Some people might think twice about having kids if they want to stay married happily ever after. If you have kids, then you know that your relationship with your partner changes from the moment a child appears in your life. And it can be so rewarding, right? Maybe you think there’s something wrong with you for wondering how the whole family juggling act is supposed to actually work, since there never seems to be enough time for your partner anymore.
Could it be possible that having kids is actually bad for your marriage? Even if it were, for many of you, it’s too late! So (with a smile) say how much you love your kids and then watch out for these sneaky ways they sabotage their parents, and learn how to thwart with their attempts to whine their way between you two.
Look out for…
1. The Interrupter- This culprit always has something to say, and usually interrupts with ‘I just wanted to say I love you’ so as not to sound suspicious while they are secretly plotting to do it again in about thirty seconds, or as soon as one of you speaks, whichever happens first. To avert this maneuver you must set said child down in other room with an Apple device such as iPad, iPod, or iPhone, and they will then let you talk uninterrupted until your battery dies. Oh yes, and I’m legally (morally) obligated to say that you should also tell them I love you back, and tell them sweetly not to interrupt again.
2. The Snuggler- He or she wants to snuggle in bed with you, and you know they are going to outgrow it someday, and it’s the middle of the night so you really don’t want to get up and drag them back to their own room just so that when you go lay back down you can’t fall back asleep until three am. But this habit is not conducive to anyone’s sleep and especially limiting to mommy and daddy’s ‘special time.’ Get those kids out of the bedroom! And get them some kind of music player that will help them put themselves back to sleep, and make sure their room is a comfortable temperature and that’s not a factor in them waking up to snuggle with you all night.
3. The Mess-Maker- You’ve come to terms with the fact that kids are messy. But sometimes it seems like a tornado has just come through your living room. And then you go into the bathroom and see the toilet paper roll on the floor, the faucet still on, and soap all over the counter (or worse…nail polish!). Even if you’re not a neat-freak, this will drive you or your partner insane. And so you must keep everything, yes I mean everything, out of their reach. Utilize cabinet locks, but don’t rely solely on them because kids fingers can be super-humanly strong and agile. It’s hard to wind down with a messy house, but being a parent means accepting that your house really never will be up to your pre-kid standards. Accept it and try to stop cleaning so much, it’s only going to get messy again. Just make sure your bedroom is clean so that you aren’t distracted by the toys and clutter later when kids are asleep and it’s time to relax in bed together.
Couples with kids may experience a higher level of stress, but also share an increased level of intimacy. While parenting can be challenging, it can also bring the whole family closer. It’s important that kids see their parents affectionate, and understand that they love each other and it’s normal to have bumps in the road, but it’s the commitment and compassion that will keep the family solid. Kids who act out most often just need more attention from their parents, and while this can be incredibly draining, make sure you give them plenty of interaction, but don’t forget that spouses need attention and interaction too!
If you feel stressed out, you are not alone. Even 20/20 reported on the strain that having kids puts on marriage. And check out this article from Tanner Helland that summarizes a recent study looking into this very topic.