How Parents Can Keep Their Relationship Strong Despite Less Alone Time Together

How Parents Can Keep Their Relationship Strong Despite Less Alone Time Together

Having kids is life-changing, in good and hard ways. Here's how to keep your relationship strong despite less time together as a couple.

Updated September 20, 2023
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There is no doubt having a baby will forever change your life. You won’t be the same. Not only that, neither will your relationship with your partner. Many worry that having a baby will change things, but they may not realize how much. Marriage is hard enough. But things are even more challenging in marriage after having a baby. One of the most significant pieces of this is that your priorities change.

Along with the changing priorities, your time is severely reduced. You are constantly on baby duty, and you’re exhausted the rest of the time. Even when they get older, the time you have to yourself is minimal, never mind finding time to spend with your partner. Before kids, your partner’s needs and wants mattered more, and you were more in tune with them. You had the time and attention to be. Now, the kids take precedence. They need you more or are at least more vocal about it.

Tips for Keeping Your Relationship Strong Despite Less Alone Time Together.

So, what can you do to keep your relationship strong even when you don’t get to spend that much time together? You can do many little things that will add up to keep your relationship strong.

Shift your expectations.

One of the biggest things you can do after you have kids is to shift your expectations of each other and be more forgiving. You’re both tired and are being pulled in so many more directions than you used to be. By giving each other a break when things don’t get done or someone isn’t paying attention, you will help reduce stress.

Pick up the slack.

Even though I’m a stay-at-home mom, I’m also a work-from-home mom. Some days, I have deadlines, or the kids are cranky, and I don’t finish everything I meant to. Instead of complaining, my husband cleans up. He might not always like it, but he understands that not every day is good. Dishes are pretty much at the bottom of my priority list, so he will get those done if I don’t get the chance. The same goes if he is worn out. I will distract the kids so he can take a breath.

Make the most of your time, even if it’s just a few minutes.

Even if you don’t have large chunks of time to go out on dates, take advantage of your time together. This time could be at naptime, when the kids are entertaining themselves, or even a date night at home after the kids are in bed. Use this time to reconnect, talk to each other, or cuddle. You may find that you miss the easy things you used to take for granted.

Talk about goals/something other than the kids.

It can often feel like all you talk about anymore are the kids. Finding something else to talk about or a goal to work toward that doesn’t involve them will help you bond. It can be something as simple as retirement or savings. (Check out these date night questions to ask your partner.) Seriously, my husband and I are bonding over revamping our family budget. That doesn’t sound sexy, but we are uniting in a common goal that doesn’t involve the kids. It’s just ours. And while it sounds funny, it’s been huge.

Remember to thank each other.

According to research, people who are more grateful are happier in their relationships.1 It’s easy to take each other for granted; parenting is mostly a thankless job. You will both feel more appreciated by simply thanking each other more often. How much would a thank you help your mood after all the work you do as a mom? It could make a huge difference in how you feel about things.

Get enough sleep and enough food.

How many mood problems can be solved by being rested and fed is incredible.2 Prioritizing sleep and eating can help you be in a better mood and avoid fights. Don’t forget to take care of what your body needs to be at its best. Research has shown that one of the reasons the transition to parenthood is so hard is that kids mess with the amount of sleep you get.3 You’re more irritable when tired and more likely to get into silly fights.

Complain about the kids together.

I love my kids more than anything, but sometimes they can be exhausting, overwhelming, and just a pain. Commiserating with my husband does a lot to take some stress off. If there’s anyone who understands my frustration, it’s him. We are in this thing together, and it helps to remember that you have someone on your side.

Your concept of love might change when you have kids, but you still love your partner. Even though your relationship has changed since its inception, you must work to keep this union strong. Happy parents make for happy kids. When you’re a team and work together, everyone will benefit. Doing little things to show your partner that you still care, you are helping to keep your relationship strong—and it’s well worth the effort.

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Kristen N. Winiarski spends much of her days battling her kids' hangry moods with bacon and Cookie Monster impressions. She also encourages dance parties as P.E. whenever possible. Kristen started… Read more

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