Dear Band of Mamas,
I’m struggling to find balance with my partner and our relationship after having kids. It’s seemed like the last two years since our son was born have been so high and so low for our relationship. The fights always seem to be about the same things. I feel like part of the struggle is not having enough one on one time with each other. We both work odd hours and don’t have a ton of help outside immediate family. I want to be with my partner for the long term but don’t know how to get off the Ferris wheel of fighting. Help!
Dear Ferris Wheel Fighter,
If you aren’t singing the song of marriage or relationships, I don’t know who is! What I can tell you, is that this is a completely normal part of “life after kids.” It is not easy and not a lot of women talk about marriage or relationship struggles–not because we don’t care, but because it often takes a backseat to the many current events involving our kids, ie: teething, illness, coverage if daycare is closed, arranging rides… And because these things require immediate attention, things that can wait, wait… And while not intentional, your marriage, your relationship, is equally as important and deserves the same immediate attention.
My initial thoughts are to take the reins in terms of creating time; women are often the “timekeepers of life” and therefore, schedule that date night, book that sitter, and get out together. There might be nights where no words are said while you’re out– or maybe it’s just being in the same space and watching a show after the kids go to bed. But I can assure you, if you keep communicating your needs and expectations, while allowing your partner to do the same, you will overcome this up and down cycle after kids. It is important to allow yourself the space to let your partner know what you need; in turn, give that same time back.
Other options might include making a plan to see a counselor to gain some new strategies, or scheduling time once a week (or even every other, to start) where you just talk about the highs and lows you’ve got on your mind. Heather DuBrow from Real Housewives of Orange County recently said, “Marriage has good days and bad days. And sometimes it’s good years and bad years.” And this is so true. Keep working hard… Band of Mamas is rooting for you! You’ve got this 🙂