When Two becomes Three…

When you're expecting, everyone and their best friend will tell you that your life will change. Forever. Of course for the better with that cute little chub, but there will also be a LOT that you will have to give up.

Like your sleep. Your privacy. Your me-time. Your social life-before-baby. The television, when the three-year-old takes over.

You will be warned about this, that and the other. You will never lose all of your baby weight. Or all the stretch marks. A full night's sleep?! Ha! Not for the next five years at least…

Others will harp on about the fact that you will know a love that surpasses all kinds of love you've felt before. You will willingly sacrifice EVERYTHING – your job, your sleep, that last piece of chocolate – for your child.

BUT

No-one will ever tell you how your relationship will change when two becomes three. The strain it will go through. The counter-effect that little being will have on your marriage.

 

What happens to your relationship when husband and wife morph into dad and mum?

 

Because, in simple words, it's all so overwhelming. You think it will be easy – I mean how difficult can it be to look after something that's so small? It's just an endless, mind-numbing cycle of feeding, changing nappies and putting baby to sleep, isn't it? But therein lies the irony. It's because they are so small and so delicate that you need to take SO MUCH CARE. 24/7. And as much as you would like to believe that all newborn babies do is sleep, sleep and sleep, you're in for a rude shock when that baby takes forever to sleep, and finally only does so when being rocked or when on your shoulder. Every night. Every nap. For six months.

Add to that the fact that you are sleep-deprived. We're not talking one hungover night or two late nights in a row. We're talking continuous night-wakings and interrupted sleep for approximately the first year of your baby's life. That's 365 (at least) bad nights back-to-back. Sleep-deprivation is used as a form of torture for prisoners and criminals, so you know it's serious stuff.

 

What happens to your relationship when husband and wife morph into dad and mum?

 

That serious amount of lack of sleep itself can make you grumpy. But you can't afford to be in a frump all day because you have a precious little baby to look after. So there's minimal sleep plus fatigue plus looking after a newborn. With a smile and caffeinated energy. That sounds exhausting enough. Then there's the usual housework for new mum and back-to-work routine for new dad (or vice-versa if there are role reversals at play). There's life. Which leaves you with no time, no energy and no willpower for your relationship.

And when you do get some time from this overwhelmed/ beyond-exhausted state you are in, all you want to do is sleep, see mindless television, or see what other cool people who still have a life are up to through Facebook. You want to eat chocolate and other carbs. You want to drink wine, then remember you are breastfeeding, but drink some anyway. Sometimes, yes sometimes, you sit and watch mindless television with your better half until one or both of you fall asleep on the couch.

Sex happens. Sometimes. Ok, let's be honest. Less than sometimes. You can count the number of times you and your spouse were intimate since the birth of your baby. Don't be ashamed/ alarmed if that number doesn't proceed to your second hand. First and foremost, you are EXHAUSTED.

Secondly, you are feeling very un-sexy since, well, you got pregnant. The pregnancy fat isn't melting (could it be those chocolates and carbs every night?), the old clothes aren't fitting, you hate how you look in lingerie, and honestly, you are much comfier in loose track pants at the moment. You mostly smell of spit-up and milk. Oh, and when was the last time you showered?

Thirdly, you are still a wee bit scared to do it after that watermelon of a baby made that blood-y exit. Things still hurt.

And last but not the least, your baby-then-toddler-then-three-year-old is in your bed (read my post 7 things you should know about co-sleeping), and wants to be nowhere except in the middle of you and your spouse! Bye-bye romance…

 

What happens to your relationship when husband and wife morph into dad and mum?

 

So, slowly, without you realising it, your relationship no more revolves around you and your spouse, but centres around your baby. You cease to be husband and wife and instead morph into Mum and Dad. Naps and feeding times take precedence over date-nights and movie nights. Romantic dinners turn into take-aways that are gulped down on the sofa, in turns. Weekend lie-ins become night-wakings. Yes, your friends warned you that life would swivel 360 degrees, but hey, NO-ONE told you what it would do to your relationship. No-one.

 

What happens to your relationship when husband and wife morph into dad and mum?

As baby becomes older, and a hazy-ish routine begins to fall into place, there is some time to breathe. Probably even steal a quiet dinner together. But no sooner do the Terrible Twos and Threenage years hit that sparks start to fly again. Not the sexual kind, but the 'I want to bite your head off' kind! When differences in disciplining methods and the quintessential 'Good Cop, Bad Cop' parenting dilemma arises, as you both cluelessly go about trying to discipline your child.

The stay-at-home parent (mum in most cases) gets the job done, be it finishing those veggies or brushing teeth. She shouts, she screams, she threatens but she gets shit done. That's her way. After doing this day-in-and-day-out for three years, she knows what works. Agree it's not the best way (hello again, wretched Momguilt!) but it GETS SHIT DONE!

The working parent (usually dad) takes a softer approach. Let them play one more game, eat one more cookie, go one night without brushing their teeth. Their excuse reasoning: 'I've not seen my baby all day'… Making already-frazzled stay-at-home parent reach boiling point. For changing the 'rules' and un-disciplining all the discipline. Argument. Fight. Bad moods.

When Two becomes Three.

BUT

It's still ALL WORTH IT. Because these cracks are but temporary exhaustion-fuelled lines. Once the initial bridges have been crossed, and the first few years have passed by, some sort of normalcy will re-appear. Or you get comfortable with the new normal that the Three has brought to your previous lives of Two. There will still be differences of opinion and flaring tempers, family dinners will be more the McMeals kind than the romantic wine-n-dine kind, and your life will still revolve around your kid/s, but you will love it. And you will love how your life – and relationship – has changed when Two becomes Three…

 

What happens to your relationship when husband and wife morph into dad and mum?

 

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47 Responses

  1. Firoza

    Down to earth and oh so true. A must read for new parents. Very well written.

  2. Sharin

    I ended up reading this article twice. Brilliant. It's such a true picture. I think this one is a must read for all those planning on having a baby. You need to be ready for this, too. I really like the way Nicole has very candidly put across the problems parents face. It's a journey from being a Mummy to almost getting 'Mummy'fied!

    • Nicole

      Thank you Sharin, that's such a lovely comment. Agree, parents-to-be have to be ready for ALL of it! Love the 'Mummy'fied connection – so true!

  3. nirupamaprv

    Once again, a terrific post with an unvarnished narration of motherhood. Especially peppered with the hilarious pictures- is so symbolic of parenting itself. That the good and unpleasant come together and nothing like a good sense of humor to get through it all!

  4. Mummy Bee

    Great Post just going through the sleepless and interrupted nights right now not looking forward to the rest #globalblogging

  5. One Messy Mama

    Oh the life of a parent. It's a huge shock when you first little bundle arrives. Lovely post! Moms and Dads definitely have different was of doing things don't they! Thank you for sharing with #globalblogging

  6. anywaytostayathome

    Nailed it! The most memorable part of our wedding anniversary last year was my son actually telling us he'd done a poo, we were both so excited, oh yes, it was that romantic!! #BestandWorst

  7. Tash

    Such a great read. We are just about to go from 4 to 5… Parenthood is such a rollercoaster ride. #Blogstravaganza

    • Nicole

      Thanks. I can handle everything except the sleepless nights and early morn wake-ups:(

  8. Tracy Albiero

    So true! The new normal is what you are trying to find. Normal no sleep routine. Normal wearing baby puke. Normal finding amazing joy in this thing you created! #blogstravaganza

    • Nicole

      Well said Tracy, we've got to find and accept (and eventually love) our new normal. It takes time, but it happens.

  9. Sarah - Mud, Cakes and Wine

    What a lovely and true post, we had such a shock when the third was born and we were used to sleep again and boy was it hard going back to the constant being shattered #Blogstravaganza

    • Nicole

      Thank you Sarah. It's tough, but we just manage somehow. Finding a routine that works for the whole family is important, irrespective of whether it's the 'correct' thing to do or not. If it works for you/ your family, it's correct in my book!

  10. Briony

    Very true. I certainly expected the baby to be hard but not the relationship with husb. Parenting is tough! #Blogstravaganza

    • Nicole

      Yes, that's something we don't think about or expect, and it often comes as a huge shock.

  11. The Tale of Mummyhood

    For so long I was expecting things to get back to 'normal', I've finally accepted that this is now us! Thanks so much much for sharing with #Blogstravaganza and for hosting this week, it's great to have you! Xx

    • Nicole

      Yeah Zoe, we never really go back to 'normal' as we knew it, do we? Thank you for the opportunity to co-host; lovely being here:)

  12. Becky | Bringing up the Berneys

    So true!! I was just thinking this the other day about how my relationship has done a 360! I know it’s only temporary, but it still makes me feel awful for not giving him the time of day, but I’m just shattered! With a 7y/o, 2y/o & 5month old, there’s not much room for anyone else haha! I don’t want to wish their childhoods away, but a bit of sleep would be nice! #blogstravaganza

    • Nicole

      I get you. As much as we want to treasure every waking moment with our babies, we also crave personal space and remnants of me-time and sleep. Oh sleep!

  13. Jo - Pickle & Poppet

    So true. I am amazed that some people still think having a baby will bring them closer together in a relationship. I remember sitting feeding my oldest whilst my husband snored in the chair and my thoughts were, well, tired wife thoughts……… #Blogstravaganza

    • Nicole

      Tired wife thoughts ha ha ha, love that! But it's true, those first few weeks/ months are bloody tough and it's far from roses and cuddles!!!

    • Nicole

      Life changing – you hit the nail on the head! And yes, while more often than not having a baby does strengthen a relationship, it is not very easy, especially in the initial months.

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