When a reader requested this post last week, I got so excited to start writing it because I have so much to say and it’s a great topic that seems to get talked about a lot in a negative way, but needed to be painted in a more positive light.
When I was pregnant with Amalia, I read a book called How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids. A few friends recommended it because they had terrible time in their marriages after their babies were born. The book scared the crap out of me but also prepared me for the worst.
Turns out, in my situation anyway, my relationship didn’t implode the way everyone said it would!
Preparing for life after baby…
After reading that book and talking to my friend Bailey about it (She has three boys so she’s a pro), Anel and I sat down a few weeks before my due date to go over a few things. That conversation set the tone for how everything is going now so I’m beyond grateful that we had it. Here is what we discussed:
1. What we were each most scared about in having a baby.
2. How we would divide the workload around the house. Logistics don’t seem important but emotional labor is real, and this at least got him thinking about it more.
3. What each of our strengths and weaknesses are and therefor who would handle what with Amalia. For example I knew I couldn’t deal with her getting shots alone so he’d have to commit to being at those appointments.
4. Our schedule and who would take care of her when.
5. A code word that we could use when things got really tough. This was a suggestion from Bailey and I love it. The idea is that when the baby is crying and everyone is sleep-deprived, and one of you just needs a break or a minute to breathe, say the word. The other parent will take over for a while no matter what. We actually haven’t even used it yet, but I’m glad we have it in our back pocket.
The making of a dad…
I always knew Anel would be an incredible dad. Every kid (and dog for that matter) loves him, and he can get literally any baby to stop crying (except ours when she only wants a boob!). But when I saw him with Amalia, it was heart melting. His love for her goes beyond any love I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s beautiful how his face lights up when he sees her face after a long day. And hers does the same. Pretty sure we have a daddy’s girl on our hands!
In the first weeks after her birth, he changed every diaper, gave her every bath, and was totally hands on. Now that he’s working more and I’m home with A, that has obviously changed, but he’ll do whatever he can whenever he can, which is more than a lot of the dads I know.
His love for her and the effort he puts in with her makes me, in turn, love him even more.
But what about our relationship?
The sentiment there is great and all, but our marriage is what this post is about and something that we both want to continue to prioritize despite our giant life change. It’s harder now to go on dates, but we’ve gone on 3 or 4 and enjoyed every minute of them. They feel so much more special now that they’re so rare.
Instead, we do date nights at home after she goes to bed. We’ll open a bottle of wine and connect without TV or phones, the same way you might at a restaurant.
Those mini home date nights are restorative and important! We try not to talk about A the whole time, but it’s pretty hard. Inevitably, we end up taking out our phones to watch videos of her from that day. I never thought I’d be that parent but I am.
What’s been most challenging for me is that the workload around the house has quadrupled (at least) and I bear the brunt of it. From the minute I wake up until the minute I go to sleep I’m rushing around cleaning things up, doing laundry, trying to get my actual work done, taking care of the dog, etc etc etc. Like every mom I know, it’s part of the game and we just get it done, but man is it exhausting!
It’s a constant conversation, though, and he’s open to talking about it so I feel super lucky in that regard.
The other challenge is feeling like a couple and not just a mommy and daddy. The date nights help but I think we need to get out more which I’m feeling more and more comfortable doing as she gets older.
I’ve fallen even more in love with my husband since we’ve had a baby. To see this big man being so compassionate with a tiny baby girl is just the cutest thing maybe in the universe. We’ve had logistical challenges for sure, but staying open and communicating on the reg keeps us in check. Don’t let all the mommies out there scare you. You don’t have to hate your husband after kids!
How have your relationships changed after having kids? PS Read my other favorite post about marriage here.