Marriage after Baby

View from OC taken at our recent date night

These few weeks, I've had friends who went off on holidays sans kids/babies. Childcare arrangements were made and the couples took off for romantic getaways. One mother was still breastfeeding, and lugged her breastpump along to prevent engorgement. All the couples reported that they had a wonderful time, and although they did miss their kids, most felt that the getaway was worth it.

In contrast, a colleague shared that her husband and her have never gone on a date since their 1st child was born. (He's now 7!) They did try once - they made reservations at a restaurant and arranged for the Gramps to babysit. However, on the way to dinner, they felt so bad for leaving their boy behind that they turned back to pick him up. In response to my (kaypoh) question, she said both her husband and her feel the same about this, and have since not made arrangements to go on dates.

The recency of these related experiences made me think about my own marriage to Roboman. Certainly things are not the same since the arrival of Bubbles, and I don't think it is reasonable to think that it should be.

The focus of our marriage now is undoubtedly Bubbles. For her, our lifestyle has dramatically changed - we now have most dinners in, plan weekends around her, keep our socials to baby-acceptable standards, moved furniture to ensure her safety etc. Basically, we enjoy personal and couple time only when she is being taken care of by the grandparents, or is asleep. I've realised that this change in lifestyle is what scares many people from choosing to have kids.

We have also found out what it means when people say 'marriage is hard work'. Because it can be, and especially so when you have children. You have to work to pay the bills, get by with little sleep, deal with baby related challenges, sacrifice personal time and enjoyment, and constantly make decisions for the sake of someone else. Having a kid also opens up a whole new area in a marriage that includes a change of relationship with parents and in-laws, and the surfacing of deep-rooted, sometimes subconscious beliefs and expectations that each of us hold.

Roboman reminds me that our kid(s) will grow up and leave home to lead their own lives and therefore I should remember to have a life apart from Bubbles. I remind him that I still need to be romanced even though I am now a mother and only have pockets of time to spare. We take time to have deep conversations, to pray together, to work on our differences, and consciously take steps to strengthen our marriage in this season of life. Some things we manage to change straightaway, some, we acknowledge that we may take a whole lifetime to perfect. We work on appreciating each other more, and train our hearts and minds to see the positives that each of us bring to the marriage and family.

For some of us, taking steps to protect and strengthen the marriage may mean date nights or child-free holidays too, or not. Whatever it may be, press on, for a strong marriage is the best home for children.

14 comments:

blendedbaby said...

Love this post and I totally agree.

I love our date nights and am itching to go on a short trip just the two of us but not just yet... but before she's 7 for sure!

The Kam family said...

Date nights or child-free holidays, or not, is secondary. Primarily, the husband and the wife should be willing to make necessary compromises, to make necessary change of lifestyle, to appreciate and to support each other, and to reach to a common understanding, for the benefits of the family.

poiema said...

yup, dates (any date, not even date nights specifically which i think we've had none) are few and VERY far between post-baby. but in a way, it's okay. agree it's real important to continue to focus and work on marriage without letting it slide cos of baby as a legitimate (or not) excuse.

trip(s) without kid? not for me i think. perhaps after they are in primary school haha. It can actually be fun to bring them travelling I find!

BeanBean said...

thanks for the good reminder to maintain our marriage too. life has certainly changed a lot, but in many ways, i wouldn't change a thing. then again, DD asked me if we should have had kids earlier in our marriage and i said no -- i enjoyed the nearly 3 years of it just being the 2 of us too. maybe what we should have done was to have gotten married earlier!

i think i'm ready for a child-free holiday but DD sure isn't! and with #2 on the way, i think it'll be a while yet.

Candice said...

that's what K and i remind each other constantly - kids will grow up and eventually lead their own lives. we will be the ones there for each other til the end.

although i'm sure that M&M's arrival will change our lifestyles entirely, at least we know at the back of our heads to still see each other as priority too.

Anya's mom said...

Totally! We attended biblical-based marriage encounter as well as parenting class when I was still expecting Anya and both emphasized that man & wife completes the family with children being expansion to it. Therefore, couples must always protect our marriages and take time (plus lots of effort, as we find). It is only when the marriage is secured that our children will feel secured. Important theory though not easy to execute, especially the mothers.

Adeline said...

Marriage is sheer hard work - with or without kids! But it is only working through it together that we realise and bear in mind what we vowed to one another on our wedding day.

Thanks for your post. :)

cupcake said...

Great post; sets me thinking too about marriage after baby.
Lots of sacrifices to be made, but it will be all worth it, I'm sure.

And I agree, although we are now mothers, we still need to be romanced, need to let the hubs see this! haha.

~tif;fany* said...

thats exactly why im hesitating to have kids next time. im 'fraid they'll cramp up our lifestyles and have klkl loving me lesser! *_*

corsage said...

Thanks everyone for your sharing your views! A strong marriage requires the work of 2 - with preferences and idiosyncracies thrown in!

blendedbaby:
Maybe sometime after you pop! :)

kam:
Totally! Some couples require those to keep their marriages healthy, for others it could be other things!

poiema:
oh yes, I actually mean dates. haha! And indeed your little K has been travelling around the world (well almost! haha) She's such a good traveller I must say.

beanbean:
Oh yes, probably some time after No. 2. Interesting that it is you who is more ready! For me it is the other way around. haha :)

candice:
You guys share such a long history and a strong relationship. That in itself is a great foundation for M&M! And I won't be surprised at all by K showing his romantic side post baby :)

anya:
It is hard work! And I've found that it is best to expect that work is required (as opposed to thinking it will be a bed of roses) so that no one is taken for granted.

adeline:
You're welcome :) And thanks for reminder about wedding vows. I think I should go recite it once in a while! haha

cupcake:
haha, ok see what he says! You guys seem to be happy, easy-going people which is always great for seeing through tougher times, if any.

tiffany:
oh don't think that! I've found pre-marriage counselling really helpful in talking through various issues, including having children.

Jacinta said...

Amen! Yes, let's press on. :)

Esther Shum said...

Love this post...Thanks for the genuine sharing! :) and Thanks alot for sharing your blog with me! :)

Anonymous said...

Reading this post today gives me the courage to work on my marriage. Couldn't agree more that a strong marriage is the best home for our kids. We have 3. Giving up would be the easy way out. Thank you for your insightful post.

Yvonne@ Beadsyy's Diary said...

Yes, I can't agree more. And who knows that it's a lot more work after the kids? But glad we all learnt (and still learning). Love your post, Corsage.