Babies are super cute, soft, cuddly and they just melt your heart with the soft blink of their eyes or that unintentional smile. However, there is a dark side that no one tells you about bringing home your little darling and that is they come with an enormous amount of stress. Sleepless nights, unpredictable schedules, poopy diapers and constant attention can often times wreak havoc on a couple; as if our modern families aren’t complicated enough. Because everything is about the baby and initally, most of the responsibility of caring for the baby falls on one of you, when the excitement of the baby wears off, some couples find themselves estranged.
A month or so ago I remember one of the ladies on Momversation brought up this very topic. Heather Armstrong from Dooce chimed in by saying that when she and her husband first had children, it took them a while to develop that “tag team” dynamic. I thought that was a cute and appropriate way of putting it because you really do have to have some superb teamwork in order to handle a baby AND maintain your sanity and marriage. Below are some things that my husband and I have learned as we work together to raise our little cutie, make time for the older boys, ourselves AND each other.
- Realize that you are experiencing a normal situation and it doesn’t mean that you can’t get back that lovin’ feeling.
- If you’re missing your spouse, let him or her know that. I know that not eating or sleeping right can make you cranky and irritable all the time, so sometimes it just may good for your spouse to hear, “I miss you.”
- If either of you are feeling overwhelmed, talk about it and work together to divide household chores and parenting duties.
- Make sure both of you have time away from the baby for at least one hour per day (this is for my stay at home parents). You need that time to rejuvenate so that your body doesn’t completely shut down. Don’t cook or clean during this time (that is not a break)! Put your feet up, watch your favorite show, go visit a good friend or take a hot bubble bath by candle light.
- After you put the baby to sleep, carve out 30 minutes of “grown up” time. Talk to each other, cuddle, have some dessert together or you may even have time for a “quickie.”
- Realize that this too shall pass. This is just a phase in your lives. Remember, babies grow up, eventually sleep through the night and become less and less dependent on you. Try to keep this in mind and instead of being consumed by the stress, enjoy this sweet little baby while he or she is young.