Parenting Mistakes That Ruin The Romance
When a couple talks about having a baby together, they often only think about how this huge step will bring them closer together and bond them forever. And while there is nothing like creating a little person who is equal parts you and the man you love, and while caring so deeply about something together is incredible, you can’t forget the fact that all of the attention you used to pay to each other will go to your child. And paying a lot of attention to the same baby is not the same thing as paying attention to one another (even if your little munchkin does have your partner’s chin). You’ll have to make adjustments to keep your romance alive and make sure your roles as parents don’t overshadow your roles as partners. Here are parenting mistakes that can ruin the romance, and how to avoid them.
Blowing date money on baby stuff
Your child is not going to notice the difference between the generic wipes versus the brand name ones, or the designer romper versus the Target one, or the newest model of the battery-powered swing versus the older one. Stop treating your child like a king who must have the priciest items in the land if it means you and your partner can’t afford date night because of it. Oh, and if your child is the only one getting brand new, cute underwear in the household while you’re wearing your old, ratty pairs, something is wrong.
Playing, “Who is the better parent?”
Try to avoid keeping track of who gives the kids the most baths, who prepares the most lunches, and who sacrifices the most. You probably both feel like you sacrifice a lot, and feeling like you need to prove that to your partner is demoralizing. If your partner asks for help with something because he is busy and you are free, just help out. Don’t start in with the, “But I did it last time…” Your romantic relationship doesn’t need these petty fights.
Only talking about the kids
Yes they did a dozen cute things today. And yes, you need to figure out what to do about the bedwetting happening with one, and the picky eating happening with the other. But don’t just talk about this. You’re more than parents; you’re friends, professionals, lovers and more. Talk about every aspect of your life, even if it’s hard to remember those through all the diapers.
Failing to recognize all that your partner does
Remember when you didn’t yet have children and your partner would stop you simply to say, “You’re such a good wife. You take such good care of me. You made me amazing lunches this week when I was too busy to make my own” and so on. Remember how warm and fuzzy that made you feel? Don’t forget to acknowledge your partner for the things he does for the kids now. He is, indirectly, doing those things for you.
Only hugging your kids
I get it. They’re adorable. You just want to snuggle them all of the time. You even feel guilty snuggling your husband, when your kids are there and they need to be snuggled, too. But don’t forget that it’s good for your children to see you and your husband being affectionate with one another.
Letting the kids sleep with you
They have to learn to sleep in their own rooms eventually. If you let them crawl into your bed any time they feel the least bit afraid, your sex life will be over. It’s hard to take a stance on it, but you need to make your kids sleep in their own room.
Hosting all the play dates
Don’t let your friends pressure you into hosting all of the play dates. You and your partner deserve to have the house to yourselves sometimes, too. I understand you want to be super mom. And I understand maybe you’re a stay-at-home-mom and your friends work, which somehow makes you feel like you “should” host all the play dates. But don’t think like that. Your romantic relationship is just as important as your friends’ careers or anything else they want alone time for.
Only having family vacations
Don’t mistake family trips for vacation with your partner. These are completely separate things. You and your partner do not bond over watching your child meet Harry Potter characters the way you do over a sunset and cocktails at a grown-up resort. Make sure you divide up your vacation time and resources into family trips and grown up trips, equally.
Covering your bedroom with kids toys
Your bedroom should remain a grown up space as much as possible. Don’t let your kids start slowing taking over by dragging their toys and their clothes and their books into your room. When you look at your room, you should think about sleep and sex. You shouldn’t think about teaching anybody the ABC’s.
Doing everything on your own
Don’t be those parents for whom no babysitter is good enough. If you are those parents then you will never get another date night or grownup trip again. If several of your friends vouch for a babysitter, and she’s babysat for them for years without incident, then suck it up and hire her.
Always talking in baby voice
When you talk to your children all day, you can end up talking like a child. You’ll end up using the little cutesy words your children use to describe things like the “potty” and the “snacksies.” Make an effort to change back into your grown up voice around your partner. Having sex with someone who just used the word potty is creepy.
Only speaking to your children
When you’re all gathered around for dinner or game night, it’s tempting to give your children all the attention—to just ask about their day and ask what’s been on their minds. But speaking to your children with your partner is not the same as speaking to your partner. Don’t feel bad about having some grownup talk in the presence of your kids. Again, it’s good for them to see you and your partner engage.
Always opting for the family friendly restaurant
Again, babysitters and in-laws exist for a reason. Get them to watch your children so that you and your partner can go to a grown up restaurant from time to time. Don’t fall into the pattern of thinking, “We should only go to grown up restaurants on special occasions.”
Always putting your kid’s needs first
Learn to prioritize needs appropriately. If your child is complaining because his sibling changed the TV channel, but your partner really needs to vent to you about truly stressful things in his life, give your partner the attention. Don’t leave your partner always feeling like your second priority.
Giving into needy, clingy children
You may end up with kids who want to be by your side all of the time, who give every babysitter you hire complete hell, who bang on your bedroom door until you let them in, and who cry anytime you leave their side. Don’t give into this. It sets your child up for unhealthy behavior later in life, and it sets your romantic relationship with your partner up to fail.