Updated: Sep 22
Often after the joyous, stressful, and life-changing event of having a baby, many couples can find themselves running into relationship problems and start arguing.
Reasons for more frequent arguing after having a baby could be as followed:
As a woman and likely as a result of hormonal changes, you might find yourself snapping at your partner a whole lot more than you used to.
Mood swings can occur due to sleep deprivation.
You also might just need more help with chores and talk about things that are changing once having a baby. It will take more effort for both of you to challenge yourselves to bond while emptying the diaper pail and cleaning mashed sweet potatoes out of the high chair for sure.
Possible solutions to prevent arguing:
If you notice you start to resent your partner for going to work while you are at home with the baby, speak up when you need a break. Work out a win-win plan at least once a week and arrange for your partner to watch the baby for a few hours while you meet a couple of friends for a coffee. Go for dinner, a run, or just read a book.
If you're wary of using a babysitter or paying for one, set up a babysitting coop with parent friends or trade-off with the couple next door.
Another struggle after having a baby is that often couples create expectations about how much time they will have for themselves after the baby arrives or from not having the time and attention for each other like before. On one hand, both partners require "me" time to re-energize as individuals but also "we" time to keep close as a couple.
Possible solutions to creating ‘me and we’ time:
Openly talk to your partner about your emotional needs. Be aware of being respectful and appreciative. Maybe even use those pet names you used to call each other before. Go out of your way to show a little kindness such as saying thank you more often or saying what you appreciate about the other person or how they helped you today. Take a few minutes a day to consciously improve your communication and conflict skills.
Integrate healthy habits and romantic rituals into your daily lives. Go on out-of-the-ordinary dates like a concert or a hike despite the baby, which can create more adventure. In that way, you can start to associate your relationship with fun again. Book that together time at home to keep from drifting apart. Schedule a time to watch a movie after the baby went to sleep or spend quality time together to connect. It will help to have something to look forward to.
Other conflicts to watch out for:
What can show up, especially as a mother is that the baby can become more important than your partner. There is something innate that bonds a woman and her baby, but a little time away from the baby can do big things for your sanity. Again it is good for your relationship.
Keep reminding yourself to take yourself away from the baby from time to time. Again pay attention to spending time with your partner. You’re both crazy about the baby, and there’s no reason either of you should hurt each other’s feelings because of it. Don’t let it get between the two of you. If anything, use your shared love for the baby to grow even closer.
Another aspect that can create tension and arguments after having a baby, is the parenting styles of both of you. Any difference in parenting style can lead to conflict. Even if you and your partner share a similar style, you may still find yourselves arguing. Parenting can be exhausting and emotionally intense work. When you and your partner disagree, you may feel angry or misunderstood.
Strategies that help in coping with different parenting styles:
Explore how your parenting styles complement each other. For instance, if you are a permissive parent, you may help your more authoritarian partner be more affectionate. Meanwhile, your partner may support you in setting boundaries.
Pay attention to not undermining each other. You as parents will have to be present and support each other. Encourage your partner’s parenting decisions even when they might not be the ones you would have made.
Read parenting books together and discuss them.
Join a parenting support group.
When other strategies don’t work, marriage counselling can help.
Last but not least, finances are also important to address before becoming parents. Clashing money styles may not affect you as a couple without a baby, but differences can start to cause problems after the baby is born.
Discuss your spending and saving habits and your long-term goals with each other.
Review six months of expenses to see exactly where your money goes. Then add in the costs for baby must-haves. Sometimes husbands can become weary of the money spent on the baby so it will be good to watch for any unnecessary expenses.
To conclude, there will be ups and downs in your relationship after having a baby, but something about having created a life together and taking care of that life as a team will bond you and your partner in a whole new way.