You and your partner can’t wait for your little bundle of joy to arrive. However, you might have many questions, not the least of which is how your new addition might affect your union.
Please don’t stress — instead, prepare yourself for what to expect. Here are five ways your relationship may change after having kids.
1. Address Diverse Parenting Styles
When you first bring your infant home from the hospital, you might not dream that you and your partner will ever argue about how to raise your child. What happens the first time you say no to a sleepover, but your partner says yes?
Sit down with your partner and discuss where you can compromise, and outline circumstances where you draw a firm line in the sand. For example, if you say no to after-school snacks but your partner loves to indulge in post-work ice cream, you could compromise on a certain number of unhealthy treats per week. This approach works far better than banning junk food from your home and having the “nice” parent sneak them in on the sly.
Other times, though, you may need to agree on an absolute. For example, you might insist that your child is too young to date until they reach age 14.
2. Rein in Spending Habits
The average middle-income family spends nearly $300,000 to raise a child to age 18 in the United States. That’s a significant chunk of change — enough to buy a second home.
You can’t put a price tag on family, but you should start to rein in your expenses. Plan on your relationship spending habits changing toward the conservative once you have kids. If you haven’t done so yet, please pad your emergency fund with at least six months worth of living expenses in case of job loss or financial hardship.
Another must for families with young children is life insurance. It takes many people two incomes to support a household these days. Fortunately, you can find term policies that will fit nearly any budget. If you have more wiggle room with your monthly expenses, a whole policy builds a cash principal that you can borrow against when it comes time to send your baby to college.
In general, expect your approach to money management to switch from spending to saving. You can still enjoy the occasional indulgence, but you should communicate a strategy to avoid draining your joint bank account on impulse purchases.
3. Make Time for One Another
If you and your partner got into the habit of spending lazy weekends together over breakfast in bed, you’ll need to rethink your routine once your baby arrives. Infants have a pesky way of interrupting long-standing brunch dates.
You might need to get creative to make time for one another. Maybe instead of ordering takeout, you whip up a new brunch recipe together after feeding your baby and putting them down for a nap. You can both get your fitness fix by taking a family walk — bonus kudos for holding hands.
There’s no rule that you can’t take care of many childcare duties in tandem to increase your couples’ time, at least while your infant is small. Doing so can help ease the perception that one partner does more than the other. New fathers can sometimes feel left out while mothers become overwhelmed — discussing who takes 3 a.m. feedings or sharing them can avoid resentment.
Please learn how to ask for help when you need it. If your parents and in-laws clamor for more time with the baby, why not let them sit while you and your partner enjoy a romantic dinner date? If you have a supportive circle of parent-friends, set up a schedule where you take turns minding the kids while the others get some quiet time.
4. Your Sex Life Will Shift
Your sex life will likely change after giving birth, if only because you can no longer indulge your passions anytime that they strike when you have a third person in the house. Hormonal changes could also affect your libido. In general, you should wait four to six weeks after giving birth before attempting intercourse, although you can certainly be affectionate before then.
5. But You’ll Develop Greater Intimacy
There’s nothing like the joint responsibility of creating and nurturing another human life to bring you and your partner closer together. Enjoy your postpartum period for deepening your intimacy.
If you find yourself struggling, consider attending couples therapy to discover new ways to resolve conflicts in a neutral location. Also, please prioritize getting some sleep. You’ll find that you communicate more effectively when you are well-rested, helping you strengthen your bond.
Expect Some Relationship Changes After Having Kids
Your relationship will change after having kids. Knowing what to expect and being prepared for it can keep your love with your partner going strong!
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