Happy couples after baby (please tell me they exist!) — The Bump
Parenting

Happy couples after baby (please tell me they exist!)

Hi All! My husband and I are starting to talk about having a baby in the next year. We're in our early 30s, financially very stable and have a great relationship. We already know we would purposefully have an only child. The thing really holding us back...we feel like we have no examples of happily married couples with young children.

Our main point of reference is my 2 older sisters. Both had their kids in their late 30s, one now has 3 the other 2. I love them and my nieces and nephews dearly, but no one seems happy, just getting through each day with work, tons of activities and zero time for their marriage.

I'm not naive, I know a baby always brings challenges, but are their any couples out there who are as happy as they were before and enjoying parenthood?

Re: Happy couples after baby (please tell me they exist!)

  • I mean, it's really hard to say.  You never truly know what goes on behind closed doors and those couples that seem really happy could be struggling.  

    I'll be honest with you: you have no idea how much things will change and in ways you never expected it.  Being a parent is really hard and the day-to-day things, although they seem small and unimportant, can really get to you after awhile.

    For example, my husband and I both work full-time jobs, our girls are in daycare (talk about a huge expense!), and by the time we get home, it's all about dinner, giving the kids baths, bedtime for them, then clean up, taking care of little things around the house, get lunches ready for the next day, etc.  By the time that's all done, I am wiped and am honestly not interested in expending any more energy other than laying on the couch or going to bed.  And on the weekends, I want to spend it with my kids that I barely see during the week.

    However, that's my life and it could be quite different from yours.  If you make the effort, you'll be happy.  I'd make more of an effort but I'm just too tired right now.
  • Thanks! (BTW, My Cousin Vinny...fantastic movie)
    Do you think having 1 vs 2 makes a big difference? We would want to have an only child and I've heard that makes it a bit easier.
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  • It's def. been harder since we had our 2nd.  
  • I have 3 kids and am VERY happily married.  DH are actually closer now than we ever were before having kids.  From the start, we always made our relationship a priority.  Our kids never slept in our bed (we reserve our bed for our own grown up time) and we have a date night at least twice per month alone.  Our kids are still young enough to go to be fairly early, so from 8pm or so on... we have our quiet time each evening, talking or catching up on tv shows, etc.  The newborn stage is tough and it will take you a while to "get into a groove"... but that stage is short lived.  As the kids get older, we can enjoy more family outings all together.

    I think open communication has been really helpful for us.  If one of us feels overwhelmed or stressed, we discuss and find solutions together.  

    Another really important aspect of our happy marriage is alone time for each person.  I needs to go get a pedicure alone sometimes and DH needs to be able to jog or get a beer with his buddies.  It takes a lot of organizing, but you CAN balance family time, couple time and alone time.

    Invest in a good babysitter.  Start looking early on (so that you guys can get out once in a while).  We used my mom when the kids were very young, now we have a sitter booked for every other Saturday night!  When we go out, I try to get dressed up and put on some makeup and perfume so I feel more like a lady and less like a mom for a few hours :-)

    Best wishes!
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    amyalonso0505MNturnsVA
  • We have a 5m old and we are still happy. Being parents is a huge change, more than I expected but you adjust. just have lots of patience with each other and ask for and give forgiveness regularly lol. You will be tired and you will snap at each other just try to recognize it and apologize later. i have snapped plenty and so has he but I know he loves me and he knows I love him and we don't mean it when we snap. It's usually out of being over tired or over whelmed. We apologize once baby is asleep and move on. It is still possible lol
    amyalonso0505
  • It definitely depends on how your relationship was before the baby.
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  • I mean this is really an impossible question to answer. And it's completely relative to each persons life and experience. We've been married for ten years. We have a 6 yr old son. 2 yr old daughter. And a 13 week old son. Our baby was an oopsie baby. Lol. We both worked full time until I had our baby. I am now a stay at home mom and he works.

    For us, the hardest part is having time for sex because we have a small house and three kids one of which is a little baby. So that's hard. Other than that we haven't had any big struggles.

    No doubt ..parenting is hands down the hardest, most exhausting, most thankless job you will ever have. BUT it's also hands down the best thing you will ever do in your entire life. You have to learn to let go of the little things. Learn to choose your battles. Because otherwise you'll go insane.
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    amyalonso0505
  • We were a couple for 7 years before we married and married for 3 years when our first was born. We just celebrated 12 years together in June. We now have 2 children and plan to have more.

    The transition from 0-1 child was harder for both of us than transitioning from 1-2. We both share such similar values and becoming parents was a shock (tho our baby was planned, the life change was shocking) and it took a while to shift our perspectives from couple to family but in the end our relationship has been even stronger and we are wiser for it. As for love and romance we have so much! I really feel that our common values, including how much we value each other and our relationship, are the key to having a happy marriage and coping with stress. I don't believe there are any life hacks that work for every couple that becomes parents. For instance, we do the exact opposite of some PPs But it's what works for us and our values. It's really all so personal you have to figure this out with your SO and if you do decide parenting is for you then you will continue to figure it out every day from the day your child is born.
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  • We're very happily married and have been for 10 years. DD is 9. Parenting is hard. Marriage is hard. You can't take any of it for granted. For us, the secret is he gets guy weekends every few months and, just about every Sunday afternoon, I get a couple of hours of Mommy time. Every month or so, we have a date, even if it's just an afternoon. We're a team and remember that she will eventually grow up and move away and that we were a couple before she was born. That's important, too. We adore her, but she doesn't make us who we are. Keep in mind everyone gets stressed tho. Not everything will always be sunshine and flowers. That's just not life. The daily grind happens. I'm just very happy that I'm going thru it with DH.
    niknak1208
  • Just because someone may look unhappy, doesn't mean they are. Yes, when baby comes there is less time, but you find ways to make time, and to make the fewer moments you get to spend with your partner count that much more. Parenthood has been great in our relationship. We've grown to be better at working together, and at supporting each other. From outside our relationship, people may question our happiness, but we aren't unhappy as parents - we're tired! I enjoyed our relationship and life before baby, and I enjoy it just as much if not more now. It can be challenging at times, lack of sleep, lack of time, but we find ways to make it work, and we both feel that our daughter is totally worth any sacrifices that we have had to make. :) Every relationship is different, and it's hard to know what a relationship is truly like unless you're in it. :)
  • Whatever I tell you as my experience, doesn't change how differently it may be for you.  My husband and I have been married for 5 years and have one beautiful little boy.  Our marriage was pretty rocky before we had DS, but since I got pregnant, it's been amazing.  It hasn't been perfect, but pretty close!  For one, I'm a much happier person being a mom and he seems to enjoy his role as daddy.  We now have a reason to work as a team and both appreciate the choices we each make for our family.  Seeing how much he loves and parents our child makes our marriage 10 times better than ever before.  Sure, we get stressed, but I've found that where I loose patient, DH steps in with his never-ending patients.  Where DH lacks in organization and expertise, I step in to guide.  We compliment each other, where before we just got on each others nerves.
    Egg Retrieval - Feb. 2013 -> OHSS.  FET#1 - June 2013(failed). FET#2 - October 2013(success!) Griffin Alistair: 6#10oz 20" long, born 6/19/14 @ 4:04am
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  • Well, for the most part I am equally happy if not happier than before we had children.  Our marriage also hasn't suffered because of it.  However, having little ones can be incredibly hard.  I once heard someone say it is kinda like climbing Mt. Everest.  It's exhausting and stressful and grueling and there will be times when you think you can't go on or when you want to give up.  There will also be times that are magical and you will think " I never knew I would love this as much as I do."  So if you are talking to parents of little ones, well... it would be like talking to someone in the middle of the climb up Everest.  Doesn't mean you shouldn't attempt it yourself and that doesn't mean there isn't magic in the climb, it's just that..well that might not be the best time to ask them if you should climb Mt. Everest yourself.  Does that make sense ?
    sarahsairsair
  • I'm late to the party here, but my biggest piece of advice is talk about everything and anything you can think of to do with parenting and kids BEFORE you start trying to have one.

    Breastfeeding, co-sleeping, spanking, discipline, circumcision, where to send them to school, should you give them an allowance, will you be paying for college, will they be expected to work in high school. will you buy them their first car....EVERYTHING!


  • Might be the hormones but 90% of the time I want to punch my husband in the face. Baby changed everything for me.
    sarahsairsairamyalonso0505theredofheadchein1
  • Parenting is TOUGH. We had a strong relationship Before babies. After I feel there is no "us" and we've tried date nights, etc. We still have a good, happy marriage but it's based on our strong foundation. We couldn't have survived parenting without it. I also don't want life without my kids.
  • We had a strong relationship before we had our child, and we still have a strong relationship. Parenting is exhausting though, there are sleepless nights and phases the kid goes through that is crappy, and all of that jazz. It can take a toll, and we have found that most of our petty arguments, could have 100% easily been avoided if we had both communicated. We only have one (who is 4), but we have managed to keep our life pretty much the same as pre-kid. Our date nights are a little less, but we just make sure to spent time together each evening after kiddo goes to bed. Other than that, we still travel just as much, we still have our life. We wanted our child to come into our lives, not the other way around....we still have our family time, our couple time, and our individual time (although my individual time is a little harder to come by, as I work longer hours and by the time I get home, I just want to stay home with them in my sweats). 
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  • We were more like Elsa with 1. With 2 we have total chaos & haven't gotten in a "perfect" routine yet.
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