How To Prioritize Your Relationship Through Parenthood

As most of you know, I am a stay-at-home mom to five amazing kids, so you can say that I’ve been down the road of trying to figure out balancing all of my hats: especially when it comes to navigating parenthood and marriage at the same time. It’s not an easy task, balancing it all, but it is doable. One thing that is for sure is that parenthood definitely has the potential to really change a relationship, especially if the journey into parenthood is new.

Afterall, you are stressed, you are more than likely sleep deprived, and you feel as if you can’t put your relationship first anymore - at least not while you have a newborn. You are dealing with a lot of change, so please know that it’s normal to feel this way, but also know that you can work through them and you will find a way to prioritize your relationship!

The good news is that despite all the tough hits a relationship can take on after having a child, many people do say that their bond becomes stronger and deeper. You are not just a pair anymore - you are a family. If you can work through the rough stuff, you will be building a strong foundation to weather the highs and lows that parenthood - and life - can bring your way. You aren’t doing it on your own, you are doing it as a team, which can really help stress levels.

Navigating the waters of managing it all can be tricky, but I want to help you learn how to prioritize your relationship through parenthood. Here are a few ways to do so and a few things to know, as well:

Set Up Time Alone
Drop the kids off at the grandparents, a friends house, or find a babysitter every so often. Set a goal and stick with it! For example, if one date night a month is do-able for you, make that your goal! My friend's pediatrician recommended her to go out with her husband, without the baby, twice a month. This way, they were able to talk, relax, spend time together, and really work on their relationship at least those two times. In order to spend quality time with your partner, you need to set aside time for them - without the kids!

Recognize That This Is Hard For Both Of You
It’s human nature to play the ‘who has it worse’ game, but try to remember that both of you are dealing with different situations and both of you are still going through major identity shifts. Although your roles might look different from one another, it does not mean that the other person is not struggling as much as you are. It might just be in a different way! Your experiences may look different, but still be equally as intense. Acknowledging that will help you both be more understanding with one another and it can lead to a stronger relationship overall.

Talk WIth Someone
I am a huge advocate for mental health awareness and believe that everyone needs to prioritize their mental health, as well as the mental health of their family members. If you are struggling in your relationship, find someone to talk to - someone that can help you! The key is to find a professional counselor that you trust. Ray of Hope Counseling Services offers therapy Athens, Marietta, Kennesaw, and other locations around the Georgia area. In addition, they also offer online therapy to those who are concerned about COVID-19, do not live in the area, or do not have the time to go in.
They aim to help, heal, and strengthen people when it comes to life changes and challenges, so no matter what you are going through, they can help. Their goal is to provide a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere so that you guys feel comfortable. They do not only do marriage counseling, though. They treat clients from the age of 3 to geriatric! From individual, group counseling, marriage counseling, and family counseling, they do it all! Sometimes you just need to talk it out and a professional counselor can help you do that in order to keep your relationship strong.

Being A Little Less Involved Isn’t Always Bad
Do not get me wrong - being involved is a great thing! Your kids need attention, love, and support. It’s vice versa, too. You need all of those things, as well. Even so, there is plenty of evidence that shows that when parents are TOO involved in their kid’s lives, it potentially hinders development of their children’s prefrontal cortices. This means that they could potentially be less resilient. Children with so-called helicopter parents are also at greater risk for developing depression and anxiety over time. Needless to say, do not ignore your children because they need you and it’s not bad to smother them with love. Any parent wants to do that! But, if you need a little less time with your kids and a little more time with your partner, do not feel bad because studies show that it is not harmful to be a little less of a helicopter parent!

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