Let’s just get it out there: parenting is hard.
That’s right, no beating around the bush here.
When you first envisioned having children, I can already guess what you imagined parenting to be:
Reading on the sofa together, going for walks in the nature, scavenger hunts and all those other fun activities.
Don’t get me wrong, occasionally that does happen but that’s usually drown out by the incessant snack-demanding, whining and toddler tantrums that go with.
So, it’s only normal that your love life takes a back burner. I mean, who got time for that s*** right?
The misconception of love
See, all our lives we’ve been spoon-fed this romanticized version of love. This idea that we have to go on dates every week, buy each other gifts and make huge sacrifices.
All that just doesn’t give within a marriage or long-term relationship with kiddos.
Or rather, we seek out this incredible, heart-tugging sensation that we believe is love, instead of realizing that love can also be:
Because I bet if we count the above, you’d definitely say that there’s still love in your marriage.
So why are we often unsatisfied?
You don’t have the energy
I get it. You’ve been chasing after these little creatures all day and when you finally get to tuck them in at night (and they actually stay in their own bed, lol) you just flop on the sofa.
You might attempt to watch something together, but you risk falling asleep and snoring on your partner’s chest.
You might try to start a bit of conversation, only to feel like your brain is fried and suddenly all the items on your to-do list for tomorrow start flooding in.
It’s just exhausting picking up a toddler in your arms all day mama! If you’re breastfeeding, you’re basically burning calories by the minute and if you’re lucky enough to have a 7-going-on-13-year-old…
We take on so many tasks as mamas. Rarely do we take the opportunity to just rest – who has time for that?
That leads to two things:
- Feeling burned out and sore
- Loathing husband who lays on sofa doing nothing
Not the best combination for a thriving love life, eh?
Changes in libido
All these factors lead to hormonal changes in our bodies, which in turn can leave us with low libido.
And it’s actually hormonal! That doesn’t mean that it can’t be changed, but it doesn’t just feel as easy as ‘getting in the mood’.
The changes in libido then have a ripple effect on your relationship, as you don’t have an outlet for all that accumulated stress and hence argue with each other more often.
I’m putting this in here cause I’m one of the most guilty of this one!
Seriously though, sex for women is a very emotional experience as well as physical – which is why if something’s up with us, we’re probably not going to want to get it on in the bedroom.
Holding a grudge gives us a sense of power, because being the better person, giving in or forgiving can often feel like failure.
Especially when we want something.
This is a no-brainer for most families.
Trying to juggle work and home is one of the most difficult challenges parenthood can offer you.
No matter whether you work outside the home, work as a freelancer or work with the kids (cause taking care of babies is work!) it can often feel like we’re running between duties.
So what little time we do have left, we’re more prone to save for ourselves and zone out rather than spending quality time with our spouse.
For any relationship to thrive, of course it needs time – but it’s all about savouring the little moments you do get together.
Here are some tips if you want to give yourself (just a little bit) more for your marriage.
Love begins to mature when we begin to see things from another perspective.
Sure, we may not always feel like making dinner or doing the laundry. No one does.
But what if we, say left dinner out with a note next to it when we know the other will be home late?
Or heat up a tea when it’s gone cold?
This works both ways, and is a great way of showing your love through the Love Language of Acts of Service.
If you don’t know what I’m on about, you can look up 5 Love Languages online and go through the test.
I know this may not always be possible for a family with different timetables. You might get home at the same time, but then there’s soccer practice and errands to run.
So even if you can’t make a whole meal together during the week, perhaps make it a thing to eat together on the weekend.
Keeping this tradition helps the communication flow rather than getting caught up in our heads.
It’s one of my favourite childhood memories in fact, thinking about all those laughs and jokes and chatter we had.
Of course, eat with your kids – but don’t forget to catch your partner’s eye from time to time. Sometimes you can say so much with just a glance!
Yeah this goes with what I said about holding grudges earlier. As a queen grudge holder, I can firmly say it’s not easy.
I mean, I don’t hold it for a long time but I can definetly stay in a sour mood for a few hours or so, until approached by my partner with a loving hug.
Do take time to reflect, meditate on the topic that’s causing your trouble – but don’t go overboard.
Life’s too short to live in a constant mood. I like to use a little sequence like this:
- Identify the problem
- Understand why it bothers you
- Is my reaction trauma-based?
- Does it bring up old patterns?
- Work it out
- Make up
Write it down
Sometimes wrods don’t come easy, especially after a long day of working and parenting.
We often hear journaling talked about in all other areas of life – so it’s only natural that it can be used as couple therapy too!
By couple therapy, I don’t mean huge essays of text so don’t get scared away! (though if that’s necessary, go ahead)
You can choose to write down something as simple as what made you smile about the other partner, or go deeper into what you’d like to change in your relationship.
I think this exercise is pretty good for when you need to talk about serious – writing it down ensures you get all your points across, rather than stumbling over your words because = mom brain.
Spend time together
I know how little time there is – even 10 minutes cuddling on the sofa before you go to bed will allow you to sleep with your heart at peace.
Yes, watching series counts as being together.
Watching a series is one of my favourite ways to spend time with my partner – granted, we don’t do it every night but when we do it’s special.
Just feeling the warmth of his body and stroking his hair is good enough for me.
One of the biggest things about spending time together is to actually spend quality time (another Love Language for ya!).
That means, just for a few minutes, phones down and no screens.
There are also other ways you can spend time together – you can always try a quiz or game!
Wrapping it up…
Adapting to new roles as parents is difficult – more so than we first believe.
By keeping some of the things I’ve mentioned in mind, we can learn to work as a team rather than keeping tallies on who-does-what.
As always, thanks for reading and let me know what you think in the comments below!