12 Ways To Baby-Proof Your Marriage
According to a 2009 study conducted by researchers at the University of Denver, 90 percent of couples experienced a decline in marital satisfaction within a year after the birth of their first child. It’s no secret that a new baby places a tremendous strain on a marriage. Thankfully, there are ways to make the turbulent times more manageable. Some of them, you can even start working on before the baby is conceived. Here are 12 practical ways to baby-proof your marriage starting today.
Have a contingency plan for in-laws with the babies
A new baby can turn the most reasonable parents-in-law into boundary-stomping lunatics. Be proactive by having a discussion to address how you will protect your new family’s boundaries in the event that one of your parents goes off the deep end.
Get in the habit of praising each other often
In addition to all of the joyous moments that come with becoming a new parent, there are also tiresome days and sleepless nights that lie ahead. Some days, the overwhelming love that you have for your kid and the encouraging words of your spouse are the only things that will get you through the day. Get into the habit of praising each other often — especially for the little things. A little bit of appreciation goes a long way.
Have a candid discussion about the division of labor
Caring for an infant is a full-time job and both parties need to pull their weight. Compile a list of household and baby-related tasks, then split up the jobs in a way that is both realistic and fair. It’s best to do this before the exhaustion of new parenthood kicks in. You can always reevaluate and readjust later.
Pad your savings account
Babies come with all sorts of unexpected expenses, so having a healthy emergency stash is crucial. The moment you decide to begin trying to conceive, you should establish an aggressive savings plan.
Begin examining your budget. Locate the areas where you can cut costs without compromising your quality of life. No one is ever truly prepared for the expenses of a new baby, but trying to downsize ahead of time will save you money and headaches in the future.
Establish a budget
Create a spreadsheet of your monthly expenses. Now factor in the monthly recurring costs that you anticipate will be added as the result of a new baby such as diapers, wipes, formula, and childcare. Give yourself some wiggle room by adding an extra hundred dollars or so for miscellaneous baby needs.
Go on a babymoon
A babymoon is a vacation that parents usually take before welcoming a new little one. They typically occur during the second trimester. Once the new baby gets here, it may be a while before you can travel or have one-on-one time, so take advantage before your new bundle arrives.
Schedule alone time
The first few months will be a blur, but once you get somewhat settled into your new normal, you’ll want to come up with a plan for how you will spend some one-on-one time together. Once an adorable baby arrives on the scene, intimacy will be the first thing to go unless you’re intentional about it.
Have a few plans for sleeping arrangements
You invest hundreds of dollars into a nursery only for your tiny human to come home and decide she only wants to sleep on your chest. Do a little research on the different sleeping arrangements for newborns and come up with at least two plans for how you and your spouse will handle the night shift.
Recognize your triggers
New parenthood is stressful and when your basic needs — such as sufficient sleep — aren’t being met a little bickering is virtually inevitable. However, you can mitigate the tension by stopping to acknowledge your triggers and practicing a little self-control. If you can’t discuss a topic without raising your voice or making slick remarks, table the conversation until later.
Ask for help
This could be one of the hardest parts of new motherhood. When you need help, speak up. Asking for what you want as opposed to being a martyr and suffering in silence until someone notices will make you a much happier person and will help to cut down on resentment.