Once you have a baby, you might find that you and your spouse are bickering way more than you use to over the silliest of things. Learning so many new things to take care of your little one, while being sleep deprived, does not make the best combination. There are more things that need to be done with little time to complete them; all while trying to do personal stuff for you as well when you can. No new parent will tell you it is easy, but being able to manage it properly will help and also keep a positive relationship between you and your spouse.
Being on the same team
From day one, you want to make sure that you and your spouse are on the same team. You cannot do it alone; you each may need to give and take, so you remain a team. Starting with a united front will come in handy as your child gets older. The first thing you should have discussed even before the baby was your parenting style. You will want to decide do you guys want to use pacifiers, will you use the cry it out method to sleep train, who is feeding the baby and at what times? You don’t want to be discussing this at 3 am when your baby is inconsolable and you do not have any idea what is wrong. Both of you will be sleep deprived, at your wit’s end, and easily agitated.
As your child gets older, you won’t want them to try and put one parent against the other or have one of you play good cop/bad cop. You need to come up with how you will discipline your child, what are the rules and consequences. This way your child does not try to divide and conquer. Trust me, they learn to do this quicker than you think!
The other task that you want to be on the same team is household chores. Once you have a baby, the laundry piles up, the dishes pile up, and instead of going tit-for-tat with each saying, “I did this once yesterday,” etc, come up with a system. We each have responsibilities in my house, this way we aren’t going at each other about silly things. Also, when it comes to the children’s toys, teach them to clean them up, so you both do not get frustrated stepping on Lego men!
Money, it doesn’t fall from trees
Children cost a lot of money, and will continue draining your bank account for years to come! You and your spouse need to discuss who will watch your child (ren), how much will it cost, what programs you will want to sign them up for, etc. You also want to keep in mind, are you okay with a smaller house if one parent stays home or taking one less vacation? People may not realize how much money becomes an issue in a marriage until you have to pay a large sum of money just to maintain the life of another human. Have this discussion early on, this way there are no surprises and it does not need to become a central issue.
You and your spouse might see each other a lot, heck you might have even spent the entire weekend with them, but not really with them. It is very easy to get caught up in the family life and spend all of your time as a family doing amazing activities and traveling. You have nightly dinners with each other, but what did you and your spouse actually get to talk about in between children asking for more pasta or wanting a drink, or wanting to be done? Setting aside time for a date night is essential. Try to at least have a date night once a month where you get to go out, have a nice dinner, and talk like adults should. It is so important for you and your partner to maintain the relationship you had prior to having children.
Here come the grandparents!
It is wonderful to have grandparents who want to be involved in your child’s life, however, it is not wonderful if they think your child needs four parents. You need to set boundaries and limits with grandparents. Often, they will just speak their mind and after all of your hard work getting baby to nap on their own, etc. they just messed it all up by holding them while they slept for an hour or more. Not only that, some grandparents think it is okay to stop by any time now. Yet, it is not. You need privacy. You need to set ground rules when the baby comes, this way you don’t start getting annoyed with your spouse about their parents, and by your future babysitters!
Balance – a new family!
You are starting your new family now, and although family comes first, it is imperative to keep a positive relationship with your spouse. Make sure to become a team, work together, and don’t let the little things cause problems. Make time for each other and enjoy your nights out alone! Remember who made this family; it started with the love from the two of you!