“Happy wife, happy life?”.
We hear that phrase thrown around and for me, it’s dangerous.
It doesn’t rhyme nearly as well but I believe the phrase should be more like “Happy individual, happy couple, healthy relationships, happy and healthy kids”.
Kind of rolls off the tongue, right? You get the idea though.
You would generally consider that a healthy relationship between yourself and your spouse would be the best environment to bring up your child, and you would be correct. Children thrive in environments where they feel safe, secure and stable.
When that situation is disrupted due to constant arguments or a general feeling of unease between partner’s children will be receptive to this negative atmosphere and this can have a dramatic effect on their overall happiness and can even continue to stay with them into adulthood.
A study of children six years after a parental marriage breakup revealed that even after all that time, these children tended to be “lonely, unhappy, anxious and insecure. These insecurities can remain with them their entire lives. (Wallerstein “The Long-Term Effects of Divorce on Children” Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 1991).
What am I getting at with this? It’s not only important for you to get your marriage or partnership right, it’s important for your kids!
First thing you need to remember, especially when you haven’t had kids before is that you are BOTH in this together. It’s not her job to raise kids, it’s not your job either, it’s both of your responsibilities to do what is best for them, and sometimes part of that responsibility is maintaining and building your own relationship together.
The first year of having a child can be overwhelming and difficult for some families, and this is where early fractures can occur – it’s important to remember some basic information. Such as:
- You’re tired? So is she. Take it in turns, don’t let her do everything because you feel burnt out, she could resent you for it, especially when she looks back.
- Time to yourself? That’s important too, but so is her time. If she’s looking after baby at home all day, that is not downtime. Not being in work doesn’t mean she isn’t working. Remember that. You will often come home to have the baby handed to you while she goes for a shower, and that shower might take extra-long. Let her have the downtime.
- Look after her – If she looks tired give her a break, or she looks down talk to her or give her time to see her girlfriends and have some fun, or she’s hungry make her a meal. Make effort.
- She might not always look amazing, especially when she’s been cleaning up sick all day on 3 hours sleep, when she does feel like making an effort, such as when she’s had her hair done or put some makeup on to leave the house notice it, and tell her she looks incredible!
Most importantly, talk. Communication is the key to every relationship. Make time to engage your partner, laugh, joke, cry, but always engage. Sitting in silence watching TV is ok sometimes, but don’t slip into that routine of making no effort with one another. You won’t always be able to have ‘date night’ and she won’t always want to have sex (but if you make no effort at all she certainly won’t!), but as long as you make effort and communicate with each other parenting your children will be much easier together as a team.
I’m not telling you anything you haven’t already thought about, you just need to engage your brain and make sure you switch on for her sake, and yours. When she sees you making effort and looking after her she will look after you and together, as a team you will be able to overcome the obstacle of becoming new parents or having children in your life and forgetting about each other.