At the risk of sounding too corny, just like everyone else on the planet (okay maybe not everyone– I just got a visual of Hitler!)- as a Mum you need to feel loved.
I can hear some of you saying, “Well that’s easy- Mum’s are loved by their kids, their partner, their friends…” But I didn’t say that Mum’s need to be loved, but they need to feel loved. And as a Mum you know straight away what I’m talking about, and the vast difference between the two.
Mums would have to be right up there in the ‘most important people in the world’ stakes, so why are we also one of the most undervalued groups on the planet? It’s simple, we’re Mum!
Mums do anything for their kids- it just comes with the territory. And if you’re a loving mother, odds are you’re a loving partner, sister, daughter and friend as well. This trait of self giving is inherent, wonderful, and essential in our roles as Mums.
It’s important though to realise that we are not super resilient, and so need to get a healthy return of love and care shown towards us in order to maintain our happiness and wellbeing.
For most Mums, having a baby flips your once harmonious and loving relationship with your partner on its head- at least temporarily if not for longer! All of a sudden the person who was your best friend and lover now feels like your worst enemy.
Quiet nights on the couch for snuggles with a bottle of red have been replaced with the chaos of nappy changes, feed times and all things baby. Your relaxing sleep-in on the weekend is a thing of the past, and you find yourself barking at your partners every move as heaven forbid that he might wake the baby and so rob you of a tiny rest period!
Finally, and I left it until last on purpose because in the early days it’s the LAST thing on your mind- there’s the topic of intimacy… After what you’ve probably been through if not during the pregnancy then definitely during the birth- the only thing you probably would even consider spending energy on outside of looking after your bub is climbing into bed, feeding/watering yourself or maybe taking a shower!
Unlike the expectant Mum who has been diligently reading up and so mentally preparing for all these challenges since the moment she conceived- the partner quite often has not considered that there was a need for him to do any pre-reading and so he probably have a cute but rather unrealistic idea that nothing much would change in your lives except that there would be a little baby to love and cuddle. So the full picture is understandably a bit of a rude shock for him.
All of the above points combined make for a couple of pretty grumpy parents until things settle down a bit and you both get the hang of living with your little one. The key is to not let it go on so long that it becomes a permanent feeling of agitation between you and the bond of love that has always held you tightly together is now getting neglected.
The advice I’m going to give in this section is relevant whether you are a new Mum or have older kids. It’s advice that in my personal experience has proved invaluable to maintaining a healthy and happy relationship with your partner. When you have a baby, the ‘us’ of your relationship tends to blur a little (or a lot!).
I’m sure you’ve heard of at least one couple who separated after decades of being married once the kids left home? Well, at the risk of making a gross generalization- you’ve got to wonder if their relationship was forgotten over time and replaced with all things family, and so when the kids left- they had no ‘us’ left to stick around for in the end.
So how do you preserve and nourish the love in your relationship with your partner once you’ve had kids? – I hear you asking me! I’m so glad you asked because what I’m about to tell you will go a long way towards keeping the ‘us’ healthy. It’s called- ready for it? The Date Night…
I can hear you thinking, “date night?? Are you out of your mind? We don’t have the time or energy for that kind of thing!” But believe me; it is worth the investment of both time and energy. All of us have at least one person we can trust to mind our baby for a couple of hours- the odds are that you have a very long list of people who are lining up to babysit!
You’re probably wondering, what’s so life changing and relationship saving about a lousy date night. Well, it gives you and your partner a rare opportunity where the two of you can be the sole focus for a bit, it’s a chance to reinvest in your love and relationship, to discuss your hopes and dreams, share how life’s treating you at the moment and maintain (or restore!) a little romance. See what I mean? Date nights are vital.
My hubby and I went on our first date night when our son was about 9 weeks old. I quite distinctively remember looking across the table at him and thinking, “oh right, I remember you- we bought a house together, loved each other enough to get married and had this beautiful baby together! Hey, I miss you and ‘us’- so glad we’re doing this dinner!”
So go on, find a night in the not too distant future when you can organise someone to care for your little one/s and book a table at that restaurant you both love. At the risk of being pushy- go and do it now before you get distracted and forget all about it!
No really, take a look at your calendar and pick a day. Trust me- you’ll be glad you did!