Everything changes when you become a parent. Your schedule is packed with feedings and nappy changes; sleep is a luxury rather than a necessity, and your priorities quickly shift to accommodate your offspring. However, you don’t stop being the person you’ve always been just because you’ve procreated, and during times of hardship, you will need your loved ones more than ever.
While your relationships are bound to change once you’ve started a family, you don’t want to get so swept up by busyness that you neglect those people closest to you. With this in mind, here’s how to nurture your relationships as a busy parent.
Make Time for Your Marriage
Marriages with or without children require hard work and commitment, especially after several years together. However, being a parent makes demands on your time that are hard to get around, putting pressure on relationships that were otherwise happy and successful. Ultimately, your relationship is bound to suffer a little neglect, especially in those early days, but it’s important that you and your partner schedule time for each other whenever possible.
Some couples keep the romance alive by planning regular date nights or getting away without the kids once a year. If you can’t get out of the house due to childcare or budgeting issues, try to connect with one another once the kids are in bed. Admittedly, depending on how well your children sleep, there may not be much alone time in the first few years of parenthood, but you have to grab opportunities for couple time whenever you can. Rather than crashing out in front of the TV together once the lights go out, light some candles, curl up, and just check in with one another. However you achieve it, time spent alone with your spouse will remind you why you fell for each other in the first place.
Nurturing your romantic relationship also means knowing when to call it quits. If life together is miserable, or your partner is verbally or physically abusive, then it may be time to cut ties. Regardless of whether or not there are kids in the mix, you deserve to be happy. Besides, living with parents who argue can be worse for children than having separate moms and dads who are both happy, so consider your options carefully. If you need legal advice regarding your break up, check out Pintar Albiston divorce attorney Las Vegas.
Maintain Professional Relationships
Having children can put parents (predominantly mothers) out of the workforce for months, or even years at a time. The decision to be a working mom, a stay-at-home mom, a daycare mom, or a part-time mom is yours to make, and each has its advantages and disadvantages.
However you choose to approach motherhood, it helps to maintain your professional relationships during maternity leave and beyond, in case you want to go back to work or change careers in the future. This might mean popping into the office now and then to check in with your line manager, or it could be as simple as sending a message on social media or firing off a courtesy email.
Stay Close to Your Family
During more primitive times, raising a child was a collaborative effort: grandmothers, siblings, aunties, and other relatives would all live together and pitch in with feeding, bathing, clothing, and nurturing an infant into adulthood. In fact, this still happens today in many cultures. In other words, we’re not primed to handle parenting alone, so don’t try to. If your family offers help or a night of babysitting, then take it, and don’t think you have to be a super parent who does it all. You will burn out in the end, and then you’ll be no good to anyone.
If your family lives in another state or country, bridge the gap with technology. These days you can use apps like WhatsApp, Skype, and Facetime to video call for free, wherever you are in the world. Try to visit far-off relatives whenever possible, even if it’s just for the holidays, as nothing beats face-to-face interaction with those you love.
Cultivate New Friendships
You may find your friendship circle starts to shift as you adapt to your role as a parent. This is entirely normal and healthy, and it’s good to seek new friends with whom you have things in common. It can be daunting to meet new people as an adult, but being a parent can also be lonely at times, so it’s important not to isolate yourself.
Head to mother and baby classes, school events, cafes, and social meet-ups in your local area, and see if you can find new friends who share your parenting wishes and woes. While it’s great to stay in touch with old friends, you may find yourself looking for different kinds of relationships when you become a parent.
Don’t Leave People Behind
Although you will undoubtedly make new friends when you have kids, you also need to know which old friendships are worth hanging on to. There’s no use in keeping people in your life who make you feel negative or drain your energy, but you also shouldn’t back off from a lifelong friendship at the first sign of trouble. Relationships of any kind can be challenging at times, but your oldest friends have known you longer than anyone else, bar your family, and you may find yourself needing to see those familiar faces when times get tough.
Childless friends will react to your new situation in different ways. Some will back off, overwhelmed by the prospect of being involved in something they know nothing about, and others will rush to help when you need it, despite their lack of experience. Don’t blame your friends if they don’t know how to support you. Someday, they might start a family, and then you’ll have more in common again, or you may rediscover other similarities down the road. Acquaintances come and go, but those precious friendships are worth holding on to, even when you’ve gone your separate ways.