The arrival of kids comes with a seismic shift of every facet of your life, especially your marriage and or relationship. Couples must react to the new pace of life and work out new ways to keep relationships intact. How have you struck a balance in your relationship?
My journey with having a child did not come by way of marriage, I first had to adjust my mind and soul in knowing and accepting another man’s child before I had biological children of my own. I am still not married but I am going on 9 years of learning how to be a father and a lover to my partner and kids. I don’t know if we have struck a balance, but somehow we have managed to figure shit out between us and also raising the children. We had issues before where the strain was on how we were going to feed these extra mouths but through sheer resilience, we knew that we had to compromise what we were used to doing previously, which was going out to clubs, picnics with friends and getting hammered, to now chilling at home and preferring to get hammered under our roof instead. It can be stressful not going out and mingling with other adults, but our kids have shown us that we can sometimes do without seeing our “friends”
I know that this is hard for my partner as she loves having friends over or going out with her friends, however, she has sacrificed to be at home, sometimes I feel bad ? because it’s only until recently that I have been working on taking us out, just the two of us without the kids. I don’t know if the above is making sense so I am going to stop right here.
For me, my father died when I was 3 months old and I grew up without him and when I got married I vowed that I would always give my kids what I never had; which was all the fatherly love and presence in their lives. When I became a father it was very intentional and very special…and without realizing it, my marriage was second to my fatherhood. Especially because I wanted to give my kids all they wanted and needed. Without realizing it, my focus became the kids and not my wife and I thought she would get it but I was so wrong. Soon my marriage became empty and my kids became the stars to the point that we divorced. While I’m still an active father I wish I had prioritized and found a balance. I don’t regret being a great father but know my kids would be better off with a family unit, which is what I initially wanted going into marriage.
The fact that I had been raising my son myself before I met my partner meant that parenting had to be built in, into the relationship very early on. We were both very cognizant of the impact that the dynamic would have on all three of us. To deal with and plan for the changes, my partner and I decided to go for counseling before we all moved in together. This helped a lot in the sense that we had to put our romantic emotions aside and dig through all possible underlying motivations or unresolved issues that either of us might have. This process forced us to be very open and honest because once there’s a child involved in a relationship, the effect of dysfunction in that relationship will have a lifelong impact on the child.
When my daughter was born, I think we had a clear idea of what kind of parents we were and how we could function as a couple within that frame. In many ways, it brought us even closer. But the day to day reality of parenting is something for which you can’t fully prepare. In order to make sure that the couple doesn’t get swallowed by the parenting, we have to be conscious and deliberate in spending time together.
I have a schedule at home that I use to make sure that each person in my family have a time where they have my undivided attention each and every day. This includes my partner. So the balance is an everyday practice. It’s challenging to keep it going and you don’t succeed every time. But at the end of the day, my family is my highest priority.