#UsAfterYou – Featuring Life Unexpected

#UsAfterYou series Life Unexpected

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…

Life-Unexpected-Logo header

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.

#UsAfterYou - relationship before a baby

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.

#UsAfterYou - how do babies change a relationship?

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.

Date ideas for your relationship following children

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
  • Bowling
  • Dinner
  • Archery
  • Picnic
  • Zorbing
  • Shooting Range
  • Ice Skating
  • Pumpkin Carving
  • Cinema
  • 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?

You can follow Life Unexpected on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+.

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24 Comment

  1. Charlotte
    January 17, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    Fab post – I completely agree! the hubs and I got to a bad place where we were arguing all the time and resenting each other because we never had time to sit down and sort things out – it’s so important to remember and take time for each other , it’s not always about the ids! although I dont think i’d ever get him rock climbing, we have been scheduling more date nights :p thanks for sharing #KCACOLS
    Charlotte recently posted…The #YumTum Linky – #1 – 14/01/16My Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      January 20, 2016 at 11:12 pm

      I think every parent has been there at some point, but that’s what makes us human and hopefully brings you closer together in the end. For the first 9 months even ‘us time’ was taken up with us talking about our new addition, but we are getting better at talking about ‘us’ now and making more time for each other. Enjoy your date nights! x

  2. becca farrelly
    January 17, 2016 at 11:02 pm

    Reading this post, it could have been writing it! We had very similar experiences and its taken us 2 yrs to get back to how we were before Mia came along. The turning point for us was having a date night every fortnight, it means we have something to look forward not too long away, we spend some time on our own talking about ‘normal’ things and we have actually fallen in love again. It so difficult when a child comes along, you are so tired, drained and my partner worked away all week, that you don’t get time or have the energy to have a proper conversation. I’m so glad you are ok 🙂

    #KCACOLS

  3. Coombe Mill - Fiona Cambouropoulos
    January 18, 2016 at 9:24 am

    I’m with Chloe all the way, even with 6 we make time to go out together, in fact we are off tomorrow for a couple of nights away. Having older children now makes this much easier but we paid our nanny to stay when they were young as couple time is worth it. Well done Chloe and Cornwall has such lovely places to visit for some time out too. #marvmondays

  4. laura dove
    January 18, 2016 at 10:57 am

    I literally just wrote a post about this last week. My husband and I have only been together for five years and yet we now have four children and life is very different from the start of our relationship!! I think it is so important to still try to make time for each other but admittedly, very hard with young children! #MarvMondays

    1. Mum in Brum
      January 20, 2016 at 11:07 pm

      Wow, you have had a busy five years! But never a dull moment I’m sure! It is difficult finding time for each other and I think Chloe’s year of dates is genius. Definitely something I’m trying to adopt for this year, but I think we need to find some more babysitters first! 😉

  5. Claire at Tin Box Traveller
    January 18, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    Wow! What a turn around and some great ideas for fun dates. Time together to reignite that spark is so important. We’ve got a few planned and I can’t wait! #KCACOLS
    Claire at Tin Box Traveller recently posted…Devon beach walk #1: Strete GateMy Profile

  6. Katie/Squirmy Popple
    January 20, 2016 at 9:52 am

    My husband and I have definitely struggled to make time for ourselves, especially given that our daughter has been a TERRIBLE sleeper. We still haven’t been on a date (she’s 7 months) but try to enjoy any moments we have together, even if it’s just an hour in the evening when we watch a TV show or have a glass of wine. #bestandworst
    Katie/Squirmy Popple recently posted…Hooray for teeth!My Profile

  7. Crummy Mummy
    January 20, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Great post and very honest! I love the 12 dates idea – I might pinch that this Valentine’s Day! #bestandworst
    Crummy Mummy recently posted…Our 3rd blog birthday: WIN £150 worth of prizes!My Profile

    1. Mum in Brum
      January 20, 2016 at 10:48 pm

      I agree – I’m definitely pinching it too! I need to get my thinking cap on for some more creative dates I think 🙂

  8. Sarah Howe (@RunJumpScrap)
    January 20, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    I so agree with this. You have to make time for each other. Hubby and i had a weekend away in early Jan and my Mum babysits now and then so we can go out. We also try and fit in some sexy time most weeks if possible, as you just lose that closeness. It is so important for you both and your little one, so they are getting the best of you. Thanks for sharing with #bestandworst xx
    Sarah Howe (@RunJumpScrap) recently posted…Best and Worst Week #34My Profile

  9. A Cornish Mum
    January 21, 2016 at 9:10 am

    I think if you’re meant to be together a relationship can survive pretty much anything. Definitely agree with Chloe on the date nights, so important to have time just the two of you 🙂
    Thanks for linking up to #Picknmix
    Stevie x

  10. Talya
    January 21, 2016 at 9:26 am

    This really resonates with me. We found that after a year our relationship was also in a not very good place and then we did the same thing and really made a concerted effort to spend time together doing different things. Another year down the line and things are MUCH better. Keeping the spark alive definitely requires a lot of work! Thanks so much for linking up this edition to #coolmumclub lovely xx
    Talya recently posted…Welcome to the #coolmumclub…week 13!My Profile

  11. Natalie @KidGearUK
    January 21, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    Dates are definitely a great idea. Finding alone time is always hard with kids. My husband and I found it quite hard in the first year…we’d get some time to ourselves in the evening but one of the little ones would often wake up. It’s gotten easier and now they’re both at school as sometimes he’ll take the day off work so we can spend the day together.

    1. Mum in Brum
      January 24, 2016 at 9:52 pm

      Hi Natalie, we have just come to the end of the first year with our little one and it has been hard to find time for each other. I’m hoping it will start to get a little easier from here on in now that she’s in a good routine and sleeps through from 7pm – just need to find a decent babysitter! x

  12. Natalie @KidGearUK
    January 21, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    Dates are a great idea. Finding time together is often hard after having kids. My husband & I found the first year the hardest as we’d get time in the evenings but one of the little ones would wake up. Now they’re both at school it’s easier as he can take a day off work and spend it with me and there’s no need for a babysitter. #coolmumclub

  13. Someone's Mum
    January 21, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    We had been together ten years before we had our first child and so the relationship wasn’t quite as shiny. We still have to take time for our relationship too though. We are both teachers and have 2 under 4 so it is a challenge! We have date days in the holidays and have ‘phone free’ evenings where phones are banned and we make the effort to just chat to each other etc 🙂 #KCACOLS

  14. Kate Tunstall
    January 21, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    My husband was worried about this very thing when I was pregnant. But because I have worshiped the ground he walks on since day one, I naively thought the usual pressures would not apply to OUR marriage… Oops.

    We had some teething problems, but I’m happy to say we’ve worked through them and are now planning our first night away from our 16 month old!

    My family is everything, and that means nurturing my marriage as much as my daughter. X
    #coolmumclub
    Kate Tunstall recently posted…I Wish I’d Known THIS Before I Got MarriedMy Profile

  15. Ellie @ Hand Me Down Baby
    January 21, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    That’s such a lovely and honest post.
    When I can finally leave Master J for longer than 2 hours (!! breastfeeding) then we’ll date again…it seems a long way off at the moment! Relationships do take work, but the best thing you can do for your kids is work on and make time for each other.
    #coolmumclub
    Ellie @ Hand Me Down Baby recently posted…The Transition from Nursery to ‘Big Girl’ Bedroom (Part 1)My Profile

  16. Angela at Daysinbed
    January 22, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    I struggle to relate to this and find it really interesting. My hubby joined our family when Sylvia was five so there was no us before the child. Thanks for the interesting read! Angela stopping by from #BestandWorst
    Angela at Daysinbed recently posted…Lovely Things Helping Me Overcome AbuseMy Profile

  17. A Moment with Franca
    January 23, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    I understand this very well as it is not easy to have the same life that you used to before you had kids. We are trying to find a balance too and we would like to set aside one night per week just for us if impossible. It is nice to find out a little bit more about Chloe. Thanks so much for sharing this at #KCACOLS. I would love to see you again on Sunday! 🙂 x
    A Moment with Franca recently posted…Marula Oil ReviewMy Profile

  18. My Petit Canard
    January 24, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    I love this, such an honest post and so useful too. I completely agree with the notion of date nights. The husband and I have a pretty poor track record of actually following through on them, but when we do it really is the best thing. I love that you guys have mixed it up too with lots of different things to do too :-). Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays

  19. Something Crunchy Mummy
    January 28, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    Great post. I think if you work at a relationship and it’s meant to be it will survive anything. It’s very important to make time for each other, we find this hard as we don’t have our parents close to babysit but we still make time at home. Film night with sweets, popcorn and cuddles. #coolmumclub xx

  20. […] on the #UsAfterYou guest post series, Chloe shared some of the fun dates she and her partner went on to reintroduce the spark into their relationship following the birth of […]

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