Married couples often joke that when they finally get a date night, they end up talking about their adorable kids the entire time. This is definitely something that parents can relate to as it's very true that kids change a relationship or a marriage. There is really no way for this not to happen. Having children is a change to the status quo of the relationship, and while starting a family and experiencing it together is amazing, it's not always that simple.
When a couple ties the knot, they make promises and say that their love story will last forever. They then feel thrilled to have kids and don't think about all the hard times that likely await them in the future. But any parent will agree that having kids makes life just that much more difficult. Even couples who have never had any low moments in their relationship or had doubts about one another will agree that kids change everything.
Couples go through a lot after having a baby and there are a few ways that their relationship is totally different after. Here are 20 ways that the engagement ring doesn't matter anymore after having kids, along with five ways that couples can stay connected.
Let's start with the 20 ways a relationship will change after the baby comes...
25 Time To Adjust
If there's one thing that a new mom or dad has to do, it's adjust. There is a lot that is new, and if you don't accept that things are different now and figure out how to deal with your new life, it could be tough on your marriage.
We can relate to this post for the Huffington Post: "There will be days of doubt. Can I do this? Will it always be like this? Can our marriage handle it? The laundry list of flaws you have learned about each other is growing. Those sweet naive moments of wanting to have kids together will be nauseating to think about."
24 A Different Discussion
New parents might not realize that their discussions are now completely different from what they used to be. If you think about it, you might realize that when you first dated, you talked about your hobbies or your favorite TV shows. Naturally, your conversations would have then turned towards talking about the relationship becoming more serious, eventually planning a wedding and finally talking about starting a family and having kids one day.
As ScaryMommy says so well, you and your partner now talk about your kids a lot, instead of the topics you used to cover, such as movies and TV shows.
23 Year One Is The Toughest
Thanks to this Reddit user, we can nod our heads at the fact that year one of having a baby is definitely the toughest. There is a lot to handle, and it can be the end of some couples. As this user wrote, "The first year is a big change for every couple. And some couples discover that the mother role is so different from the father role, at least at first, which can be a big adjustment."
It seems that if a couple can get through year one, they can handle anything together. They might even find that their relationship is even more beautiful because of what they have experienced.
22 All About The Money
Before a couple decides to start a family, there's definitely one thing that they should do: sit down and talk about their financial situation. It's crucial that they think about where they are financially, how much they have in the bank and how that will affect their ability to pay for all the things their children need.
As Babble points out, kids cost money and this can be a very stressful thing for some couples. They say that money is one of the most stressful things ever and we can see how that could be tough on a marriage.
21 Two Parents, Two Styles
How we want to raise our kid might be different from how our partner wants to raise our kid. Sure, we assume that's not the case at all. We've had some serious chats about becoming parents, right? Don't we feel the same way?
Some couples end up learning the hard way they have totally different parenting style. This becomes a new thing to contend with after having a baby.
We love what this dad wrote about this for Fatherly: "You and your spouse most likely grew up differently, and those differences affect your parental and life choices."
20 Snapping At Each Other More Often
What if you and your partner aren't being the sweetest to each other now that you've had a baby? Before having a baby, you might assume that would never happen. Maybe you two never even had a single argument before this... and yet now you can't believe the words that you're exchanging.
This mom wrote about this situation for The Bump: "It has caused a lot of friction between us. We've bickered much more than we used to. I don't want to use the term fight, because to me, that means yelling and feelings being hurt. We just snap at each other more easily."
This is definitely something that many parents can relate to. It can end the relationship if the couple doesn't work it out.
19 New Routines
As this mom wrote for Self.com, "The biggest change after having kids was the loss of freedom and autonomy."
This is something that we hear very often. Before we become parents, we know that we'll be leaving certain aspects of our old lifestyles behind, like sleeping a lot or traveling at a random moment. We adopt so many new routines after becoming parents, and we might find that it's too much to adjust to these new routines along with keeping our marriage or relationship intact. Not every relationship will be able to make it through once kids are around.
18 Goodbye, Free Time
Parents would totally laugh if someone asked them what free time they have or what they do with any spare hours. "Free time?!" they would ask with a shrug and a laugh. This is one reason that some couples want to wait until they're a bit older before starting a family.
Saying goodbye to free time could also be a tough thing for a marriage and could create some problems. You just don't get as much time to be together.
As a mom wrote so perfectly for The Bump, "The time we used to have for each other, where I would lie on the couch with my husband for two hours at night, is gone. Now that time is spent cleaning up, prepping things for the next day (bottles, outfits) and doing household chores."
17 Parents, Not Just A Couple
In an article on Self.com about how a relationship can be altered by having children, a mom said that she and her partner realized they were no longer a "couple" but were now "parents."
This change in how you see yourself (and how everyone else sees you too, of course) can be hard for a couple to go through.
After all, before you have a baby, your relationship is so important and such a big part of who you are. You two spend all your time together and then it's all different. It's good, and you have an amazing baby, but it's different.
16 The In-Laws
You have to deal with your inlaws who want to see the kids a lot, as Parents.com points out. That can be great if you love them and have no issues with them, but as we all know, that's not always true.
Sometimes, even if you do love them and enjoy hanging out with them, your in-laws have certain parenting beliefs or things that they think you should be doing, and it's tough to reconcile your differences. This can be hard on a marriage as well and can be another rough patch for a couple after having a baby.
15 Feeling Alone
Feeling "isolated" and alone is something that many new parents would say that they have gone through. Whether you talk to your family or friends or partner about this, it's impossible not to have these feelings at first. As Today's Parent says, moms (and dads, too) can feel alone after having a baby since they're going through a new experience.
There's just a lot to think about and it's easy to worry too much. You might also feel like you shouldn't be feeling what you are.
If a couple doesn't talk to each other, whether they have a baby or are starting to plan their family, they're not going to make it. It's so crucial to tell each other how you feel on a regular basis.
14 New Emotions
Romper says that parents will be more "vulnerable" with each other after having a baby and also in general.
This is so true and so cleverly put, right?!
Couples who don't do this may find themselves going through a real rough patch in their relationship. You feel so many things after having a baby, and you're also tired and have so much to handle every day. That doesn't change when your baby becomes a toddler and an older kid, as many moms will say, but having a newborn is particularly tiring and tough to adjust to.
13 All About The Little One
We love this sentiment from Today's Parent: "Your adorable new baby is designed by nature to absorb your attention so that her needs will be met. But the downside is she does draw her parents’ focus away from each other."
What a perfect, smart way to describe parenthood. Once you and your partner become parents, you might definitely notice yourself spending a lot of time talking about the baby and just staring at them all the time (in a totally normal new parent way, that is) and just thinking about them so much.
A mom's story on Romper about what your relationship is like after having a kid made a really great point about how "you see each other grow up." This mom mentioned that her partner will go home from a birthday party to see their kid and put them to bed. (How sweet is that?!)
We often hear that if a relationship is going to work out, couples have to grow together instead of growing apart and changing way too much.
We could also say that couples have to become adults together (if they have some maturing to do) and that having a baby should do that. Otherwise, it could be a tough thing on the relationship.
11 Dream Vs. Reality
Sometimes couples don't think "realistically" about parenthood, according to Parents.com. They might even expect it to be easy. (Every parent is shaking their heads right about now.)
For some couples, the reality of becoming parents and having a sweet little one is very different from the way they envisioned things going. Instead of cuddling 24/7 and family members bringing them food at all hours of the day and all kinds of warm and fuzzy feelings, they end up having to deal with not sleeping and worrying a lot. This can be too hard for some couples to handle.
10 Accept The Change
Couples definitely have to accept that things are different after having a newborn. If they don't, it's going to be that much tougher to not only deal with parenthood on a daily basis but also keep your relationship going.
We love what this Reddit user has to say about their own experience: "The first couple [of] months for us, it got worse. It was difficult because we were trying to balance new roles while keeping things the same. But once we accepted that we were the same people, yet new people, things really started getting great."
9 Different Ideas About What To Do With Their Little Spare Time
We know that there's not really such a thing as free time or spare time when we become parents. We also know that if we do have an hour or so, it can be confusing to know what to do during that time.
According to ScaryMommy, you and your partner might negotiate how to spend the free time that you have on the weekends. Since you don't have as much spare time, this one is crucial. This goes for any free moments between just the two of you (no baby!) or when you're hanging out as a fam because your partner (or you) is off work for the weekend.
This can be a lot on a marriage, and it's a huge difference from how things were before the baby.
8 All The Time Arguments
Arguments are never a good time for anyone involved. Arguing with your partner and the mother or father of your child? That's even worse for sure.
A mom writing for ScaryMommy shared that she and her partner started having arguments all the time after having a baby.
This is something that, unfortunately, some couples can relate to. This could definitely lead to divorce or it could make the marriage better if both partners figure out what's going wrong.
7 Too Tired
It's tough to do just about anything and everything when we had trouble sleeping the night before. Even brushing our teeth or taking a shower or making a sandwich can feel like the hardest thing ever.
This is totally how parents feel sometimes, especially when they've just had a baby and are in that phase. It can change how parents treat each other as well.
As Babble says so well, parents are so tired that it can be hard to be nice to each other and not get upset with each other because you're just not getting enough rest.
6 Time Alone With Your Spouse Is Scarce
"My wife and I have four kids, 3 under the age of four. It's very hard to spend alone time together but it's all about making time," wrote a dad and husband on Reddit. He continued, "I have to get up for work at 5 am and a lot of time my oldest daughter doesn't go to sleep till 11, so if I want time with my wife I have to stay up till about 1 am."
The fact that it can be really hard to be together (at least without your baby or kids) can be a lot for some marriages. You and your partner really do have to carve out the time, as this Reddit user pointed out. But what about your partner?
And here are 5 ways to stay connected to your partner...
5 Stay A Team
How can a couple stay connected after having a baby? It's totally possible.
As The Bump says so beautifully, "Yes, there will be ups and downs, but something about having created a life together—and taking care of that life as a team—will bond you two in a whole new way."
These words can definitely serve as inspiration for parents to weather the tough times of parenthood and stay together. It's pretty cool to realize that now you're something new (you're parents) and you're a team.
4 Priorities Change (And Change Again)
We often hear that our priorities change once we become parents: now it's about our kids and doing everything for them. But then we can change again and look to our marriage as something else that we need to nurture and care for.
"The children have become the number one priority and at some point we need to learn to put our relationship towards the top of that priority list," wrote a mom for Babble. "I think in time it will become that way again. You have to make it past these difficult times to get there."
3 Talk To Someone Else
Babble suggests that we "find support" and talk to someone other than our partner when we're going through a tough time after having a baby.
Their advice is, "Whether having a regular meeting time with friends, parent-to-be support group, therapist, or other trusted mentor, having a place to download and share is worth [a lot]!"
This is so true, right? Talking to someone else can help us see what's going on and could offer another POV, which is often what we need when we're having a problem in our relationship.
2 Neediness Is A Good Thing
We often hear that being needy is not only a bad thing but also something to be totally avoided. But we can't be worried about coming off that way when we're adjusting to having a baby and working through some changes in our marriage.
As NHS says, needing your partner is actually a good thing and can help you stay connected after having a baby: "You and your partner need to tell each other what you want and what's bothering you if you're resentful, angry or upset. Be honest about what you need: do you need a hug or to feel understood?"
1 Stay In For Date Nights
The final way that parents can stay connected after having kids? That would be staying in for date nights instead of going out. We all know that date nights are important, but we also know that it can be a lot to handle or think about on top of everything out.
Babble mentions that date nights might become all about staying home: "In most cases, [...] takeout and a movie on Netflix will win out."
Many parents will probably agree that sounds dreamy.