Alex, 41. Children aged 7 and 2

“We spend more time together, but much less time alone together. Joint decision making is now necessary, so we talk about things more. Because everything is busy, close communication is really necessary to find the best choices for the family and keep the train on the tracks (most of the time). I find we share more – especially the money. Financial independence is much less attractive an option when on maternity leave.

With children, things can be a bit of a treadmill sometimes: they’re expensive and relentlessly use up annual leave with inset days, nursery being shut, perpetual runny noses that turn into fevers… There are so many less holidays.

In that way, spontaneity is a thing of the past. I was never going to win prizes for being spontaneous, and am a control freak: just winging it not much of an option for us, with children and carloads of luggage involved. Other families are a lot better at this than we are, but even the ‘wing and a prayer’ parents are less spontaneous than before.  If your partner used to rely on this, there might be a few lean years while he works out that forward planning is needed.

Although we are tired all the time, we are better at managing each other – flouncing off is much less doable. Plus, we drink less (hangovers are a real sacrifice). And it’s funny, but who gets a lie in becomes the most powerful currency in the relationship.”

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