues. This way, your dates won’t be overtaken by baby talk and you can share the stuff you used to.
The grandparents are on the scene and want time with baby; a lot of it. The solution here is boundaries. You have a right to decline, no matter how generous they have been with gifts or babysitting time. Be kind, but firm. Another sanity-saving strategy is to choose specific times during the week that they can come by. If your parents feel like you’re making time for them, they’ll be less pushy.
You have sex half as often, and it’s twice the hassle. You’re tired, covered in slobber, and your spouse has suddenly transformed from sexy stud to super parent. Of course you are in love; you are just not in the mood for getting naked under the covers. Step one is to get in the mood, and the best way is to plan time for having sex. Just because you are married doesn’t mean you can’t make a hot date. Get a sitter, shave your legs, and flirt a little. As for increasing the frequency of sex on non-date nights, experienced parents recommend making sure your bedroom is baby-free at bedtime.
No doubt, money is a huge factor for new parents. A nice idea is to try living on one salary for six months when you’re both working. Open a separate account for the pay check you’ll be saving. After the trial period, you will know how you like eating casseroles instead of takeout, and how to live on a tight budget. You’ll also have a nice savings in case of an emergency when you do stay home.
Becoming a parent often puts a strain on relationships, regardless of what they were like before. Part of the problem is that you are tired and have so much less time to spend with your partner than you did before the baby arrived. It is a lot harder to go out together and enjoy the things you used to. Your partner may feel left out, and you may resent what you see as a lack of support. But the stage when babies and children take up all your physical and emotional energy doesn’t last forever. Make time for each other when you can. You also need other people in your life for support, friendship, and a shoulder to cry on.
Listen to your partner
However close you were before the baby was born, your partner can’t read your mind. You and your spouse need to tell each other what you want and what is bothering you if you are resentful, angry or upset.