5 ways to babyproof marriage, including ‘intimacy plan’ as Helen Skelton splits from hubby

After eight years of marriage,Helen SkeltonandRichie Myler have separated.

Countryfile star Helen, 38, announced on Instagram thatthey’d called time on their relationship.

She wrote: “Very sad to say that Richie and I are no longer a couple. He has left the family home. We will be doing our best to co parent our small children,” along with two heartbroken emojis.

The news comes after Helen and Richie, who share Ernie, six, Louis, five,welcomed baby Elsie Kate to their brood just four months ago.

Asadolescent psychologist Angela Karanja notes, the pair’s devastating news has shown that the arrival of a new baby can shake the strongest of couples.

“Here’s one thing as a parenting expert and psychologist I know, many mothers are really resilient, by the time a mother announces 'I’m struggling' it’s been a long time coming,” Angela exclusively tells OK!. “One more thing happens, and it breaks the (camel) mother’s back.”

So, here’s how you can babyproof your relationship…

Create an intimacy plan

While making time for romance and intimacy may not sound like the most sexy thing on the planet, it can help couples prioritise their relationship over their busy schedules.

“This may seem unromantic, but if not planned, these moments may not happen as spontaneously as they happened before the kids,” explains Angela. “This often leads to resentment and further disconnection.”

And when it comes to scheduling romance, it’s not just intimacy that should be planned in advance.

“Do at least one thing with your lover that does not involve kids at all – yes make it at least once a week,” she adds. “Even if it’s sitting outside in the garden alone or locking yourselves up in a room alone – just to be alone together!”

Drop the 'Perfect Peggy' effect

When it comes to navigating parenting or a relationship, it’s natural to want to be the best parent or the best partner in the world. However, striving to be number one at everything comes at a cost.

“Work on your need to be a perfect parent and perfect partner,” says Angela. “The pressure that comes with this can send you dropping into the pits.”

As a result, nothing’s better than embracing the unpredictability of day-to-day life.

“Be flexible and fluid and patient with each other. Understand that kids are here in our lives and therefore anything can happen, get comfortable with chaos,” she continues.

Schedule some child-free time

While it may seem counterproductive to spend time away from your partner when attempting to save your relationship, being completely alone has its benefits and can help individuals feel more refreshed.

“Plan specific times where one parent is away from it all. Plan a mum’s day off, then a dad’s day off. You have to be completely willing to be hands off,” says Angela.

Given the parental need to protect little ones, Angela recognises that it may be hard for parents to combat their own separation anxiety.

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“This is especially difficult for mums. Just go away somewhere. That’s their dad, nothing is going to happen to the kids. You rejuvenate and come back and you’ll be a better mum.”

Carefully curate your support network

Choosing who you surround yourself with may appear to be a ruthless task, but carefully curating the types of people you hang out with can rub off on your own outlook.

“Hang out with intentional parents who are empowered and willing to navigate this season successfully,” she says.

“Don’t hang out with others who are always moaning about the woes and doing nothing about it – hang out with those who understand you because they are in it too. They moan about the challenges but are determined to successfully navigate them.”

Most importantly, be honest

At the end of the day, it’s always important to check in on our own feelings and circumstances. Whether that’s mental wellness, relationships, parenting demands or familial demands, these all act as vulnerability factors or protective factors, explains Angela.

“When they are positive and strong, they become protective factors. When they are negative, they are vulnerability factors,” she says.

“Look at these factors. Be true to yourself and seek support if you are looming more on the vulnerability factors side of the spectrum.”

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