Unfortunately, a lack of sleep comes part and parcel with having a baby, but you might be wondering if it’s affecting your relationship with your partner? You might find yourself constantly cranky, or maybe your partner is the one who is giving you the attitude.
When you have children, you tend to prioritise them above everything else, and this can include your partner. Being sleep deprived brings out all the annoyances, and your partner (being the one you’re closest to) can feel the brunt of your anger.
There are some simple and easy ways to manage it to get back the romance and enjoyment in your relationship.
1. 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 as much as you were. While it may not be work around the house or looking after the 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 equally working 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 work gets done equally. Try and not complete or ‘one-up’ each other 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 toddlers that love barging into your room in the middle of the night. Exhaustion can also lessen your sex drive and can 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. 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 fighting more, getting angrier or perhaps even resenting your partner. If you feel like your partner has more time or is sleeping more, you will soon resent their life. 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 adult, 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, find the humour in things, get some sleep and put some valuable time into your relationship.