How Strong is Your Relationship…. Before You Have Children?

familyI hear people announce they are pregnant and starting a family or adding to family and my instant internal reaction is OH GOSH. On the outside I am genuinely happy for them but I always wonder, are you ready for the S*@! storm that comes with parenting? If you are adding to the brood, are you ready for an additional small person taking your life over even more so than you could ever imagine?

Don’t get me wrong! I am a Mum and I love and adore my child, but sometimes she pushes me to my limits – that’s just what children do! RIGHT? I get that NOW! But it took me a few years to navigate the thinking of a baby, toddler, then school aged child. The teens are still to come – get back to me in a few years on that! They are complex little people who constantly keep us on our toes. I like a challenge and I like to win so it makes my life as a parent very interesting, especially due to the fact my daughter is EXACTLY the same personality type as me! She likes to win too. Even as a baby she challenged me! And believe me she wins more than I do as I often get to the point of exhaustion and so then just pick my battles. All I can say is that it’s just as well we love them unconditionally!!! But ….

Due to the fact I have been through my own marriage break down and have been a single parent I very much know life on the other side, when things don’t work out how you envisaged they would that day you decided to start a family and live happily ever after with 2.5 children and a loving husband/wife. That’s the But….. What if children suddenly change your life SO much that your relationship begins to suffer and worst case scenario it ends??

With my coaching clients I see a similarity within them, I hear things like…. “We weren’t ready for kids but age/society/pressure meant we just got on with it anyway”…. Or “We had one and it was all great but then number two came along and the pressures of family and both working full time etc”… Or “My partner thinks it’s my job to be the home maker, bring up the children, and still have the energy to work full or part time, I get no support”… And it goes on…

So all I want to say is.. think about life after children before you have them, discuss together how the household chores will be shared and if you are both going to be working parents how that will look, in regards to who will get the kids to day-care and home again? Who will take a step back in their career for the first few years to focus on the children? And most of all, how you can support each other both personally and professionally? Now that you have little people to care for it’s hard to find the time to take much care for yourself let alone your spouse. SO will you both be OK with that for a few YEARS? While the kids are very young, its tough and often your needs won’t get met! You are not Number One anymore! Is there enough love to overcome all these obstacles and still allow you both time find couple time? Have you got family close by to help out? Can you afford to live off one income for a few years? So much to think about! Yes, we would never do it if we knew what was involved but pre-empting such things at least means you go into having a family with your eyes as open as possible.

Accept that you will see each other at your worst when children are young. Being sleep deprived and trying to cope with a terrible two’s toddler and possibly then a new born to follow, it can wear even the happiest person down very quickly. You might try to stay upbeat, dressed nicely, and showered, OR NOT, but some days your child is going to have other ideas. Give each other lots of grace. OH, and DON’T try to renovate a house and have children all at the same time. Believe me, it’s a recipe for disaster. Just getting up and going to work some days is exhausting! Wait until the kids are older or renovate BEFORE you have kids. Trust me on that! Really, they will demolish it anyway so just wait until they leave home .

Just be kind to each other and remember what made you fall in love and try your hardest to keep that love alive. Once the children reach school age (all of them) life gets somewhat easier, so try and tough it out and ask for help when you feel you are drowning in the life of what’s called parenting. We all have ways of getting through the week, figure out what works for your family before it’s too late. And let it be known single parenting is not an easy ride!! So do your best for each other and yourself as well as your children or future children.

If you feel you need support to keep on top of it all I can be that person for you as a coach I work with clients who are often still in the marriage, to improve on it both in communication and managing your goals and expectations. If you need couples counselling/ family counselling I can refer you on as a couple to many varying experts I tie in with. Don’t put it off if you sense things are not right, you are usually correct and the sooner you address it the more hope there is for your family. Be grateful and be happy as much as you possibly can!

Degrees of Separation

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