Staying together for the kids?

We see relationships fail far too often after kids come into the picture. This is not because of the kids themselves, but because managing life and administration becomes a lot more challenging. It is very easy to fall into a rut, forget yourself and your relationship.

As a relationship and separation coach, my friend Karoline Konrad is a true expert. So I asked her what couples can do to keep the romance alive, how to protect their relationship from falling apart, not just for the children, but also for themselves. 

Gitanjali More

Parenting without support

Life after kids is different

For many parents, it is challenging to stay together as a couple and not just act as parents. When families live abroad and have no family support, then it becomes even more difficult to find quality time together as a couple. The most difficult are the early years, until the children attend a childcare center. If families have the financial possibilities, it makes sense to get the children used to a babysitter as early as possible.

The root cause

However, I need to differentiate between couples who have a good basis together and wish to have more quality time as a couple and those who are already stuck in deeply entrenched conflicts.

Do you want more couple time and don’t know exactly how to integrate it into your stressful everyday life? I’ll give you a few tips below on what you can do.

Do you have underlying conflicts that have been exacerbated by having children together? Do you have the impression that you have lost each other as a couple or are well on the way to do so?

If so, a few tips for spending more time together will not be beneficial in the long term. The conflicts that arise in relationships are like a mirror to personal issues. We all carry a load of unresolved issues with us. These issues are triggered again and again in relationships. Trivialities often become representatives of major unresolved issues.

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What is the solution?

My urgent recommendation: go to someone (coach, counsellor, mediator, therapist, kinesiologist) who will look at these issues with you. You can do this as a couple or individually. Do it sooner rather than later and don’t separate until you have looked at your issues at least once in counselling. This can save you a repeat loop.

How can you prevent upfront so that you don’t lose each other as a couple in the first place?

Set aside at least ten minutes every day for just the two of you; the best time to do this, is when the children are asleep. Sit down together and ask each other how you are doing. Answers such as “good, bad, okay” are not allowed. Take time to listen to each other, non-judgmentally, let each other talk and take time to really listen to and feel how you are feeling.

Here are a few samples for questions:

  • What moves you?
  • What are your current challenges?
  • What are you grateful for? (Find at least five things that are related to your family life and your partner)

With small children, physical contact between the couple is often lost, especially because the mums are physically demanded by the children. However, it is essential for you as a couple to continue to maintain physical contact. Take time to cuddle and relax. You can also include what you like about each other physically in the round of questions mentioned above.

If the children are in childcare, meet up regularly for lunch together or for a walk during your lunch break.

IMPORTANT: Couple time means couple time, during this time you should not discuss organizational matters or talk about your children. Take time just for yourselves as a couple!

Conclusion

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all remedy that you can take, and everything will automatically change. As a couple, you can decide for each other to keep working on your relationship and your connection to each other. This is work and it always has a bit of an overcoming. A break-up is usually a postponement of the problem, namely to the next partnership. Isn’t it more rewarding to repair and maintain the connection you made with your partner, instead of losing everything you had built together? In this way, you can grow deeper and deeper roots together and strengthen your basis, your foundation. Because, as the saying goes, “A tree with strong roots laughs at the storm.” If your roots are strong enough, nothing can easily knock you down as a couple and you will also be able to cope well with the exhausting, but rewarding time with your little children together.

Podcast

The Confused Mother Podcast

Do you want even more content on motherhood? Here is The Confused Mother podcast, where I talk to mothers and experts about everything related to motherhood and work. Click below to tune in on Spotify or Apple podcasts:

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