Natalie Turner, former paediatric nurse, life coach and author of natalie-marie.org, reveals how to keep the spark in your relationship after having kids and why crying when becoming a new mum is normal…
Q.) I have a three-month-old baby and I thought I’d be feeling really happy, but I feel like I’m doing it all wrong and I cry a lot. Is this common?
A.) Firstly, don’t feel bad. Most new mums cry a lot. It is an overwhelming job to be on demand 24/7 especially when you feel unsure if you are doing a good job. Believe me, if you’re managing to get up and dressed in the morning, you really are doing well. I would suggest finding a local mummy/baby group and joining other mums. You’ll soon realise you’re not alone in finding it hard and you can have a good moan, too.
Secondly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes, as mums, we feel like we should be able to do everything, but truly it’s not the case. Be honest and let family and friends know you’re struggling. If you have no family or friends locally, consider hiring a babysitter a few times a week so you can just have a bit of ‘you’ time. Even if it’s so you can read a book, go for a swim. Something where you can just focus on yourself. This will actually help you bond and enjoy your baby more.
Q.) Since having our children, I feel like my relationship with my husband has become none existent. We never seem to have time for each other and we always argue. What can I do?
A.) Again, another really common problem. I was under the impression that when my children were born they would neatly fit into my life. I was very wrong and my relationship definitely suffered from a child who didn’t sleep. It takes work to keep the fire going when all your time and energy go on the smaller members of your family. My first piece of advice is don’t give up on each other. You loved each other once and when the children get bigger it will be so much easier, so stick with it!
Make a date night once a week – this is an absolute must. If you don’t have a babysitter, make date night at home, a nice meal, or movie. Be open with each other in how hard you are finding it. Then make sure each person gets their own time doing something they love. You each watch the kids while the other can recharge their batteries. Lastly, if your partner doesn’t seem to understand how tough it is to be with children all day long, book yourself into a spa for the day and give him a taster of life at home.
Q.) I have a lovely husband, a lovely life, I love my children, yet I don’t feel happy. Is something wrong with me?
A.) Absolutely not. I think often as mothers we naturally put our own desires and needs to the bottom of the pile. As a loving mum, I’m sure you work really hard to keep your family happy, but forget one important person – you. We often focus so hard on our families we literally forget what is that makes us happy, what is it we actually love.
Having children changes our lives (for the better). We have less time to meet with friends, do the things we used to. So it’s natural we often change, too. The good news is that it can be quite fun getting to know ourselves again. What makes us laugh, dance and feel inspired. I would suggest writing a list, noting down what is it that makes you happy and what you would love to do. Have you always fancied learning a language, learning Salsa dancing or you love to read? Find a local group if you can and make the effort to go join. This way you’re socialising, meeting and like-minded people and doing that one thing you’ve been putting off for a lifetime.
Natalie runs online Healing Through Happiness courses, to sign up, visit natalie-marie.org