Unfortunately, a lack of sleep comes part and parcel with having a baby, but you might be worried if it could be affecting your relationship with your partner? You might find yourself routinely cranky, or maybe your partner is the one who is giving off the attitude.
When we have children, we tend to prioritise them above everything else, and this can include our partner. Being sleep deprived brings out all the annoyances, and our partner (being the one we’re closest to) can feel the brunt of our anger.
Here are some simple and easy ways to bring back the romance and enjoyment in your relationship.
1. Know you’re not alone
If you’re feeling utterly exhausted, chances are, your partner is feeling the same way. If you’re at home all day and your partner comes home after work and all they want to do is relax, you have to remind yourself that they were out all day working. While it may not be work around the house or looking after children, their time is still occupied by their job.
If you’re the one who is working away from home, then you might not feel like you have the energy to help out with household chores. Before you blame the other person, remember you’re working equally hard in different ways. One form of work doesn’t discount the other. Communicate with each other and decide on a schedule where all the things that need to get done, get done equally. Try and not compete or ‘one-up’ one another on who does more work, but rather delegate which responsibilities can be divided.
2. Don’t forget about intimacy
Let’s be honest, sex often gets thrown out the window when you have a crying, sleepless baby, or you have a toddler who loves barging into your room at any given moment. Exhaustion can also lessen your sex drive and make you feel too tired or irritated to feel like having sex.
Intimacy is critical to a healthy relationship but remember that intimacy doesn’t just mean sex. If you’re just too exhausted for sex, communicate this to your partner so that they know it’s not them. Try and do other things that give you both intimacy, a hug, kiss or even just a little gift or gesture that can help you both feel connected. Small moments of connection will often lead you back to sexual intimacy.
Also, remember you’re in a partnership, and you need to equally contribute to the romance. Tap into those love languages and help each other out. Remind yourselves that this is temporary and as your children grow, the more time you’ll get back for each other.
Tip! A healthy sleep routine will fall into having a healthy sex life, so prioritise sleep!
3. Find time for each other
Lastly, finding time for each other (and yourselves) is critical. With a lack of sleep, you might be arguing more, getting angrier or perhaps even resenting your partner. If you feel like your partner has more time or is getting more sleep than you are, you will soon resent them. Don’t forget, everyone has individual struggles, and just because your partner may seem like their life is easier than yours, it doesn’t give you the right to blame or resent them.
Communication is essential for a healthy relationship (sleep-deprived or not). Go out together and leave the kids with a trusted carer, rekindle your relationship and try and find what you loved about each other before your children came into the picture. Your relationship will always have ups and downs, but don’t let your lack of sleep ruin it. Take turns having sleep-ins while the other gets up with the kids so that you’re each getting the opportunity to recharge.
If you feel like you’re stuck in a sleepless cycle, talk to your doctor, they can give you some tips on how to manage your exhaustion. Just remember that you and your partner are trying to be the best parents you can. Cut everyone some slack and find the humour in things wherever you can.