When you think of babyproofing, you probably imagine making your home safe for your children, such as installing gates, keeping chemicals out of reach and covering up electrical outlets. Well, little do you know that you have to babyproof your marriage, as well.
The arrival of a new child can be exciting, but also daunting for first-time parents. Babies do not come with instructional manuals and navigating the first few years of this person’s life can be exhausting, to say the least. Raising a child is a lot of work and many new parents are surprised that they are pretty much on their own once they leave the hospital. This can lead to a lot of frustration in a marriage as couples try to figure out how to best care for their child.
The risk of divorce increases after the birth of a baby. Two-thirds of couples reported a decline in satisfaction of their marriage after their first baby was born. This lack of satisfaction occurs within nine months after the baby’s birth. So how can you keep your marriage intact after the baby makes three? Here are some ways to babyproof your marriage and avoid divorce.
Understand Your New Identity
Once your baby is born, you and your spouse become a mother and father. This is a huge change in identity. It can cause you to change how you feel on certain subjects such as money, careers, and religion. You and your spouse will need to discuss these changes and the values you will want to hold onto as you navigate parenthood. How will you model your own parents? Be open and honest and talk about your fears and hopes. Communication is important during this time and you want to make sure you and your spouse are on the same page.
Prioritize the Marriage
Many couples make the mistake of focusing solely on the new baby. The baby wants all your love, time, and attention. You could say that they are greedy. They do not care if you do not have any time to spend with the other parent.
While your new baby is important, you also want to keep your identity as spouses, as well.
This means doing things without the baby, such as going for a walk or going out on a date. It can be hard to trust someone to care for the baby, but you two need time alone. Your marriage depends on it.
Make Time for Intimacy
Once the baby comes, you and your spouse still need to make time for intimacy. This may seem impossible right after the birth of a baby, but keep in mind that intimacy does not have to equal sex. Hugging, cuddling, and kissing can help you two stay physically connected.
Get Enough Sleep
Once the baby comes, sleep may seem like a distant memory. With a baby getting up to eat every few hours, it can be difficult to get enough rest. Work with your spouse to create a schedule that allows you both to get adequate sleep. If your husband has to get up in the mornings to go to work, then you may let him sleep most of the time, but agree that he must stay up with the baby on his days off. Mom should be allowed to sleep in at least once a week.
If you are having trouble getting enough rest, do not be afraid to ask for help. Ask a friend or family member to help out so you can sleep. Sleep is very important for physical and mental health. When you are overly tired, it is easy to feel irritable and anxious, so strive to get well-rested.
Lower Your Expectations
Many couples expect parenthood to be a fun experience, as babies smile, sit up, play with toys and hit milestones such as crawling and walking. These are happy experiences, but there is much more to parenthood. It also involves poopy diapers, messy clothes, spitting up, feeding issues, non-stop crying and sleepless nights.
Babies create chaos, so prepare for the worst. Do not feel like you have to spread yourself thin and be perfect. It is just not possible, so do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Learn to let go of some things. Take it one day at a time. Talk to your spouse to see how they can help out without you going insane.
You want to make sure both parents are involved in baby care duties, so keep things positive. It is easy to get angry at your spouse when things do not go as planned. Maybe your spouse put the baby’s clothes on the wrong way or was too tired to get up in the middle of the night. Things happen, but try to stay positive. Stop keeping score and avoid being angry or resentful. In fact, try to give compliments when you can, especially if your spouse is doing his best. They will be greatly appreciated.
Seek Legal Help
Marriages change once kids arrive. The birth of a baby can lead to immense exhaustion and stress. Spouses tend to spend less time with each other, causing marriages to fall apart.
When there is too much tension from parenting, this can trickle down to the marriage and children, eventually leading to divorce. Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler can help you deal with a divorce with children. Schedule a consultation today. Call (954) 346-6464 or fill out the online form.