Firstly, caring for a baby is hard work and very draining because the baby relies 100% on your time and attention. Secondly, a huge part of your resources now goes into caring for baby and this can add a financial strain to what you were used to. Decisions you make for your relationship affect your baby, so it can lead to many new disagreements with your partner. Lastly, adjusting your life to accommodate a baby can feel like you are being consumed by baby's priorities so you can lose sight of your relationship. And it doesn't end after baby is no longer a baby. Your baby will become a toddler, a tween, teen, and an adult. All phases that still require your time, attention, and financial contribution, even if its demand decreases over time. Because your baby will always be your baby this is a lifelong commitment. So is your marriage. What accidentally happens in marriages sometimes is that you forget about your first lifelong commitment to your partner before baby came along. Raising a baby together alone is not enough to build a strong marriage. You must continue to contribute time, attention, and nurture to your marriage while you care for baby. Here are some tips to help with balancing your commitment to your marriage and your children.
1. Appreciating your spouse. Daily expressions of gratitude for your spouse will carry you through the difficult times by helping remind you why you have chosen this person to be your lifelong partner and parent to your children.
2. Build love maps with your partner. Love map is a term coined by Dr. Gottman referring to the inner world of each person in a marriage. You can build love maps by sharing stories with each other about your hopes, dreams, and fears. Explore how you want to build your life together with baby in the picture.
3. Confront your own self doubt. Sometimes we project our feelings onto our partner and target them with blame, when really we are afraid or disappointed at ourselves. Confront your doubt by exploring the hurt or fears you may have learned from the environment you were brought up in, and choose how you will react instead.
4. Live in the present. With kids in the picture, it's easy to put your relationship on the back burner thinking that you can work on it later. But that's one small mistake that can take a big toll later when your kids leave the nest. So instead, use each day as an opportunity to grow with your partner. If you need a glass of wine, share a glass with your partner. If you need a vacation, talk with your partner about what this could look like. Don't leave things for the future, but instead plan for it now.