How parenthood changes relationships

October 15, 2020Advice, Information, Lifestyle, Parenting, Real life

About Zoe 

Zoe Blaskey is a coach and the founder of Motherkind, a personal development platform for modern parents. Zoe has coached hundreds of parents of all backgrounds on how to navigate the huge challenges of modern parenthood. There is currently a two year waitlist to work with Zoe one on one. Zoe hosts The Motherkind Podcast which is the UK’s number one family podcast on iTunes and has been featured in Red, The Telegraph, Psychologies, Goop, SheerLuxe and Mother&Baby. Zoe has two daughters, and lives with her husband Guy in London.

One thing that almost every parent can agree on is how much relationships change after having a baby. We go from putting our relationship front and centre in our lives to suddenly navigating new roles as parents. It is often our relationships that suffer through that transition. 

This is totally normal. 

Remember, parenthood is one of the biggest changes that you will ever go through so it makes sense that everything else in your life would be affected. 

While bringing new life into the world together is a magical and wonderful experience, you should expect that there may be a bumpy transition as you navigate the monumental shift of parenthood together. 

To understand what is really happening, I recommend that both partners learn about matrescence. Similar to adolescence, matrescence is the term used to describe the physical, mental and emotional shifts that happen to a woman when she becomes a mother. Learning about matrescence will normalise any challenges that you may be facing in your relationship and will remind you that you are not alone. For busy parents, podcasts are an invaluable resource to absorb information. Try these two podcast episodes from matresence experts Amy Taylor Kabbaz and Dr Alexandra Sacks 

In the first year of parenthood, you may find yourself arguing more with your partner than before. A recent study of 2000 parents found that these were the top 20 most common causes for these arguments.

1. Who is the most tired or had the least sleep

2. Who should get up in the night with the baby

3. Housework not getting done

4. Having less money than usual

5. One person being out at work all day and the other being left alone to parent

6. Who should be responsible for feeding, changing and burping the baby

7. Someone not doing their fair share of the work

8. One person going out and socialising more than the other

9. Lack of affection

10. Not having time to go out together

11. One of you not putting in enough effort

12. Not being able to soothe the baby when it is crying

13. Lack of sex

14. Whether the baby should be left to cry alone

15. Disagreement over relatives or in-laws getting involved

16. One of you isn’t talking to the other as much

17. Pressure to have sex when you don’t want to

18. One party being bored when home alone with the baby

19. Whether the baby is poorly or not

20. How much the baby should drink or eat 

[Source: ChannelMum]

Reflect on which ones of these feel familiar to you and read below for advice to support you while you navigate these relationship changes.

Communication – it sounds obvious, but it’s vital to keep communicating how you are feeling and to practice active listening when you speak to your partner. Listening is a real skill that we have to learn: rather than listen to defend or to respond, ensure that your partner feels really heard. This will help to lower defences, allow you to be vulnerable with one another and to work towards satisfactory solutions.  

Agree roles and responsibilities – when you start a new job, you learn about your responsibilities and your colleagues. Consider parenting as a job, the most important ‘job’ in the world. Who is responsible for cooking, shopping,  night feeds or paying the rent? Write down everything you have to do and agree which of you is responsible for each. 

Get curious – we learn about relationships from watching our parents and when we feel under pressure, it’s easy to revert to the roles we watched them enact. If this happens, acknowledge it and ask yourself some important questions. Who do I want to be in my relationship? How do I want to do this differently to my own parents? What do I want to repeat from my parents in my own relationship? 

As a new parent, you’re tired and emotional and everything feels overwhelming. Take a deep breath and remember why you’re together and the bundle of love that you made. It will get better! 

With love,

My 1st Years x