How To Maintain Your Relationship While Raising Kids

Photographer Morgan Ramsey has two young kids, a husband (with a full-time job of his own), and a house to keep clean. Just like many moms, she started to feel the pressure of keeping everything perfect, and found that not only had she lost sight of herself before the kids, but she and her husband had also lost sight of each other.
"We were putting so much effort into making sure the house was clean, kids were happy that we put 'us' on the back burner," she tells Refinery29.
A conversation about how they'd lost themselves to their hectic baby-filled life sparked an idea for a photo for Ramsey, who posted the resulting picture to Facebook on Sunday with a caption about keeping love alive after having kids.
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"[You] realize your, 'what would you like to do for fun today? Where should we go out tonight? What would you like to talk about today?' turns into, 'will you change the baby's diaper? Can you please help me clean? Will you get up with the baby this time' and suddenly you’re disconnected from the easy going, free loving adventure your life once was," she wrote. "You’re exhausted, you’re disheartened by the lack of attention you show each other."
It's a scenario to which plenty of parents can probably relate. But, having come out the other side of it, Ramsey has some advice: it's okay to put yourself first sometimes.
"The need for constant attention is real, if you don't believe me, ask my children," she wrote. "Don't forget that you are human too and the feeling of being forgotten is also real."
Ramsey's daughter Madeline is 5 and her son Micah is only 21-months-old, so she knows how much time and attention young kids can take up. And it took a toll on her and her husband, Michael.
"We were fighting a lot, blaming each other for the issues in our relationship instead of listening to each other," she says. "We both were experiencing frustration between jobs and parenting and had so much pint [sic] up anger that neither of us would listen or understand what we were going through."
So how did they get through it? The same way Ramsey advised others to do so in her post.
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"Take some time out of your day to have a conversation about anything besides the kids, work or money. Ask your partner how their day has been, and listen to what they have to say. Do not minimize the burden of stress each of you carry on a daily basis, don't compare pain.
Always, talk about the first night you met. Remember that spark that lit your romance on fire," she wrote.
It all comes down to communication. "A simple, 'I love it when your hair is all messy' comment can brighten a day quicker than the kids can destroy a room," she wrote. "A quick kiss on the forehead or tight hug around the waist while you cook dinner to let them know you appreciate them."
Welcome to Mothership: Parenting stories you actually want to read, whether you're thinking about or passing on kids, from egg-freezing to taking home baby and beyond. Because motherhood is a big if — not when — and it's time we talked about it that way.
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