All of the research suggests that couples have a decrease in happiness after having children…
What are the main reasons?
Extreme exhaustion due to sleep deprivation - No one, and nothing, functions well with a lack of sleep!
The “second shift” - Most women, whether they work or not, will be in charge of the childcare and the housework. This creates even more exhaustion, and a feeling of unfairness and resentment towards the partner.
Mothers tend to become the “gatekeepers” of the children’s education, and don’t “allow” fathers to also take part in big and small choices, which creates conflict.
A loss of intimacy and togetherness – the reasons are 1, 2 and 3.
What can we do about it?
Be conscious about the fact that having young children is stressful and exhausting, it’s normal, and this too shall pass!!
Try to be very practical regarding sharing duties – I suggest doing an actual list of responsibilities and tasks.
Stop criticizing, or “helping” your spouse when he/she is with the kids, just “let go” and practice the rule “one situation/one parent” (whoever started a situation finishes it, without the other one intervening).
Make it a habit of getting together and talking, at least once a day. Try to use I-statement – So instead of “YOU never spend time with me”, try “I feel very lonely sometimes, I would love for us to spend more time together”.
Forget about spontaneity! I you want to keep the love and intimacy alive, you need to plan date nights (or mornings).
Parenting Coach & Couples Counselor