Maintaining Your Marriage When You Have a Newborn
I think a lot about the naiveté my husband and I had before our daughter was born. We seriously thought that she would seamlessly fit into our existing lifestyle, and one of the things that we were so certain would not change was our relationship. I am one of those women who believes you really should put your relationship with your partner a little above that of the relationship with your child. I think that in the end it’s good for everybody. The problem is, it just isn’t all that easy to do.
My daughter is 9 weeks old and it’s been a whirlwind of amazingness being her mom, but what I didn’t even realize was happening was the very thing I thought I wouldn’t let happen; my husband was being sent to the backburner. I felt pretty awful that it took him telling me that he was jealous of our daughter because of the affection and time that she gets from me to realize what had happened, and he felt pretty awful even saying it. By becoming a stay-at-home mom, I was the one to establish her routine, to get to know her cues, likes, and dislikes. I got to see her in the morning when she was happiest and playful, where he mostly saw her at night when she was fussy and sometimes inconsolable. It was understandable that he didn’t have the same bond with her that I did and it was leaving him feeling frustrated, sad, and a little lonely.
So I had to make an adjustment to make sure that everybody was happy. I wish that there was some magical answer for that, but for me I found that getting a little less sleep solved the problem. I started to put my daughter to bed at 8:00 pm (however long it took) and immediately after she fell asleep, instead of promptly passing out like I had been, I spent an hour with my husband. We don’t do much besides talk and watch TV, and there have been times I have fallen asleep on the couch next to him, but it lets us reconnect at the end of the day and be the couple we were before we had a baby, even if it just for a little while.
In reality, losing that hour of sleep doesn’t make me any less or more tired than I would already be in the morning. I love now that my daughter’s day ends with our special time, and my day ends with time with my husband. By making this little change, it made a huge difference in our relationship. He’s happier, I’m happier and our daughter gets to reap the benefits of having happier parents.
Lisa is a breastfeeding, baby wearing, stay-at-home mom of a new baby girl. She loves running, yoga, video games, craft beer and hopes to one day see those things again when the new mommy fog lifts!