Marriage shift after children - HELP!
Q: Help, I feel like I’ve lost my husband! Our relationship was perfect before becoming parents, we would laugh, go out, he was my best friend but with the strain of a 4 year old and a 2 yr. old, I feel we just aren’t spending enough time together. We have started fighting and he just looks unhappy all the time. How would you recommend I reconnect with my husband and have "me time" so I’m not a "mum - ALL THE TIME!!!!!!
A: I personally blame Barbie for this unrealistic view of motherhood and relationships. Growing up we all saw how she swung from fantastic career to fantastic career, looking amazing, keeping a palatial home, ensuring her perfect little blonde child looked as incredible as she did and holding on to that hottie Ken. Because let’s be honest, motherhood and relationships post baby aren’t like a Barbie playset AT ALL! In fact, the truth is more painful than standing barefoot on a Lego at 1am.
It all starts when you’re pregnant. Everyone asks how the baby is. No one asks how you are. You’re merely the vessel carrying this little miracle. Unfortunately, that continues on after the baby arrives. It’s all about bub. You stop feeling like a saucy minx and more like a sauce covered kitchenhand. You run around after your babies, making lunches, doing laundry, going to work, cleaning up, making dinner and eventually after everything is done and dusted, you fall asleep, mouth open, snoring, still holding onto your half full glass of wine while hubby watches the same segment of Fox Sports for the third time. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it?
No. It really doesn’t.
Now. Cast your mind back to the pre-child days where you and your man lived life LOUD. The most important questions were things like where to eat that night or where to take your latest mini-break. You were a sexier than Margot Robbie in the Wolf of Wall Street and your hubby’s efforts in the romantic stakes made Ed Sheeran look like a pitiful amateur.
Fast forward to today. A minibreak is being able to go to the toilet by yourself. Sex is a statement of gender. Romance is your husband asking if you want a hand to put the kids to bed. Where you go to eat, is entirely dependent on whether or not they have a kids menu, close onsite parking and close to home so you can drive your tired, screaming children home with minimal fuss.
Doesn’t really paint a romantic, rose tinted picture.
Let’s break it down into pieces. First and foremost, let’s start with you. No one feels sexy when you’re dressed in leggings and a t-shirt that’s covered in this afternoon’s apricot and banana. You don’t have time to do your hair. Your leg hair has probably gotten so long that people are now describing it as “lush”. And you’re tired. Oh my, the fatigue. All of this is not conducive to an electric love life. Or, let’s be honest, it’s not even conducive to open communication. Mothers have the tendency to put everything and everyone before themselves. It’s an evolutionary little thing that we’ve picked up along the way. And while mothers these days seem to pride themselves on just how much they put their family before themselves, it’s really not doing any of us any favours at all. An unhappy mother is an ineffective mother. Kids pick up on emotion. You need to have some time to focus on YOU. What do YOU need to be happy? Forget about hubby for the minute. Let’s just talk about YOU. What made you happy before the kids were born? Is this still within the realms of possibility? I mean, sure, backpacking across the wilds of Peru would make most people happy, but we have to work on what is possible. For me, I am a beach bum from way back. My escape is the ocean. When I had my twins, when I needed to reconnect with who I used to be, I hit the beach for the day. Remembered what it felt like to be kid free. Felt the underrated freedom of only carrying a beach bag as opposed to a nappy bag, lunch bags, spare clothes, a double pram… the list goes on. So think about what YOU need to reconnect to the old you. What makes you, YOU. Whatever it is, do it. Call a family member, a friend, put the kids in day-care for a day, organise a babysitter if you absolutely have to and go out and enjoy the peace and freedom of being you the woman. Not you the wife and mother. Do it once a week. Once a fortnight. Once a month. Whatever your budget and schedule will allow. Feel human again. Feel sexy. Dress up. Dress down. Do whatever. The trick is to strike a nice balance between the old you and the new you. And remember: you deserve to feel gorgeous.