Happy New Year all! And welcome back to another post in the #UsAfterYou series, where I ask some of my favourite bloggers to share their experience of what having children has meant for their relationship. This week I’m thrilled to feature Claire who blogs about travel, days out and family fun over on her blog Tin Box Traveller. As a bit of a globe trotter in my previous ‘Before Child’ life, I love reading about Claire’s adventures and how their travels have adapted since having children to accommodate two small tots. I also really enjoy her regular ‘Travel Timehop’ feature, which often takes me back to somewhere I’ve visited myself, or (more often) gives me ideas for my ever-growing bucket list!
Until you have children it’s impossible to say how it’s going to affect your relationship. Whether you think it’s going to be just the same but with a couple of small hangers on or you anticipate life never being the same again, until it happens you just don’t know.
We started our family after 13 years together so were used to it being ‘just us’. We had so much freedom, although we never really knew it.
There were plenty of spontaneous nights out, regular lay ins until after midday, and weekends where we just slobbed around the house. We didn’t have to plan our days or even our holidays in detail. We just did whatever took our fancy.
There was the time we went on a month-long camping trip around Europe and pitched our tent wherever we ended up each day. There were last minute getaways, luxury holidays and cosy cottage breaks. All good times and very different from the precision trip planning that now takes place before we can step foot outside the front door.
Just before Christmas we had a little reminder of our freedom before kids. Mr Tin Box has been away a lot during the past two months. So when he finished work for the year we persuaded the grandparents to have the girls for us while we booked a last minute spa break like the ‘good old days’.
In the space of 24 hours we ate four luxurious meals without wiping anyone’s nose in between mouthfuls. We browsed the shops until we had found everything on our list. And we didn’t have to stop once to sniff for soiled nappies or pants. Bliss!
Did it make us rethink the family life we’d chosen? Of course not. There’s so many things in our relationship that have changed for the better. Here’s just a few:
We’ve decided to stay together
Mr TB is the Royal Navy and in the first year we were married he was home for about 12 weeks. He’s spent a lot of time away since then too. Sometimes in places like the Middle East where I couldn’t have gone with him but he’s also had a job in the UK where I could have. I decided to stay put for my job and friends. It made sense when there was just two of us, but times change. In the past week we have made a big move from Hampshire to Devon because of Mr TB’s job. Being together is so much more important now that we have a family.
We make the most of down time
Spare time used to get wasted down the pub. Now, when arguably we have less spare time than ever before, we make the most of every last minute and it’s made our lives richer. I have my blog and a much wider circle of friends, while Mr TB has taken up mountain biking and is in training for the 2016 London Marathon. I’m really not sure what we used to do with our days before we became parents.
Seeing the world through our kids’ eyes
This year in particular we started going places and doing things more for the kids benefit. Tin Box Tot has lapped up visits to the beach, farms and country parks. It’s been magical rediscovering the world through her eyes. Special occasions, like Christmas, seem to have so much more sparkle too. TBT understood what it was all about for the first time this year and it made the season so much more exciting for us all.
Discovering a different side to each other
I can’t speak for Mr TB but I’ve definitely discovered a different side to him. While I have taken on the practical role of making sure everyone is fed and changed at the right times, he has become the number one entertainer. He’s such a fun daddy, playing games, swinging the girls round and singing funny songs. The girls love it and I love him all the more for it.
While I can remember what life was like before our girls came along and enjoy the odd day or night being ‘just’ a couple again, I now can’t imagine us being any other way.
How did having children change your relationship?