My sweet sister, Whittney, became a new mother just one month ago. There is something really neat about watching her in this transition. Not only is she a great mama, but she also holds true to her title as great wife. Yesterday afternoon I got a chance to chat with her and asked if she would share a little about how she keeps her marriage going strong after the new baby.
Here is what she had to say:
Life after the baby is certainly different. There is not as much US time anymore. Craig and I can't just stop and do whatever we want, like drop everything and go out to dinner just because I don't want to cook. We also used to do our household chores together, like doing the dishes after dinner. But now, I would much rather do it on my own, so he can go keep an eye on the baby. (I don't know what it is, but I still can't rest easy if the baby is out of our sight.)
A couple weeks after having our little guy, I decided it would be a good idea to start getting him on a schedule, esp at night so I can get a little more sleep. At 8 o'clock I would begin; I'd feed him, bathe him, dress him, read to him, and finally put him down to sleep. Then I would be exhausted from the full day of activity and middle of the night feedings, and I would zonk out too, thus leaving very little time for Craig and me to connect. I could tell after a few days that this wasn't going to work. Not having connection time was going to wear on us.
I decided that I needed to be intentional about making some time for us to hang out. So I moved the baby's routine up earlier. That way I could put the baby to sleep, and we still had a moment to be together. The first night I did this Craig made a comment, something like, "Nice, now we get to spend some time together!" I felt kinda bad, like maybe I had been ignoring him.
Now, after we put the baby to bed, we make dinner together. He barbecues while I make the sides, and then we sit down together and talk. He asks about my day, I ask about his. I tell him about the baby and he fills me on how work went. We talk about our future plans and stuff we want to do. Then we will just relax. Sometimes we will turn on the tv and see what's on prime time. Though we are zoning out on television, its nice to just hold hands and know he is right there.
Even though having a baby can be sometimes stressful and exhausting, it has certainly brought us closer. I love watching him with the baby and seeing that we created something so beautiful together. It's also cool watching Craig cus I think he never thought he would have this in his life. Before me and the baby, he was set in his ways. He was happy the way things were. But once we started dating it opened up a whole new world of possibilities. And so it's cool to watch how he has grown and fallen in love with this new life.
When asked what advice I have for new parents, I say make sure you find ways to stay connected: have dinner together, write a post-it on the fridge with a sweet message, hold hands. Oh, and don't be afraid to ask for help. I tend to be very independent... I have the "I can do this myself" mentality, but it can become exhausting especially with a new baby in the house. I have learned that it is great bonding time when he helps me with the baby or whatever I am working on.
The next step? Well, Craig just asked, "When can we get babysitter and go out for dinner... just the two of us?"