Children are an ABSOLUTE blessing. They bring joy to life like not much else can. Their purity and innocence, their laughter and fun put a smile on your face that is not easily broken. Unfortunately parenting a new child can be a curse. Parenting infants can be difficult on marriages if not handled well. Far too often mom gets so engrossed with taking care of baby that she forgets to give attention to dad. Dad in turn gets mad and does less around the house, which makes mom angry. Mom begins to think and accuse Dad of being lazy or unloving. Dad, being too prideful to admit he just misses his woman's attention, starts defending his lackluster work around the house OR just gives up and starts complaining to his coworkers about how crazy the new baby has made his wife. Coworkers then start talking about how having a baby puts an end to life and goes home to their wives (maybe husbands) with a negative position towards starting a family. If coworker is single, marriage becomes even less desirable.
And so the cycle continues.
No doubt about it. Parenting, especially parenting newborns, can be difficult. BUT it is not impossible for it to be a pleasure.
Important Reminder The most important thing to remember while raising a family, outside of structuring your family around the Father in Heaven, is for mom and dad to put one another first. You must have a healthy rhythm in your marriage for parenting to be successful. This means you need to spend time together, WITHOUT KIDS. And if you are married to an introvert, you will need to give them some time alone as well. Introverts NEED time alone to re-energize.
Finding your rhythm You need to have time in your day, time in your week, and time in your month where you give one another your undivided attention. This will look different for each couple but it needs to happen. Children can sense tension like drug dogs smell marijuana (odd example, I know). If you and your spouse are at odds, your children will sense this and will be more prone to fits and bad behavior.
Sometimes Robin and I will watch a TV series together. Other times we will play kinnect together. And still other times we hang out by the fire on our deck. There are not many days that go by that we do not get some alone time together.
What about date nights? Every week you and your spouse should get away for date night. Robin and I have taken dance classes, we have our favorite restaurants, and sometimes just like to explore together. When you have kids this gets tough but it cannot stop. Sometimes you will need to get creative. To be honest our date nights have suffered for various reasons and we can both notice the difference. Babysitters are expensive and sometimes not easy to find (this is where doing life as a community family really helps). The important thing is that you keep trying.
If you cannot go out, do something out of the ordinary at home. Our neighbor thinks we are crazy because sometime I will blow up our air mattress, grab our TV and set up a date night on our deck. Nothing like watching a movie under the stars on your back deck.
Guy Time Men...It is important for you to remember how difficult it is for your lady to leave her little bundle of joy behind. Maternal instincts are strong for a reason. It is not a knock on you that she wants to constantly give attention to the new kid. This does not mean you should not encourage, sometimes demand, that she step away from the baby for a little rest and recuperation, but do it with gentleness and respect. Firing off insults and accusations will get you NOWHERE! Also, MAN UP around the house. Change diapers, wash dishes, do laundry and clean the house. Seriously. Your lackluster performance at house duties will get you nowhere. Give your wife reason to brag about how amazing you are, not how lazy or selfish you are. NEVER accuse your wife of being selfish when it comes to mothering an infant. She is giving herself to your little princess or athlete. In turn, give yourself to her.
As the child grows, you can begin to insist things balance back out. This does not excuse you from house duties though. Your wife is not a single parent.
Girl Talk Ladies...please step away from the baby. Just for a moment. Seriously. He will be okay. The temptation of being super mom and not letting others in will put a HUGE kink in your marriage, which will put a damper on the super mom thing. ThePLEASE give your man some time. I know you have to nurse but your bundle of joy typically only eats at minimum every two hours. Find a friend to hang out with your little one for an hour and go have ice cream with your knight. Your friends are not morons and they care about you and your baby. All will be fine. As you can tell from the picture of Safari and the barbarian, we will use just about any babysitter we can find :).
And spending time with your man will cause that armor of his to start shining again.
If your baby seems to eat more than every two hours, then use a pump. The quicker you introduce them to a bottle (not saying formula), the easier it will be for them.
Allowing your baby or kids to spend time with others is good for them and for you. Robin and I get back to dating three to four weeks after our kids are born. It is always difficult for Robin and we typically only go out for a quick dinner, but it is time alone.
A happy marriage will go a long way in raising happy kids