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Having children is a huge step for any marriage. I’m a firm believer that children are a blessing, but I’d be lying if I told you that children do not have a huge impact on your marriage.
Maybe you’ve stumbled onto this article because you feel like your marriage is hanging by a thread after you have decided to start a family.
Or maybe you are married and thinking of taking that next step to starting a family, but you are trying to decide if you are really ready to make that huge step.
Whatever situation you are in, it’s important to acknowledge the changes that take place after you have children. The second most important thing to do is to plan for those changes and adjust so that you can maintain a healthy and happy marriage with your spouse.
What Changes After Children
The first and probably most noticeable thing that changes when you have children is your finances.
Obviously the first thing that is going to hit your budget hard is childcare.
According to the Committee for Economic Development, “The average annual cost of care for an infant (in Florida) is $8,376 in a child care center and $7,449 in a family child care home.”
Childcare is often overlooked when planning for a family. Other changes that affect your finances are: baby formula, diapers, clothing, and increased grocery bills (just to name a few).
How to Manage Finances
Tip #1: Figure out Childcare
If you don’t have kids yet, figure out your plan for childcare prior to having a child.
I recommend calling child care centers in your area and getting some prices to see what you can or cannot afford.
Also look into in-home daycare options. I recommend getting a referral prior to putting your child at an in-home daycare center.
If you’d prefer to put your child in a daycare center then you should definitely read my article on how to find quality child care.
Stay at Home Parenting Option
Childcare is very expensive, and it may be more affordable for one spouse to work while the other stays home to care for the children.
If you are a working mother or father and this is the decision that you decide to make, be realistic.
Staying home with the children is a huge sacrifice. The spouse staying home will be the main caretaker for the child while the other is the breadwinner.
I’ve seen many couples go this route and one spouse ends up resenting the working spouse because of their amount of “freedom” while the other spouse staying home is sometimes devalued because they are not bringing in income.
The only way for this arrangement to work is if both spouses recognize the other as a priority and a valuable piece in the family puzzle.
Just because the non working spouse is home does not mean that they are not working. They are maintaining a home, while being everything that child needs.
Likewise, just because the other spouse is not home with the kids does not mean that they are free from responsibility. In fact, they have a very heavy burden of providing for all members of the family.
If you’ve found yourself in this situation there are some serious conversations you need to have with your spouse.
Don’t blame each other, do your best to find common ground. If you need to seek professional help then do so!
Tip #2: Coupon and Use Apps for discounts
Couponing for items like diapers, wipes, and even grocery’s can help cut down on costs and add money back into your budget.
I use the Ibotta app which allows you to sync your Walmart, Target, and other large retailer apps to your phone. Ibotta offers digital coupons for instore and online purchases.
Simply select the coupons that you like and add them to your cart, then go to your app and shop regularly or go in the store and purchase your items.
As long as you pay with a card that is associated with your account, then the App will award you that amount in your Ibotta app.
Once you reach 20 dollars in rewards, you can cash out directly into your bank account. Below is a picture of my current Ibotta balance. I’m waiting until I get to $100 to cash out.
Using apps for discounts can also be beneficial to help save money. I have fast food apps that offer free meals after earning so many points, or a certain percentage off food purchases. This is a great way to eat out and still save money.
Alone time changes when you have children. I cannot tell you when was the last time I was home alone.
My children are currently two and six, and it often feels that I have multiple shadows. They follow me to the bathroom, talk to me in the shower, and beg for my attention when I sit down to watch my favorite shows.
Alone time will also change. My husband and I work as a team to help maintain the house and kids and often we are in the same house, but we are running around it handling different things.
Finding time to sit and talk with your spouse without interruption can be difficult. Lying in the bed with each other often turns into children climbing into the bed with us and the tv staying on pause until they decide they want to leave.
My husband and I have a running joke. We always tell people it takes us 3 days to watch a movie. Just sitting down to write this blog post took me forever, I’ve been interrupted at least 8 times (no exaggeration).
How to Secure Quiet Time After Having Kids
I have become either an early riser or a nighthawk. When I want to feel like I am home alone, I will wake up early and make myself a cup of coffee. Sometimes I write, and sometimes I read.
I tend to stay up late at night when I want to watch a show uninterrupted. Oftentimes my husband and I stay up late to spend quality time with each other. We either watch one of our favorite shows or just stay up and chat.
Talking to your spouse is so important. Sometimes we can get into the hustle and bustle of our day to day routine that we feel like we are “in passing”. Even if we take 5 minutes to just sit and talk, it allows us to check in on each other
When you check in with each other it gives you both the opportunity to speak freely and be open and honest with how you are feeling.
My husband and I often ask the following questions:
- How are you feeling?
- Do you feel neglected?
- Do you feel like you’ve got enough time with me this week?
- Are you feeling loved?
Intimacy changes when you have children. Sometimes sexy time gets interrupted by a crying baby, or a child with a tummy ache.
Long are the days where you can just jump bones any time of the day. Often, you have to find the most opportune time or moment, otherwise your efforts can go down the drain by a waking baby or a knock on the door.
Sometimes women and men’s sex drive can actually decrease after having a baby. OBGYN Sheryl Ross from Web-MD, states, “That it is completely normal for men and women’s libido to hit rock bottom during the first six to nine months after your baby is born.”
Let me tell you that this is indeed factual. Just adding all the extra responsibilities to your schedule is enough to feel overwhelmed and can leave you feeling drained at the end of the day.
How to Fix It
First and foremost be honest with your spouse. Communicate to them how you are feeling.
Speak with your doctor about severe changes in libido. They can offer some suggestions that can help get that urge back.
Trying supplements can help. There are several libido enhancing pills on the market. Do your research and try one that you feel is best for you. Herbal Supplements like maca root can boost sex drive.
Prioritizing intimacy is important. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up into the day to day routine of keeping up with the kids and maintaining a household.
Sometimes you are going to have to let some things ride. If the dishes don’t get done and the laundry doesn’t get folded you will survive.
I am the first to admit that I hate leaving dishes in the sink, but sometimes I have to let those things go so that I can make time for intimacy with my husband.
If I am trying to make sure the house is spotless before going to bed, then chances are when I’m done all I am going to want to do is go to bed.
Hitting the road whenever you want, planning a last minute weekend vacay or just heading to the movies midweek is a thing of the past.
I’m not saying you can’t be spontaneous anymore, but you definitely have to plan if you want to be spontaneous. Some may feel this defeats the purpose, but trust me when you have kids it’s the only way.
How to keep it spicy
You don’t have to say goodbye to your weekend getaways, but you do have to properly plan them.
Look ahead on your calendar and pick a random weekend. Tell your spouse to take those days off. If you want to keep the element of surprise don’t tell them what the plans are.
Obviously you’re going to need to lock down a babysitter. So definitely plan for that.
Sometimes your children are just too young to plan a getaway. So instead of doing an overnight trip, plan for a “date day”.
I’ve taken a random day of the week off and coordinated with my husband’s schedule. We went to breakfast, went shopping, and saw an early movie all while the kids were at school and daycare. This way we didn’t have to plan to find a babysitter.
Your life is definitely going to get busier when you have children. Packing lunches, getting extra clothes ready, bath time, homework, you name it.
Don’t forget you are adding those tasks to your normal day to day responsibilities like cooking, cleaning, taking care of the home and work.
There are so many things extra that you are going to have to do now that you are responsible for another little person.
How to Manage it
The best way to help with this is to work together. Taking care of children is a full time job. It’s literally 24 hours 7 days a week.
It will become overwhelming if only one partner is trying to handle the majority of these responsibilities themselves. The last thing you want in your marriage is one partner to feel burnt out.
If you feel like you are doing it all yourself, talk to your spouse.
Ask for help, and take the help they give you without being critical.
Your partner is not going to load the dishwasher just like you would, so don’t criticize the help when it’s given (I had to learn the hard way).
If you really are particular about how something is done then don’t even ask your spouse to help with that. Give your spouse tasks that you are not so particular about.
Children do change your marriage, but those changes are manageable. It takes a true partnership to be able to maintain a happy marriage after children.
Both spouses are going to have to adjust, compromise, and communicate. Don’t forget when your kids are grown and out of the house it will be just you and your spouse. Make sure that you don’t loose your passion for each other.
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~Peace & Love