When we hear the word ‘relationship’ we often think of our spouses or partners. And while that’s accurate, we have a million other relationships in our lives. Along with a ton of other areas in our lives, things change in a major way when we have kids, especially relationships. Here’s a look at four types of relationships that are bound to change after we have children, for better… or worse.
Relationship with your Partner
Other than “from death do us part”, my husband and I never really shared a clear and common goal. That is, until we had a kid. Now, our main focus is to provide him with the best possible care and nurture him with everything we have. When two people share the same goal and have similar values and approaches to parenting, something magical happens; you become closer with one another, more understanding, more forgiving, and a lot more patient. Having a children with someone can make or break a relationship and I’ve seen too much of the latter happen. I think it’s extremely important to make time for your partner and connect at least once throughout the day. It doesn’t have to be a full on date night. Just a simple conversation at the end of the day to reconnect, chat about the good, the bad, and the frustrating. This simple daily act keeps your relationship open, honest, and reestablishes a much needed adult connection after a busy day.
Tip: Take care of your Partner first and foremost. This in turn will foster a caring and loving environment for your children that they will benefit from greatly.
Relationship with Parents
When my husband and I first got together, I would constantly be dreaming up where we would live the following year and maybe settle down. Raising kids in a vineyard in rural Italy? No problem 😉 Can I just say I’m so happy we didn’t do that. Being close to our families, especially our parents, has made life with kids so much easier. When your parents are as awesome as mine, you need them. And I’m not just talking about my Mom & Dad, but my in-laws too. They have always shown unconditional love but a lot of it goes unnoticed until you have kids of your own. You just feel it and appreciate it more.
The relationship between my Mom and I has also changed substantially. I’m more curious now than ever about motherhood, how she handled certain situations, and how I was as a baby. So the scope of our conversations has morphed from this mother-daughter dialogue to friendlier, more substantial conversations.
Tip: There will always be differences in how you parent and how your parents parent. Three words: Pick. Your. Battles.
Relationship with Friends
I hear from a lot of Mommy friends that their circle of friends has changed since having kids. It’s inevitable. You’re going to make some really great new connections and lose some old ones. Losing friends is the hard part. It could be that you lose commonality with your kid-less friends or find it difficult to schedule times that work with your new ‘Mom schedule’. You may also realize that your friends that do have kids parent so differently than you, that your personalities no longer mesh. As hard as it can be with a busy schedule, I think it’s extremely important to make time to keep your strong friendships alive.
Tip: Don’t waste energy on the ‘friendships’ that don’t add value to your life. You’re a Mom now and have bigger things to worry about.
Relationship with Yourself
You know how everyone says “there’s never a good time to have kids”? Well I kind of agree with that. Although there was one small shift that happened to take place that made me go “hmmmm, perhaps I am ready…?” And that was the desire to no longer be selfish. I had a desire to look after someone else other than myself for once in my life and was excited about the idea. Fast forward to actually having a baby and I’m very glad that the desire to be selfish had dissipated because now I don’t have a choice. I seriously didn’t know this was possible for me before having a child, but I’m no longer interested in things like buying clothes for myself. I’m way more excited about picking up a new hat, toy, or bed sheets for my little guy than buying myself a new leather jacket.
But it’s not only the materialistic side of me that has changed. I hear from my family and friends and truly feel that I am softer. I’m more patient and understanding and tend to look at situations from all angles before jumping to a judgment or conclusion like I used to. Priorities change and values shift, especially how you value yourself. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I needed to surround myself with expensive clothes, fine things, and craved assurance from others to feel valued. I’ve come to realize that in order to provide value to others, I had to first value myself, truly and deeply. This shift happened slowly after becoming a parent and it was that acceptance of my authentic self that gave me the quiet confidence to really value myself as a mom.
Another learning curve I went through is giving up full control of my life. To be honest, I had never been a routine or schedule-loving person, which worked out very well in my favour once I had a child. I will admit though, that it has been and still is difficult at times, to accept the fact that your child’s mood and activities now predict your days.
Tip: shift the control from what you do during the day to how things are done.
It’s all about you Mama
The relationship with yourself is probably the one we as Moms focus on the least, but it’s really the most important. Foster and nurture the relationship with your authentic self and the rest of your relationships will fall into place as they should.
Changes are all the more difficult when emotional relationships are involved. Shifting the dynamic of a relationship to a healthy and place while raising little humans is not only good for you, but for your little ones too.