Donít creche romance

Having children is one of the most satisfying and rewarding jobs in the world. It brings so much more than sleepless nights and dirty nappies, but it doesn't take long for a couple to realise that life will never be the same again. As attention shifts to the adorable (noisy, dribbling, demanding) new addition, couples can easily forget about themselves and each other. Here's how to survive new parenthood and how to cope with the upheaval a new baby brings...

The new mum
The biggest impact a baby has is undoubtedly on the new mum. Pregnancy, birth and the sleepless nights that follow can leave women feeling exhausted and completely unlike their usual selves. And the responsibility of looking after someone so vulnerable can be just overwhelming.

The number one tip is to sleep when the baby sleeps, and make everything else wait. It's a 24-hour job and mums need to bank their energy. It's difficult to get things into perspective when exhaustion takes over, but do remember that parenting a new baby doesn't last forever. While this is an amazing time, you can lose your identity and feel like you're seen only as a 'mummy'. Remember you are a wife and a mother. You can make yourself feel better, even if it's simply having your legs waxed or a hair cut.

Most importantly, enjoy every moment because before you know it, you will be waving your little one off at the school gates.

The relationship
Husbands often feel left out when a baby comes along because they no longer feel like a priority. The new dad may struggle to know how to help and not quite understand how all-consuming having a baby is. Babies are life-affirming and rewarding. However, the impact on a relationship needs to be kept to the forefront.

Many women use tiredness to avoid intimacy and sex, when really they no longer feel attractive. One good idea is to take a bit of time each week to check how the other one is coping. This will create a more connected relationship. Spontaneity is often the first thing to go, so try to compensate with date nights, either at a local restaurant or at home. Mums should let dads hold the baby without criticising and remind each other how special they both are. And don't stop having sex, even if it isn't the marathon it used to be. Even if you fall asleep together on the sofa; you're still spending the time together.

The bank account
Babies come with a hefty price tag. As longer maternity leave is now the norm, it's easy to feel the strain. So, before the baby arrives, go through outgoings to look at where it might be possible to cut costs. Settle credit bills and cut up the cards. You can always spend once the baby grows up. Whether you go back to work or not, you will have to re-adjust your spending habits when you have a baby. Remember to accept your situation and don't be proud. Accept hand-medowns and buy second-hand.

Tell people about your situation. They will understand why you're being careful and offer support. Spread the cost during pregnancy by picking up nappies, wipes and toiletries as you go.

Take advantage of grandparents and parents if they offer to buy essentials.

Once the baby arrives, socialising tends to take a back seat, a perfect time to save.

Your work life and career
They say time flies when you're having fun and when a baby arrives, days roll into weeks and weeks into months. Before you know it, it's time to return to work.

Work conversation, far beyond car seats and colic, can seem daunting. It will feel hard to go back to work in so many ways. All these emotions are real and ought to be acknowledged rather than swept away. Talk to other mums who find themselves in the same position, especially those at work. It's about balancing out the dynamics of working along with having a family. Embrace the changes, don't fight them.

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