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Maintaining Your Adult Relationships

The old saying "everything changes once you have kids" is a truth for the ages. There's no part of life that isn't touched by the experience of becoming a mom. For the most part, the changes are positive, but sometimes they can be emotionally difficult.

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When children come into our lives, they automatically become the center of our world. They're helpless, completely dependent on us, and in need of almost constant attention. By necessity, your world becomes "momified," and the old you is left in the dust. You may find yourself frustrated at being unable to do the things you used to, or your desires may simply change and adapt to your life as it is.

Adult relationships tend to change quite a bit when you have kids. Most mothers describe major shifts in their social and sexual lives once their children came along. These shifts can become a source of angst and cause problems in relationships, but the problems are not unsolvable. You can use some strategies to handle them, and hopefully see some positive change.


Sex and Romance

Immediately following the birth of your first baby, you and your partner were probably humbled and dumbstruck by the incredible experience you just went through. You may have had complicated emotions of shock, amazement and intense love for each other and this new person you brought into the world. {relatedarticles}Sex wasn't part of the picture, but that didn't matter; you were setting out on this life-changing journey together, and 6 weeks would be over before you knew it. Little did you know that 6 weeks would turn into several months, with the return of the old passion nowhere in sight.

You're definitely not alone. Most couples experience some lag in their sex life after they have a child. When people are sleepless, grumpy, and trying to adapt to a new presence in the house, it's difficult to feel sexy. Even after the child gets older, the drought may continue. Your new role as parents can make you feel different about everything, including each other. Not that you no longer love one another, but things are just...different.

You want the old passion back, but don't know how to get it. Some improvement may happen naturally over time, but you may have to help it along.

Accept the new situation. It may not be easy, but the first step in getting over the obstacle is to acknowledge that it's there and that it's normal. Have a conversation about the way things are, how you feel about it, and how you'd like things to be improved.


Address health issues. If sex is physically uncomfortable or you feel very tired or lethargic all the time, you should get checked out by a doctor. You may have an injury resulting from the birth, a hormonal imbalance, depression or other treatable illness. Don't pressure yourself. When you can get a quiet hour together, spend some time being physically close, but don't make sex the goal of the evening. You can cuddle or give each other massages; whatever is relaxing for both of you. You may be surprised to find that when the pressure is off, you'll start feeling the old fire again.

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Get out of the house. The old standard "date night" can be a great relationship booster. If you can get a sitter once in awhile, go out for dinner or a movie together. Emotional intimacy sparks sexual intimacy.

Friendships

Your friends were always there for you, being supportive in bad times and taking you out to celebrate victories, but now those same friends seem a little confused about how to behave now that you're a mom.

The friends who have children of their own don't present a problem. You now have another thing in common with them and you can get together for play dates and conversation.


It's the friends who don't have any kids who might be inclined to back off or treat you differently now that you're a mom. Let's face it; things have changed in a big way. You might find yourself talking about your baby all the time, and you probably can't go out for girl's nights as much as you used to. Some of your child-free friends may not understand this, because they don't have first-hand experience. Others will overdo it on the "understanding" and back off-way off-to give you time with your child. Whatever the case may be, you need friendship and support now more than ever. Here are some tips on keeping your old friends, and making some new ones.

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Make time for each other. When the baby is young, it's hard to get away, but you can keep in contact with your friends by email and phone calls. You can also meet your old pals in your home or theirs, or, when the weather permits, at a park for a little picnic. Anywhere you can safely bring your baby will work out fine.

Find a mutual topic of discussion. When you're with your friends, try and limit talk about feeding schedules, pooping habits, teething woes, and all the other daily delights moms have to deal with. You're in love with your baby and fascinated by all her functions and moods, but your friends aren't moms yet so they won't "get" you.

Expand your horizons. If you find that some of your old friends can't accept your new life as a mom, it may be time to move on. Even when your buddies are supportive and great, you'll inevitably meet other moms and add to your circle of friends as you go about your daily activities as a mother. There's the library, the park, Mommy and Me classes, and a host of other places to meet women who share the experience of mothering.

When your child gets a little older, you'll likely be able to rejoin your friends for girl's nights and most of the fun activities you enjoyed before becoming a mom. If your friends are solid and loyal, they'll keep in contact with you while respecting your new responsibilities.{relatedarticles} Whatever you do, don't let yourself feel abandoned by your old friends or envious of their childfree lives. Being a mom is one of the most important and rewarding jobs on earth. Some of your old friends will probably choose to have babies of their own someday, and when they do, you'll be the expert they'll go to for advice.