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To wonder if all relationships are a bit shit when you have young children?

(71 Posts)
jinglebellmel Sun 05-Nov-17 12:05:37

We have a 3 year old and a 4 month old and I'm just feeling totally fed up - nothing huge, but a hundred little things that make me feel unappreciated and angry. We seem to be growing apart, he's at work I'm at home on mat leave our worlds couldn't be more different at the moment. I don't feel as though we even like each other at the moment let alone love each other. Have others experienced the same in their relationships and it's recovered as children got older and life less strained or am kidding myself?

jinglebellmel Sun 05-Nov-17 12:06:54

Maybe I should have put this in relationships?

Sevendown Sun 05-Nov-17 12:09:03

I think the early years stage is tough on any relationship.

pandarific Sun 05-Nov-17 12:15:27

No experience of this myself as no kids yet, but I think it is important to put work into keeping your relationship strong. Like, offloading kids on babysitter or parents and going out for a date night, or a grown up afternoon out. Would that be possible op?

Changerofname987654321 Sun 05-Nov-17 12:20:05

I only have one toddler and I totally get this. Your second baby is still very young (most people would say to young to go to a baby sitter) and I am assuming/hoping it will get better for you.

What are weekends and evenings like? Do you ever get time to yourself? Even a ten minute walk, reading a book or have a bath? My personal experience in the early moths was that I had not time or energy for left for anything once I had cared for the baby.

What was the early months like with your first child?

MatildaTheCat Sun 05-Nov-17 12:27:22

The early years are brutal. The answer to your question,’ does it get better?’ Is yes.

Some tips are:
Avoid competitive tiredness.
Keep life as easy and simple as possible. Young dc do not need a wide range of exciting outings.
Let the small stuff go.
Each take some time to yourselves on a regular basis. This must be fair.
Try really hard not to be negative too much even if you do feel fed up.
Talk and communicate.
Make sure the chores are fair. Being on Mat leave isn’t a holiday. If he seems to think it is then go out for the day and let him learn.

BowlingShoes Sun 05-Nov-17 12:28:00

I experienced this too. I think resentment can easily build up, on both sides, with each parent thinking their role is "tougher". The early years are very hard and the needs of small children take a lot of time and energy. My children are both school-aged now and it is easier as they are .ire independent and I think our relationship has had time to adjust to the changes. We don't have family locally so didn't have "date nights" as such when the children were small but sometimes it's nice to watch a film together or something. I would say it's important to keep the lines of communication open and try to let each other know how you are feeling.

Toonewtobehaving2 Sun 05-Nov-17 12:28:55

I totally get you. I gave a 23 month old and a 2 week old. I feel as though we were just getting back to being a couple when the 2 week old was born. I know I love DH though and hope he still feels the same way about me. I'm assuming it will get better the more sleep I get.
I'm due to go back to work when my DS is 9 months old. I felt last time things got much better for both of us once I did.
I think if you have been working and had a 'life' other than babies, nappies and crying, it's a hard transition to make. I felt like at times I was jealous of my DH going to work and he was jealous I didn't have to. It's an odd time, but deep down you know it will pass. X

Hell we are t even sleeping in the same room at the moment as DS is up feeding all night. But it will get better. Xx

EvelynWardrobe Sun 05-Nov-17 12:32:20

Yes, having a baby very nearly killed our relationship, I was utterly miserable and had I known how awful things would be I would never have had a child. It’s mostly ok now though, the seething bitterness has been replaced by low level grudge bearing and

dietcokeandwine Sun 05-Nov-17 12:33:39

You're not kidding yourself. The early years are tough on any relationship op. Especially in the baby years if you are a SAHM, or on maternity leave, and doing what feels like all the childcare.

I couldn't say that things get easy as they get older, but in many ways things can and do recover, and life can become less strained. The challenges change and the pressures on a relationship change as children grow up (i.e. logistical hassles of older kids with homework / multiple activities to ferry them around to etc etc) but that awful relentless grinding physical monotony of caring for small children does get a lot lot better.

lionsleepstonight Sun 05-Nov-17 12:37:27

Yes I do think most relationships take a battering in the early years. Regardless of what people post on facebook.
I do also think that you see someone's true colours in this time too. So do all couples come out the other end? No they dont. You may see a side of your partner that you grow to detest. However, it gets alot easier as each year goes by.
I agree with Matildathecat on all her points.

HornyTortoise Sun 05-Nov-17 12:37:40

My relationship turned to shit when I had DS. With only DD it was ok, as she was an easy child. But when DS came, DD started acting out and still does to some extent.

They are 3 and nearly 5 now though, and things seem to be calming down a bit and me and DH are 'reconnecting' after like 3 years of being so distant and moody with each other.

Yogagirl123 Sun 05-Nov-17 12:39:52

It is a tough time OP, having children in my experience changes your relationship. I know its hard but if you could get out with your partner, now and then it may help. And yes it gets easier.

user1499786242 Sun 05-Nov-17 12:46:15

It's so hard! So so hard
Well I think it can also depend on circumstances, I mean if your children all sleep through the night and go to the grandparents house twice a week then it might be easier than couples who get no sleep and no break/time together!
No advice as I'm in the no sleeper/support camp, we are struggling through
Keep telling ourselves we will have a date night one day! And it will all get easier as they get older! I hope

BertieBotts Sun 05-Nov-17 12:46:37

I think it's very difficult and throws up a lot of challenges.

Matilda is absolutely right with what helps. You each need time for yourself. You need to feel like you're in this together rather than being resentful of each other. You need to assess your (each of your) expectations and work out if they are reasonable. Underlying sexist beliefs can creep in which we don't like to admit because we all think we're modern and beyond that stuff.

You've got to talk, trust each other, lean in. Be aware that time and energy and sleep is at a premium right now and respect it.

I think that men can become resentful because their lives have changed massively, they feel like they have no free time any more, but at the same time not appreciate that their wife's life has changed at least twice as much - the dad still gets to experience normality in going out to work etc, whereas the mum has had absolutely everything change - from her working life, to her friendships and relationships, her free time too, and even her identity! So it can be easy to end up sniping at each other, because the dad feels hard done by that his wife doesn't appreciate all the extra he is doing and the mum feels like her husband is having a cheek to moan when he has something she is desperately missing and feeling lost without. In reality you both need to be sympathetic to the other's situation and appreciate that it's hard for both of you, try to do things which alleviate the stress for each other etc (but it only works if you both do it, it can't be one sided.)

Delurked Sun 05-Nov-17 12:46:41

My relationship has definitely changed since having children. Instead of it being about just DH and I, it's now about our children too. But I think that's just part of having a family - in fact it's the whole point of having a family!

It's certainly a lot less romantic and exciting, and we spend a lot less time focused on each other. But I feel we are much more connected now as we have 2 people who we made and who we are responsible for. Parenting together with my DH has been a new phase of our relationship and has of course involved new tensions. But overall I feel it's made our relationship stronger, like we have put down real roots.

Certainly haven't avoided the competitive lack of sleep issue though (I'm clearly the winner) blush

HateSummer Sun 05-Nov-17 12:49:47

Yep. It was the hardest time for us. We had 3 under 6 at one point. My youngest is 4 now and I feel like I’m emerging from this mist. We’re much happier as a couple and enjoy our evenings. We enjoy occasional child free time when they’re at school/nursery. We enjoy our family outings without having to pack nappies and deal with pooey nappies and constant crying/moaning. This used to be the main thing we argued about whenever we went out. We’d both get stressed and take it out on each other. Things are definitely better now. Hang in there, if you get through this, you can get through anything smile

CocoPuffsinGodMode Sun 05-Nov-17 13:03:53

It is a difficult time for a relationship and I think not all couples realise that until they’re right in the middle of it. IMO it’s a time when both need to make a conscious effort to find ways to be a couple and not just parents if they want to avoid drifting apart.

I don’t agree with the pps suggestion that most people would say a four month old is too young to go to a babysitter and I actually think this type of comment can be really unhelpful as mothers in particular are given the impression that they shouldn’t ever want to be away from their baby. Op if you have a trusted grandparent, sibling or friend who would be happy to babysit for an hour or two then there’s nothing wrong with you and DH getting out for lunch or dinner occasionally or even just for a walk and a chat. No one should just assume “Oh it’ll be fine in a few years”. It might be but it’s not guaranteed.

HornyTortoise Sun 05-Nov-17 13:20:58

I don’t agree with the pps suggestion that most people would say a four month old is too young to go to a babysitter and I actually think this type of comment can be really unhelpful as mothers in particular are given the impression that they shouldn’t ever want to be away from their baby. Op if you have a trusted grandparent, sibling or friend who would be happy to babysit for an hour or two then there’s nothing wrong with you and DH getting out for lunch or dinner occasionally or even just for a walk and a chat. No one should just assume “Oh it’ll be fine in a few years”. It might be but it’s not guaranteed.

Yeah I would agree with this. But saying that, my father in law watched out daughter for a few hours, from her being a week old so I may be a bit biased in this. He did this so I could go to work. Also a few times so we could just go out and have some fun. I don't think thats wrong at all. I trust him completely and our daughter didn't seem to mind who was with her tbh, aslong as someone was giving her attention.

ticketytock1 Sun 05-Nov-17 13:26:15

I think this is why a lot of marriages fail in the early years.
It’s so fucking hard you both need to be completely selfless.
There is no room for jealousy, conceit, stubbornness etc. You have to get over yourselves and work as a team.
It took us a while but we are on the same page now and life is a lot easier. We communicate and support one another.
It won’t last long, before you know it they will be teens and won’t want to look at you!
It’s tough, just got to keep going

CocoPuffsinGodMode Sun 05-Nov-17 13:30:59

True Horny plus people forget that not too many years ago a working mum would have finished her maternity leave by 4 months and the baby would be in a crèche or with a child minder!

positivity123 Sun 05-Nov-17 13:41:33

I think it is really hard as you are inhibiting different worlds.
Can you try and break the cycle and be really kind to each other, I find kindness begets kindness so make each other cups of tea and try to have a quick cuddle every day.
It's so hard as children are like a bomb going off in your relationship

BertieBotts Sun 05-Nov-17 13:46:12

Whether it's reasonable for a 4 month old to go to a babysitter is completely irrelevant - it's up to the parents!

Changerofname987654321 Sun 05-Nov-17 13:56:52

CocoPuffsinGodMode apologies my aim was to hint towards the PP who did not have children that it is not always so simple as to leave young children with a baby sitter. I did not want the OP to feel pressured into leaving her baby if she is not ready to do so yet. It is such an individual issue.

We were not lucky enough to have a baby sitter to leave my young baby with so this is no something I have put a lot of thought into.

dimots Sun 05-Nov-17 14:08:06

I can honestly pinpoint having children as the thing that killed my marriage.
He completely changed towards me, started spending more time out of the house and I think resented the time I spent on the children.
I assumed we'd come through it and reconnect later, but he didn't wait for me. ☹️

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