A special connection is created between you and your partner when you first realize, ‘We did this, this little miracle is here because of us and it is a part of both of us.’ Looking at your child for the first time is overwhelming, at that time you feel immense joy and awe. But this blissful mix of emotion quickly subsides and a new set replaces them as you enter the unchartered territory of…Parenthood.
During the supposedly perfect days of ‘just the two of you’, there were certain dynamics that occurred: The two of you agreed, the two of you disagreed and found a compromise or one of you gave in to the other. You grew accustomed to this arrangement and found a way to make it work and be happy.
Now, you suddenly find yourselves under new circumstances with a new set of choices to be made. The dynamics that were in place are long gone and everything is confusing and you feel as if you are on a shaky ground. There is a third person involved and although they don’t even have an opinion yet, it sure seems that they affect every decision you make. It’s all about them. Choices just aren’t so simple anymore.
We begin to think that this little person has taken something from us: our freedom. We believe that our freedom of choice, freedom of time, and freedom of thinking, have all been taken away. Oh, how foolish we are! We don’t see what is right before us.
A reflection of ourselves
We are blaming the wrong things. Kids are not the problem nor did they cause the problem. The harsh reality is that the problem always existed; our kids just held up a mirror and reflected what was inside of us all along. Kids show us our flaws, which we previously refused to acknowledge, or maybe didn’t even know existed. They bring out the worst in us, which is a gift and a blessing that many people take for granted, disregard, or completely throw away in their ignorance.
Grown-ups can be immature and selfish. But you might say there were actually no major problems before your kids. “My spouse and I were doing just fine.” Ah, it’s so easy to live in a world where we are not challenged! We prefer to live in a world where the issues that lie deep in our hearts remain untouched.
Life can be even better than before
Life with kids can be BETTER than before. The wonderful truth is that nothing has been taken from you, quite the opposite; you have gained something that others without kids know nothing about. You have gained insight into your true self and if the two of you rise to the challenge of growing and changing with life, it will take you to a wonderful level of connection and depth that you would have not even known existed.
Change your perspective, go with the flow, and accept that things have changed. Learn to love life as it is and begin to embrace this new adventure. Don’t get stuck thinking that life was best before. No, the best of life is always yet to come if you are living right.
Balance is the key, balance of parental obligations and privileges, and balance in your relationship with your partner and with yourself. You are no longer just a couple and your life can no longer be just about the two of you nor should it be just about your child. Finding an appropriate balance can be tricky but it is very important that you adjust and learn to enjoy both of your roles and still be true to yourself as well.
Redefine quality time
Finding quality time together can be challenging but you can use that challenge to heighten the fun in your relationship. It’s those little moments that mean so much now. It’s not the long, lazy days at the beach solely focused on each other that matter now. Now, it’s passing one another in the hallway and enjoying the fact that you brushed up against each other. It’s a wink across a crowded room that lets each of you know that you are thinking of each other.
Talk, communicate, be honest and don’t judge one another. Share your concerns and don’t be harsh, but instead, be forgiving. Everyone reacts to life differently and helping each other through things rather than allowing bitterness and resentment is the difference between ‘make it or break it’. Each hurdle that you cross and each victory together, brings mutual respect and a stronger connection.
The gift of family
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that kids make your relationship worse. Challenging, yes, but lots of things are a challenge to relationships. That’s not the point. The point is whether or not you choose to face the challenges and allow them to help you grow and change with your partner, or fight life and end up alone. You have a special gift now. The three of you are a family together. Being a family can redefine you. It can make you into a better version of yourself. It’s all up to you.