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Date Night Alone Can't Save Your Relationship If You're New Parents
PHOTO BY @paulaphoto/iStock
  • Pregnancy and the period following childbirth is, to say the least, a most challenging time for any parent — moms, especially. While you’re coming to terms with your body as it slowly heals, here’s a baby who absolutely needs your full care and attention. It can really get the best of you. Along with sleep deprivation, achy body parts, and your hormones causing mood swings, it’s easy to take out your frustrations on the person closest to you: your husband.   

    Terri Orbuch, Ph.D., author of 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great, says, “It doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with your relationship. It just means you’re trying to do too much.”

    So you could get a breather, well-meaning people will advise you to go out and have a date night as soon as you are able to. True, a change of scenery may help. But don’t expect it to be a fix-all for everything that’s bugging you. What will help is addressing each issue with practical solutions, such as the following.

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    Relationship rules for new parents

    Get someone to help you out.

    There’s this notion that a woman must be able to do it all — care for your child, breastfeed, and keep the home tidy — to be considered a good mom. Realistically though, this is a tall order, which can lead you to feelings of frustrations. “But putting that kind of pressure on yourself isn’t healthy,” according to marriage therapist Rachel A. Sussman from New York.

    The solution is to free yourself up from unrealistic expectations, and get the help you need, whether that’s a sitter or a night nurse. Freeing yourself up from some responsibilities occasionally will make you feel better about yourself and less resentful towards your partner. “Kids grow up healthier when they see their parents being happy and loving each other,” says Sussman.

    Step back.

    The pressure to be in control and make everything work is just too much, especially if you’re a new mom. The truth is, if you let your husband, he will gladly take over and do that job for you. You just need to let go. “When men help with housework and childcare, women are happier with their relationship,” says Dr. Orbuch. 

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    Find your mom tribe.

    “Moms need understanding, and your partner likely won’t satisfy your every need for conversations about parenthood,” M. Gary Neuman, author of Connect to Love: The Keys to Transforming Your Relationship, told Parents. It is the women who are going through the same experiences — fellow moms — who can give you the comfort and understanding you need. Having them listen to you and validate your feelings will do you and your relationship with your husband good. 

    And, yes, spend moments with your partner.

    Any window of time you find that the two of you can get together can be considered a “moment,” and you don’t really need to dress up to the nines or make grand plans to enjoy the its benefits. Pause. Connect. Talk about anything but work (or your parental duties) and see what it can do for your well-being.

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