08 Apr How is parenting impacting your relationship?
The falling in love part
We meet, we fall in love, we spend time loving, laughing and being with each other. We focus on our partner on their needs and desires and we are interested in them, we also find they do all those things for us. We feel connected and interested in each other.
The bit after that
For those who become parents, life changes dramatically, in turn meaning our relationship often changes too. With becoming parents our bond with our partner can deepen, we are ‘in this together’ can feel like our mantra.
Or, this happens:
- sleepless nights
- changes to our bodies
- changes to our emotional wellbeing
- changes to our routine
- changes to our bed being our own.
This can mean that there is less time to focus on each other (even on ourselves). When we have less time to focus on our relationship it can mean that our connection to each other can be impacted. When we feel less connected, we feel less intimate with each other. We may feel like we start to speak a different language.
What are boundaries and where do they come from?
Boundaries are rules by which you decide what you will and won’t accept. They are a rulebook for how we interact and behave toward ourselves and others. They will be what we refer to when we are formulating how we feel or act about what is happening. I recently read a beautiful and succinct quote on boundaries by Prentis Hemphill “Boundaries are the distance at which I can love you and me simultaneously”
Our boundaries come to be due to several factors:
• Personal experiences and needs
• Family of origin
• Cultural and social expectations
• Our attitudes, beliefs, morals and ethics
What happens now then?
Yes, your relationship will go through changes, some positive, some not so but remember that you were partners before you were parents, you fell in love for a reason.
Also know that there are ways that you can work on rebuilding your communication and connection so it can be even deeper than it was before.
When you do communicate, remember that when we speak about how we feel about a situation (using ‘I’ statements) and then we state our positive need, this is usually processed more effectively by our partners.
So instead of, “You never get up in the middle of the night with the kids” you could try “I feel exhausted/lonely/frustrated” when I am getting up with the kids at night (“I” statement) and I would love it if we could alternate nights (positive need)”.
Remember that just because you may feel less connected, or maybe feel you are not communicating as well as you used to, there are ways to reconnect and improve communication.
How to do this when you are exhausted, touched out or don’t have any help with the kids? Keep it as simple as you can:
- Have dinner together one night after the kids have gone to bed (maybe you leave the emails, laundry, etc.. whatever you would normally be doing after the kids are asleep).
- Email each other? Connect through the written word by writing a love letter, or even just a letter about your day?
- You could try to go to bed earlier and take a cup of tea/glass of wine and have a chat there
- You could go crazy and have a bubble bath together.
If you are able to organize a babysitter then …
Date night! Schedule in some time away from the house and kids and do something that you used to connect over. Maybe that’s sport or nature or a night out at a local bar, whatever your things is/was.
If you feel you may need to work more deeply on your relationship, you can always reach out and make an appointment with me