Nurturing your marriage after kids

28 January 2019

It has been 5 years since we became parents.
It seems a really long time ago but at the same time as if it was yesterday.

I remember us driving to the hospital together as Jack was a planned c-section, I remember us both nervously holding hands and waiting in the pre-op room.  I was so impatient and just itching to meet our baby.  I knew our lives were going to change forever but nothing can prepare you for having kids.  Nothing!

If I think of our relationship before kids - it wasn't all plain sailing.  My sister passed away the year we got engaged which lead to a lot of emotional trauma, a lot of drinking, a lot of healing and drifting apart a bit.  Our weddings were wonderful, but in hindsight - I would of kept it much smaller and simpler and saved that money but that's a conversation for another day.

After I stopped drinking, we definitely argued less and had a calmer, peaceful relationship.  I think Jack bought us together too and I will always treasure 2014.  It was a magical year for me.

A lot has happened since then.  Falling pregnant with Harry, deciding we wanted to move country, actually moving country and pretty much starting over here in Cape Town - that is a lot of stress for a couple to endure.  Put on top of that caring for two kiddos - it is no wonder it is common to lose ourselves along the way.

What I have come to realise is that if we do not have a healthy, strong and supportive relationship ourselves then how can we possibly be the best parents to our boys?

If I picture it in my head - when we met we were hugging.  After marriage we were holding hands and now after having kids, moving country and trying to figure this parenting journey out we have let go of each other.  And now we have to find our way back to each other again.
Sometimes we get hold of each other's fingers but then we slip away again.  Time and energy are given to others, our jobs, kids, and we don't ever put each other on the top of our list.

I know every marriage is different.
Everyone parents differently too - that is where our issues come in a lot is that we can't always agree on how to do things and when we do agree then we worry if we are doing it the "right way".

So, to sum, it has been a tough few years for us in certain aspects (but a LOT of amazingly happy things too of course!).

That's why this year we have set intentions to:

♥ Love each other first and foremost.
♥ Support, listen to and hug each other everyday.
♥ Have an evening to ourselves every month where we do something different.  A cooking class, a movie, dinner, an adventure.  An evening where we can spend quality time with each other doing something fun.
♥ Look after our health, physically and mentally.
♥ Give each other alone time each weekend.

So what do these intentions look like in real life?

Loving each other first and foremost means - taking the time to talk in the evenings.  Explaining to the kids that there are no interruptions when we are talking. Looking out for each other and putting our needs as a couple ahead of anyone else's.

Supporting each other on hard days, a LOT more hugging and listening to each other's hopes and dreams.  Making sure we cheer each other on whether it be about going to the gym or starting a new business.  When discipline feels like a chore - we tag team and make sure we keep on keeping on.  Being a team is about lifting each other up and lending a hand when the going gets tough.  It is about being in touch with each other's feelings and respecting our needs even if they do not align with our own.

We know a lot of couples who go on a date night every month no matter what - and we aim to do this too.  Spending time together, out of our comfort zone is important and to have fun doing something we don't normally do can make you feel revived and energised.

I am a firm believer in talking about stuff.  It gets it out of your body and your heart and allows you to process things.  Often talking to someone who isn't apart of your personal life can be such a therapy - so that's exactly what I do to keep my mental health in check.  We are big on healthy eating too and pride ourselves in our vegan lifestyle which is becoming easier and easier as time goes on.  We are still transitioning the kids but we will get there!

Both Mani and I love having time to ourselves (who doesn't!!).  So we make it a priority that each weekend we give each other time by ourselves without the kids.  Time to relax, unwind, enjoy the quiet and have some self-care time.  This looks like various things, depending on our schedule but for example last weekend I went away with the boys and this weekend I am going away by myself (CANNOT WAIT!!!).  Often though, we just take turns in taking the boys out for a bike ride or to a park while the other relaxes at home.

Life nowadays is hectic.  Work, school, admin, groceries, social commitments, emotions, stress...these can all take their toll.  And at the end of the day you have to remember to nurture that which is important to you.  A happy marriage with kids is possible - but it is something you have to work on each day.

Have you ever thought about how you can nurture your marriage after becoming parents?
(And for those who don't have kiddo's - it is still obviously very important so I would love to hear from you too).


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