Over the weekend, one of my friends and fellow Flex & Flow Yoga instructors asked me how my relationship with my husband has changed (or whether it has changed) since having a baby. I paused for a second to think about it and then found myself saying simply and honestly, “it has made us stronger. We’re an even better team now than we were before.”
While it might sound crazy, idealistic, or worse, like a bold face lie, it’s true: having a baby has strengthened our relationship.
I didn’t say it has made our relationship easier and I’m certainly not saying that we don’t have challenges (because we have plenty); what I am saying is that through all of the difficulty – fatigue, dirty diapers, crying, mood swings (not just the baby), and big life changes, we’ve become a stronger unit. We have learned how to communicate with one another more effectively, how to resolve problems more quickly, and how to be more respectful of each other’s needs and feelings.
When I think back to our pre baby lives and how we used to communicate, and worse, how we used to fight when we weren’t communicating, I have to laugh. I find myself wondering, how did we get anything done? How did we ever operate? And then I remember, oh yeah, we didn’t have a kid. If we didn’t communicate for a period of time, it was fine because there wasn’t anyone else depending on us to sort our shit out. We didn’t necessarily need to work together to shower, workout, eat, or cook – we could do pretty much whatever we pleased without worrying about one another.
As silly as it sounds (and yes, I realize this will sound silly), I sometimes weirdly crave those times; I find myself longing for the days when the big argument of the week was about unmade dinner or laundry. I think about all the times I pouted or really stuck it to him with silent treatment, just to prove a point. The reality is I don’t have time or energy to worry about arguing over that stuff now. If I got all bent out of shape over every unmade dinner, if I pouted, or worse gave him silent treatment for it, I’d really just be shooting myself in the foot. I’d be losing the very partner I need to make everything work. The very person I depend on to laugh with me when it all goes to shit, to be there for me whether I just need a hug after a long, hard day or to know when I just need a break from the chaos. To support me and love me when I feel overwhelmed (sometimes by literal shit). And to remind me I’m strong through all of the challenges.
I truly think the work, sleepless nights, and messy situations have made our family and especially our marriage stronger. More than ever before, we need to be on the same team. We need to work together as partners, parents, and best friends in order to enjoy all of the beautiful, ugly, messy, and awkward moments that come with this new life.
So now tell me…
How did having a baby affect your relationship? Or what advice do you have for new parents? Any lessons you’ve learned along the way?
Stay sweaty (and communicate often!),