When you are a first time parent you will quickly begin to notice that the relationship between you and your spouse changes dramatically. Prior to the arrival of the little one, you had endless time to travel, go for dinner with friends, make impromptu plans to go away for the weekend or invite friends over, or even just to put your feet up and relax watching movies as a couple. This all ends when you have a baby. The newborn stage isn’t too bad as the baby sleeps for most of the day and wakes up to eat and then falls back asleep, so you still have time to cook, or watch a movie together. As the baby gets older, your conversations with your spouse start to revolve only around the baby and sound something like this: “Did she eat?”, “How many times did she pee today?”, “Did she do her big job?”, “How many naps did she have today”, “Did she fall asleep easily?”, “What did she eat today? Was it enough?”. I think that you get the point.
I personally found it very difficult to still have a quality relationship with my husband as I was so tired and cranky, and constantly sleep deprived. He was working a lot and by the time he came home, I was exhausted. Our relationship evolved as we took on our new roles of mom and dad (or as Cubby now affectionately calls us: mama and dada). Cubby is now 17 months old and I can count on my fingers the number of times that my husband and I have done something alone just the two of us. It has been a challenging time to say the least, but after much discussion we have come to the conclusion that a marriage postnatal needs work and effort and most importantly communication. You cannot just assume that those conversations about your child constitute communication between you and your husband. While you are communicating, it is still about your child, and not about the two of you and your relationship. We decided that we need to make the conscious effort to schedule time for just the two of us (AKA: date night).
Cubby has not been the best sleeper throughout her 17 months, so I was always nervous to leave her somewhere and go out in fear that it would wreck her sleep routine and defeat the purpose of my sleep training. I also would feel bad as she wouldn’t sleep through the night if she stayed at either of our parents’ houses so I couldn’t really enjoy myself out if I felt that our parents were exhausted and not sleeping themselves. So needless to say, we haven’t been out much as a couple. We would usually take her with us and then leave earlier so she could go to sleep. Now that I am back at work full time and we have more of a routine, she likes sleeping in her crib and will sleep through the night (usually from 8 pm to around 8 am). It is easier if family come here to babysit so she gets a full night of sleep and they can relax and watch tv and then get some sleep themselves.
Last weekend, was our first date night in a loooooong time! My husband had his work Christmas party and we had his cousin’s birthday so we got all dressed up and hit the town. Luckily, my brother in law and sister in law agreed to come to our house and watch Cubby while we enjoyed our night out. I was super nervous and kept texting my sister in law until about 9pm. They did a great job with Cubby and she was asleep by 830. After I got that final text that she was asleep, I really started enjoying myself! I had some drinks, lots of delicious food, numerous desserts, and I was socializing with everyone. We even ended up going downtown and meeting his cousin for his birthday. It was a great night and much deserved for the two of us.
If I could give any words of advice to the new moms out there, it would be that it is challenging in the beginning and as much as you need to tend to your new mommy duties, you also have to continue to make an effort with your significant other. Plan little date nights here and there, even for a couple hours. Get out of your Lululemons and sweat shirts and go for dinner or even a movie. Trust me, you need that time to yourselves to be a better mommy and wife!