Everyone knows Cara Delahoyde and Nathan Massey as complete couple goals - they’re real, they’re relatable and have been talking about the reality of navigating wedding planning and married life with kids, as part of their Guest Editor takeover on Hitched!
If you’ve got a family or are planning to start one after marriage, listen up as these Love Island winners spill the beans to Hitched on what it’s like balancing marriage with mini versions of yourself.
What would you say is the biggest change in your relationship since having children?
Nathan: The sex life - that goes well out the window! Obviously time spent with each other as everything, you know, revolves around the children. We still make time for each other - we went to see Kings of Leon last week. That was the first time we’d been out together in ages. We had a great time!
Cara: We’re going to see Michael Bublé too - he doesn’t just come out at Christmas, which is surprising!
Nathan: That’s the biggest change - we don’t spend a lot of time together just the two of us, but when we do, it’s quality time and we appreciate each other a lot more.
Do you make more effort to spend time together since having children?
Nathan: Yeah - it is hard, obviously. We’ve got two of them now it’s hard work to have them both, but we do try and make quality time for each other as much as we can.
Cara: I just think that when you have kids and you're married, the dynamics change so much from when it was just the two of you. Obviously, we had Fred already when we got married and our dynamics changed so much - we had quite a whirlwind relationship between meeting and having Fred so quickly.
We met in July and I was pregnant the following March, and then Fred was born that December, so yeah, we hadn’t really had that time to go out and do all the couple things.
You really become a unit though, and you’ve got tp have each other’s backs when the kids are going wild. You need to be able to rely on each other for help.
I think that’s the biggest change - that your relationship changes in a good way because you really have to support each other.
Nathan: We don’t even argue anymore because…
Cara: There’s no point!
Nathan: It’s us two against the kids now.
Cara: I just think there’s no point having big arguments over silly things, because in five minutes I’m going to have to ask Nathan to go and get me a nappy or some wet wipes. Even just for the smallest things, you really have to chill out about them. Just let things go over your head and life will be a lot easier.
Nathan: Yeah, it’s made us a lot stronger.
How well prepared did you feel for the change of going from being a couple to being a family?
Cara: Not at all, because Fred was not planned! I was on the pill, I was rubbish at taking it - it’s probably how most children come into the world. He was an unexpected surprise.
We’ve been very open that it was very tough on us. We did actually split up for six months whilst I was pregnant, and then rekindled our relationship just before we had Fred. We’ve always said that was the best thing for us - to have that space and then come back together.
It did work out, but it was a massive, massive shock to go from being easy and carefree - you know, going on a holiday whenever you wanted - to being like, ‘oh my god, we’ve known each other for eight months and now we’re having a baby.’
Nathan: We don’t mess about, us two. We just get straight to it.
Was it harder for the two of you going from no children to one, or from one child to two?
Nathan: Having two is a complete game changer!
Cara: It is harder. At least with one, when you want a babysitter, it’s easier because people are like, yeah that’s fine! But when you’ve got two, it’s hard to get a babysitter. But then, silly enough, we’re sitting there thinking about number three.
So you don’t feel like your family unit is complete?
Cara: I think for women, it’s so hard to say ‘that’s it’. I loved being pregnant. Obviously a newborn is just amazing - at the time you don’t realise it, but newborn is the easiest stage you’ll ever have with your child.
Looking back on that, I think, ‘oh, I’d love a little newborn.’ They’re so easy! So I don’t know - I think we’d wait until Fred and Delilah were both at school and settled until we did it, but Nathan’s sister saw a psychic and she said I’m going to have twin boys when we have another baby!
So we wouldn’t even be going from two to three, apparently we’d be going from two to four. So that’s scary as well.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?
Cara: Be more careful on your pill! Have a little bit more time together and do everything you want to do, then have kids.
We wouldn’t change it for the world, we’re so happy the way everything worked out - we’ve got a great family and we laugh more than we cry, but in an ideal world as a couple, you’d want to do everything that’s easier to do without kids, before you’ve had them.
Nathan: I completely agree. Spend more quality time with each other, and live your life as much as possible.
That’s what I tell people when they’re younger than I am, and thinking about kids. At the end of the day, it’s not easy but it’s the most rewarding thing in the world - it’s amazing, I love every day with them, but it’s hard graft.
READ MORE: Rediscovering Intimacy in Your Relationship
In what ways - good or bad - would you say you’ve both changed since having children?
Cara: I think you’ve grown up, Nathan. You’ve really grown up.
Nathan: Massively! I've seen it in myself and so has everyone else. I just literally couldn't get myself sorted and that's probably why we split up. I was just a nightmare. I loved partying. I loved going out. I loved being the centre of attention.
Then as soon as I had Fred, it was just like, boom, overnight. I’ve had a great upbringing from my mum and dad. My dad’s always been there for me and been the best dad he could so I want to do the same for my children.
My mum and dad provided great foundations for me so it's taking what they've taught me and trying to do the same. I just grew up overnight. I put the dancing shoes away and brought out the golf clubs. I’m like an old man that plays golf now.
Cara: He plays golf every day. He’s ridiculous.
Nathan: Well, it’s better than sitting in the pub, isn’t it Cara?
Cara: I say that I’m a golf widow - that’s our long-running joke.
For me the biggest change has been that I've learned to chill out a bit. I suffer quite badly with anxiety and before, everything had to be immaculate. Now, I’m a bit more chilled out because when you’ve got kids, your house is never going to be immaculate ever. Unless your children are like robots, which ours aren’t.
I've learnt to chill a bit and go with the flow. I used to like to plan things otherwise my anxiety would go wild. Now I've learned that everything’s not always going to be perfect, I just try to enjoy things rather than having to have structure all the time.
As mums, we plan things so much, and we always want things to be perfect for our children - like birthday parties and going out for the day - but I don’t put as much pressure on myself now to make sure everything’s perfect all the time.
Do you think you - as parents - feel pressure because of how parenting is often presented on social media?
Cara: I think it’s different for men. You can say no from a man’s point of view, but I think from a woman’s point of view, it is, because you are always bombarded by these mums who look perfect every day, and their kids - their clothes stay clean all day, and their houses look like showrooms.
I’ve been quite vocal in saying I’ve had to unfollow so many people because their lives looked so perfect. We’ve got a lovely life, but it was even making me look at it and think, ‘Oh my god, I’m not a good enough mum, my house isn’t clean all the time…’, but that’s what it’s like for women. It’s a lot of pressure.
Nathan: I think we show the real side of parenting.
Cara: That’s what I’m saying. We started to do that more, because at the beginning I was trying to present Fred as this perfect child, and my house as perfect. Then I got to a point where I thought, I can’t put this stress on myself, that’s not me.
We started just being ourselves on social media - these are our kids, they’re crazy. Me and Nathan argue, our house is a mess nine times out of 10. It makes things so much easier to just be real.
You don’t need to put on a front - life is hard. You have good days, you have bad days.
I think there is a pressure, but once you realise that you don’t have to be a part of that, everything becomes easier. This is us, take it or leave it.
What advice would you give to couples who are looking to plan a wedding when they’ve got little children?
Nathan: Get wedding planners [laughs].
Cara: We had wedding planners, they were a big help. But I think as well, don’t be scared to say you don’t want children at your wedding. We only had new babies that needed to be with their mums.
Obviously, we had our own child there, but we didn’t have any others. I think a lot of people get scared to say ‘we don’t want children there'. If you want them there, great. If you don’t, it’s your day.
A lot of my friends were quite happy I said that - sometimes your friends will thank you for saying that because it gives them an excuse to get childcare and enjoy the day more.
READ MORE: 15 Ways to Entertain Kids at a Wedding
Finally - when you entered Love Island in 2016, did you ever imagine that you’d end up here, with marriage and kids?
Nathan: No! I thought I'd just go on there and see what happens. I’m 5'7, so for her to step forward for me, I was like ‘happy days!’ I thought I was going to get pied in front of millions.
And that’s why I’d never turn my back on Cara - she stepped forward for me.
Cara: I think we both just went in for a laugh. I was 25, Nathan was 24 - why would anyone turn down six weeks of having a laugh in a villa in the sun?
Obviously, at the time it was a very different show. Pretty much anyone who was on our series would say the same thing. And, yeah, I ended up with…
Nathan: This specimen of a man! It worked out well. Brilliantly.
Cara Delahoyde and Nathan Massey have taken over Hitched for the month of August as our Guest Editors, sharing their insight and expertise after five years of marriage. For more from them, check out: