Children Change Your Life Dramatically!

If you have children you know this.  However, you may need some assistance in adjusting to having a family, instead of just being a couple.  If you do not have children, and are expecting to in the future, take good notes!

The adjustment to marriage, living with someone day to day, is a challenge for most people.  When you add kids to the equation it becomes far more difficult.  I would like to highlight some of the impact areas.

1. Sleep:  You get less.  You are interrupted in the middle of the night often with your child saying, “I’m scared” or “my tummy hurts”. Or, your teenager comes in past curfew and has not called.  Who gets up to address the problem?

2. Careers: Who works outside of the home for income production?  One?  Both?  Who stays home, or leaves work, when a child is sick?  Are you able to attend your child’s school and extra-curricular activities?

3. Responsibilities in the house:  Who does what?  Does each partner feel the other is carrying his or her part of the load?

4. Sex:  Less coupling, more solo.  Exhaustion, tensions, lack of privacy and time take their toll.  Making sex a priority, scheduling if need be, and locking the door help to keep amorous activity somewhat alive.

5. Money: Expenses go up!  Tighter budget management is mandatory for most couples.  It is staggering how much it costs to raise children.

6. Communication gets more challenging:  Differences of opinion become more pronounced.  Each parent has his or her own model from a previous family of origin.  “This is the way my parents did it and I turned out ok” is a frequent mantra.  A new “our” model needs to be developed incorporating the best of each parent’s perspectives, in addition to enlightened parenting tips from qualified sources.

7. Fun and travel:  The previous style of spontaneous socializing and mini vacation trips give way to more planned and constricted trips. Planning becomes more necessary.

8. Grandparents:  The role of grandparents can present “issues”.  How involved do they want to be?  Do you want them to be?  When do they visit?  How long?  Where are holidays spent?

9. Health:  Because of less sleep, usually less exercise, more exposure to “bugs” that kids have, both parents’ health generally gets worse.  A more sedentary life leads to extra pounds, altered body shape, and higher cholesterol if you don’t make this a priority.

10. Home is messier:  Because of many of the above reasons the home is less tidy.  This may or may not present an issue, depending on whether a “neatnik” or “slob” exists in the household.

11. Divorce: If the above factors are not handled well with respectful communication, compromises, and appropriate sacrifices by each, divorce possibilities increase.  And with children, divorce is much more costly, painful, and ugly.

Children certainly present challenges to each individual and to the marriage.  But if you address each other’s feeling and issues in a constructive manner, you will be forever grateful that you have been blessed with children.

Personally, I could not be happier with the two wonderful children my wife and I have been fortunate to raise.  They are now young adults and the experience of sharing life with them now and in the past has been extremely enriching.  May you be as lucky!

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