Side Street Style

A family lifestyle, interiors & travel blog

07/10/2015

Relationships after having kids, what I've learnt


couple


Like anything in life relationships need to be constantly worked at, if you neglect yours it will fall apart, it's not always going to be chocolate & roses and realistically it would be boring if it was but there are a few things I have learnt over the past years about living with someone else, building a home and a family whilst still keeping your own individual identities.

John and I met each other in our twenties, we both had previous relationships which had ended and initially even though we got on really well neither of us wanted to settle down, I still wanted to do more solo travel and John had recently moved into his first home and was in the process of renovating it. We spent the first two years building up our friendship first, speaking weekly even when I was overseas then one day at the end of a great summer, when I was living in a van in Cornwall, I headed back home for Johns birthday and he asked me to stay, not leave again and I said yes and well here we are with two wonderful children and home together.





As with most people our relationship it's not perfect and has had it's fair amount of ups and downs but we have made a commitment to each other, have always been open and realistic about things but one of the main positive key points is trust, we trust each other and living with someone you know you can trust is a huge relief as I have been in relationships before when trust has been broken and it's simply never the same after that.

So how does having children effect a relationship? Well let's just say it's pretty much like a bomb going off in the middle of your living room, it destroys that comfortable and calm space you had before and turns it into absolute chaos causing extremes of emotions and feelings. On one end you will feel a love and a purpose to life you have never felt before whilst also being flung head first into exhaustion and sleep deprivation which makes even the most placid person irritable and at times irrational which is often taken out on your equally exhausted other half.



happy couple


So what can you do to make sure your relationship survives such a tsunami of change?

1. Never Ever (and I mean never) have a child to *fix* a relationship. If your currently on the rocks a child is not going to mend it. You need to be really solid to begin with as like I said the change to your life is massive and you need someone you can trust to ride the wave with you.

2. Communication is key - there will be lots of times when I am sure you won't see eye to eye when it comes to various elements within the household such as parenting, work, the home, planning holidays etc but the main thing is to communicate with each other, explain where your coming from and try to meet in the middle rather than just having a huff because he doesn't understand your point of view (they really cannot read our minds so explaining things is key), here is an article on 5 easy ways to effectively communicate - simple but very useful

3. Solidarity - especially in the early days of parenting. I have breast fed both of my children but even so John gets up when the baby wakes in the night, if he is wet he will change him before passing him over to me. Even though this is not a big thing it makes me like I am not alone in this broken sleep.

4. Make time for each other - it's important to make sure you get some one to one time, even if it's just an early morning cup of coffee and then once you have recovered from having a child and feel ready you also need to work on regaining some kind of intimacy. It may not be the most comfortable of subject matters to discuss but it's a very important factor to a relationship. As with all relationships things can get a bit..dare I say...predictable and boring it may be worth just trying something new while staying safe with Durex - I mean do you really want 6 kids, maybe you do and thats cool too.

5. Be a team player - to make a relationship work you need to be a team, even when you don't always agree with each other it doesn't mean you cannot be a pillar of support. Parenting is hard but very rewarding and it can cause a considerable amount of stress on your relationship but only if you let it. Laugh a lot and learnt to relax and everything will be okay in the end.




It can be a hard slog as human nature means we won't always see eye to eye but thats okay, we embrace each other's differences and accept each others quirks but as long as your committed to each other, make time, put in the effort and want to make it work you really can.

This is an associated post

29 comments:

  1. Fab tips - I definitely agree that you need to communicate and keep each other in the loop. I would also add make sure you make time for a regular 'date night' even if this is just a takeaway and a movie. No phones allowed!

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  2. This is a briliant post. I love your description of having children "like a bomb going off..." I need to make more of an effort to be a wife instead of just a mother.

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  3. Greta advice. I don't think I appreciated how children would change our relationship but we are definitely stronger for having them.

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  4. Some lovely practical and positive tips here and needed to as it is super hard work! Tahnks for sharing lovely x

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  5. Great tips. I hope this post goes viral and many people read.

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  6. I completely agree with number 1. I know a few people who have had a child to save their marriage and it's only fuelled the fire and made things worse unfortunately.

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  7. We're planning on trying for a baby once we're married and I just sent this to my partner as I think it is useful advice for us both. I love the solidarity of him getting up with you in the night, I think I'd appreciate that too. :)

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  8. What a brilliant 'this is how we met' story - so romantic! Gorgeous photo at the end of the post, too x

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  9. Great advice here especially number 1. Having a baby is such hard work and will test the majority of relationships

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  10. Kids or no kids ..... All relationships need to be worked on, or you become just two people living in a house together.
    We rarely get a so called date night, but me and the hubs do as much together as possible. But, we also like to have me time, and see our own friends.
    Great tips! And dont forget the Sex!

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  11. Great post, having children would affect your relationship, it's such a big commitment for both of you.

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  12. All the above are very true, it is hard work to keep a relationship going and not get in a rut. I was in a miserable long term relationship, before I met my husband and we both work hard to keep it going, and you need the downs to appreciate the ups and to keep the ups going x

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  13. These are some great tips - even when you don't have kids you sometimes need to remember to enjoy time together. x

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  14. I agree being a team player helps ALOT! Also making time for each other.

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  15. Kids are amazing, but they can really change a relationship if you're not careful. It takes a bit of work, and a lot of understanding to keep things on track I think

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  16. Great advice!
    I think my husband and I had just changed too much through our lives (I met him when I was 18) for us to last the upheaval that is children but we gave it a really good go! Kids are definitely core-shaking at any point to a relationship x

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  17. Great tips, glad you are still together, relationships with anyone are all about give and take:-)

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  18. The "like a bomb going off in the middle of your living room" is an analogy I hear quite often with relation to children x

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  19. I totally agree with your points. It's always baffled me when people have a baby to fix their relationship. Anyone who already has a child will know that that is a bad idea. Myself and my now husband were sort of flung together when I found I was pregnant at 18 after only 5 months together. Now over 15 years on, 3 children, cancer, surgery, illness, depression, university studies, homelessness, moving etc, we are stronger than we ever were because we've learnt that communication is the key to everything. Affection, communication and respect :)

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  20. It really can be hard keeping a relationship together when you have children can't it! It takes work sometimes but it is worth it! Great tips!

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  21. Relationships are tricky to maintain but its true never have a child to fix a relationship because ultimately it will do the opposite.

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  22. Really good post and great tips! I think in every relationship in life is a lot of work to maintain and keep it healthy

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  23. These are great tips :) thanks for sharing! I don't have kids myself but will bear this in mind for in future x

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  24. great post, these are some really important things to keep in mind, realationships are hard before kids and really do take so much work. I'm lucky I still have the support of my daughters dad even though we are not together and we still make the effort to work together and communicate now

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  25. This is a fab post! Probably something people wouldn't want to write about but are wondering

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  26. Point two is spot on - communication is key - always!

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  27. Great post. You're so right. It makes your relationship more difficult and yet stronger too. You definitely need to keep working at it. Lovely photos of you both. xxx

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  28. Oh your story is so lovely - great advice here, so true. I will apply them in my next relationship! ;) Kaz x

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  29. This is such an interesting post. You have a beautiful family.

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Lovely comments

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