Welcome to the fourth guest post in the #UsAfterYou series where I ask some of my favourite bloggers to share their experience of how having children has affected their relationship.
This week, I’m delighted to introduce Chloe over from Life Unexpected – a blog with tons of ideas for family fun and toddler play. Even though I don’t yet have a toddler, I’m always inspired by Chloe’s creativity and her commitment to always making time to have fun with her daughter. As you’ll soon find out reading her story below, she’s also very open and I often feel as though I’m listening to a friend over coffee whenever I read her posts. There’s also motivational tips galore, so if you’re in need of some inspiration for the New Year or simply need a pick-me-up, go make yourself a brew and check out her blog! Over to Chloe…
When you’re pregnant, people gush with excitement over the new life that you’re growing. As a couple you’re nervously excited about meeting your little one, you’re preparing the nursery, choosing names and starting to embrace the idea of becoming a family.
What you sometimes don’t realise, is that this little life is going to do some serious shaking up of your relationship when it arrives.
Before Evie unexpectedly graced us with her beautiful presence, Jamie and I were quite new to our relationship.
We’d been together for less than a year and had only recently decided to move in together. We still had that initial ‘new relationship’ spark that got even more heightened by the new added excitement of decorating and furnishing our first new home together.
A few weeks later the spark grew even more when we found out about Evie and then we moved on to preparing for a baby.
We were given so many warnings by other people that relationships experience some rockiness post baby.
But having gone from the new relationship feeling, to the new house, to the new big news, we were still in our little bubble, completely oblivious to the fact that it may soon burst.
After Evie was born we hit the rocky side of our relationship. We began to find it hard to tolerate each other. We were both tired, post-partum hormones did not help and Jamie felt like I wasn’t giving him enough attention, whereas I felt like he was working too much.
There is nothing like a baby to put a stop to your love life.
Did you find that when your little ones arrived, your relationship took a bit of a backseat?
It can be so hard to find the time to see each other, especially if one or both of you is working. Throw children into the mix and time alone is pretty rare.
We found that although our little family unit was thriving when Evie was born, our relationship wasn’t.
We loved doing things with Evie, taking her around to all of these new places, but as my partner is a chef and works silly hours, plus mostly nights and weekends, we never even got the chance to snuggle on the sofa in the evenings, after Evie had gone to bed.
Unfortunately, after a year of this, bitterness and resentment grew and we reached a place that really wasn’t very nice.
I don’t really remember when it was, but one random day when Evie was almost a year old, I was sat in a coffee shop. Across from me was a couple with two children. They looked really loved up and I saw how happy they were and how close they were, despite having two children. I asked them what their secret was.
They said that since both children have been born, they made sure they still went on a date alone every once in a while and they’ve found that by doing that they’ve kept their spark alive, something that is so important when you’re faced with the everyday challenges of parenting and work.
Taking this onboard, when valentines day popped around, I decided to introduce a way for Jamie and I to work on our relationship and spend some quality time together. I gave him ‘A Year Of Dates’ as his gift.
He promised me he would get at least one day off a month where we would find a babysitter, so we could spend couples time alone doing something together.
I found that after every date both of us came away like new people. When we got home, we found that the spark took a while to die down and then got re-ignited every month with our next day of bonding.
Whether you decide to go on a course together, do something fun or scary together, go out to dinner, or simply just sit home in your pjs and watch netflix, it’s so important to remember your relationship after you have children and to get some time alone together to just be you.
When it came to our dates, we decided to be a bit more creative and thought it would be a great opportunity to re-ignite things by doing some dates where we had to ‘bond’.
It was also an amazing chance to make some great memories together by doing things that we’ve never done before and also meant that we got to cross things off our bucket list. Here are the dates we came up with:
- Rock climbing
- Go and see a comedian
- Shooting Range
- Ice Skating
- Pumpkin Carving
- Watch the sunset
Just remember to not talk about work or babies!
What do you do to keep the spark alive? Do you find the time to go on dates with your partner?