I never wanted to be married and in all honesty, I never really knew if I wanted to be a mum. I don’t particularly love kids and always found them super annoying unless asleep. I’m also very protective of my relationship as we’re both super independent, love to travel, explore and try new things, so when we found out we were pregnant we knew we wanted to work hard to keep hold of the life we’ve always known but with the special addition of our little girl, Jax. In this post, I want to share with you the ways in which we feel we have been able to hold onto the relationship we’ve always had whilst trying to be the best parents we can be.
Something I learned very early on is that you don’t have to conform to the stereotypes of parenthood. Both my husband and I wanted to make sure we didn’t slip into tracksuits, sick on our tops or unwashed hair and although we still have days when we’re in comfy clothes, making an effort to still be proud of our appearance really helped us feel like ourselves. Although I couldn’t give a shit about labels or the latest fashion trends, it was just nice to feel gorgeous in the clothes we’ve always loved or rock a lipstick even when we might have only had 2 hours sleep.
Too often I hear mums moaning about their partners and while I agree there are a lot of crappy ones not doing their bit to help out, sometimes us mums can make it harder on them by not really explaining what we need or how they can actually support us more. After a couple of weeks as new parents, we sat down and spoke openly about what we need from each other. My husband explained that he needs physical contact to feel loved and no that doesn’t just mean sex, it means holding hands, a hug or a compliment at some point during the day. Compliments do nothing for me, I told him I needed him to do the bins, pick up the dog poo and ask me if I want anything to drink while breastfeeding. This line of open communication meant we both knew our roles and how to support the other person, and trust me, it worked wonders.
Finding time for each other is harder when you have a little one but it’s not impossible. Whenever Jax is asleep we’ll try to go into another room and hug or spoon it out, we’ll go for a walk to the coffee shop with her in a sling instead of the pushchair simply so that we can hold hands and we’ll gladly take up offers from friends or family members if it means we can go and have an espresso martini or cinema trip together. Don’t be afraid to ask for couple time. Far too often as mums we put every ounce of love we have into our child but remember, one day that child will grow up and move on with his or her own life. Wouldn’t you like your partner to still be there when that day happens? I’d love to hear your thoughts on holding onto your relationship as new parents so please leave me your comments below!
Photos by Lydia Collins.