So how come you feel so tired all the time? And why is it that every time your partner leaves a towel on the floor you want to stab him with a fork?
OK, perhaps it’s not always quite that bad, but things certainly aren’t the happy ever after you imagined as a child, planning your dream wedding and picking your baby names.
Fear not. This is normal.
I’m not saying that it’s OK to stay in a relationship that genuinely doesn’t make you happy, or to live a life you don’t want at all, but it is normal when you’re raising a young family, and juggling work, bills and children, to sometimes feel like you want to run away and hide under the duvet for a week or two.
Naturally, when you’re feeling tired and under pressure, it’s the people closest to us that bear the brunt, and so it’s often our partners that become the focus of our frustrations. Relationship and sex problems are a common symptom of parenthood, but although they happen to many people, they aren’t something that you should ignore.
So, what can you do to ease the strain?
Make time for yourselves as a couple – yes we know, everyone says this, but that’s because it’s true! The idea of ‘date night’ may sound like a horrible cliché, and having to put on a bit of make-up and brush your hair when all you really want to do it lie on the sofa watching Take Me Out is tough, but it’s worth it in the long term. When you do go out, try to think of things to talk about other than the kids…
Ask for help – “If you want me to do the hovering,” says the man of the house, “just ask!”
“But I shouldn’t have to ask!” complains wife. “I want you to notice it needs doing and just do it!”
Unfortunately, a lot of men, (and women too), just don’t notice things like this, and if you wait for them to, and let your resentment grow with every day that they don’t, you’re wasting everyone’s time. Having to ask doesn’t make you a nag, it isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s being assertive, and getting things done.
Be more accepting – Towels on the floor are annoying, but is it really the end of the world, especially if it means he’s been taking charge of baby bath time. We’re not saying you should let yourself be treated like a doormat, but just be aware that it’s all too easy to transfer our own high standards onto others, and end up feeling let down and resentful. Look instead at the things your partner does that really matter, like listening to you and spending time with you.
Take a lesson from author Dr Richard Carlson and don’t sweat the small stuff.