4 Ideas for reconnecting with your Spouse after welcoming a new baby to the family
I recently wrote a post called “How getting out of the house helped me manage my postpartum anxiety”. The post is an introduction to my struggles with postpartum anxiety and how I learned to cope. If you’ve read the post, you may have noticed that my husband and I’s relationship was not in a good place at 6 months postpartum. In fact, someone even reached out after I published the post asking if we were still together.
Yes we are still together, however it did take a lot of work for us to get on the same page again. Luckily my husband is an incredibly patient and understanding individual.
Let me describe the state of our relationship at 6 months postpartum. I was emotional, exhausted, and avoided going out of the house. My husband felt pent up and was often confused by the anxiety I has feeling. I was frequently angry at him because he did not understand what I was going through.
It took quite a bit of time for me to get myself back on track. That is a whole other story. We also had a lot of work to do as a couple. Here are some on the ways we reconnected:
This one may sound counterintuitive, but this is one that really helped. As new parents we were spending all of our time together. We had a new little one to take care of and a never-ending flow of chores around the house. Although we never said it out loud, I think we were both a little relieved at the idea of a break.
I spent my break getting a one hour massage then sitting in the coffee shop for an hour reading a magazine. My husband spent his break playing disk golf and getting a quick beer with a friend. We each took two hours of “me time” on separate days and separate weeks.
For this to work, we both had to take a separate break. That does not mean texting each other every five minutes asking “How’s the baby?”, “Everything ok?”, or “Did you feed the baby?” We used the time to truly take a break from our baby, spouse, and chores. We found that we appreciated each other a little more and all of the things that we each did for the other.
This one was very hard for me to do. I was finally getting my postpartum anxiety under control but I was still wary of leaving my baby for any amount of time. I had to remind myself that we needed the time to focus on each other for a change.
My parents came over to our house to watch our daughter so we could have a date night. We got dinner and spent a few hours at a nearby casino. In hindsight, this was a great date idea because there were no babies in the casino to remind me that my little one was at home. We had a lot of fun!
Once again, the key to this one was focusing on each other. The date would have been ruined had I spent most of the time checking my phone for updates on our daughter. It was a nice change of pace to just focus on each other and have some fun.
Cook Dinner Together
At this point in our relationship cooking was a chore that I completed while my husband was distracting our daughter. This was a shame because I had always enjoyed cooking! Bless my husband’s heart, he loves to help in the kitchen and “thinks” that he is a good cook.
We decided to make an activity of it. I picked a relatively easy recipe but also one that required quite a bit of chopped ingredients. I was in charge of the stove, my husband was in charge of chopping, and my daughter was in charge of supervising. Our daughter was plopped into the high chair in the middle of the kitchen. We made sure to talk to her about everything we were doing and she loved watching us cook. I instructed my husband on what needed to be chopped up next and added to the pot.
Although this is not something we could do on a daily basis, it was fun to work together and accomplish something as a team. All too often we find ourselves assigning each other chores, but this made it a lot more fun.
One on Ones after Baby Bedtime
This is something that we did not do until our daughter was sleeping more consistently. Prior to motherhood I really enjoyed my sleep. Today, I am that mom that puts her baby to bed at 8pm then runs around the house doing chores as fast as possible with the goal of going to bed by 9pm. Motherhood is exhausting!
It became clear that my husband and I needed some one-on-one time outside of the occasional date night. So, at least one night a week I put the chores aside and spend some time with my husband while our daughter is sleeping. Sometimes we do a puzzle. Other times we watch a TV show. The most important part is that we spend time talking to each other.
It was nice to casually chat instead of talking about baby milestones, baby food, or baby poop (All moms spend a surprising amount of time talking about baby poop!!). I will mention that I strive to keep this time as relaxed as possible. I have heard of some people doing this but coercing their spouse into a deep heart to heart. My husband tends to shy away from some of those conversations. That wasn’t going to work for our relationship.
These are just some of the things that we did to try to reconnect as a couple. The common theme: making an effort. Making an effort is an essential part to reconnecting with your spouse. Every relationship is different so these ideas may or may not work for you. However, I promise that if you are both making an effort then you are taking a step in the right direction.
We love doing new things, so I’d love to hear any ideas that have worked for your relationship!!