Babies are certain a joy. Cute, cuddly and the living embodiment of the love between you and your mate. As we romanticize the notion of bringing new life into the world, we often conveniently forget the sleepless nights, ear-splitting wails, and lots of body fluids that leak onto clothes. Babies can hinder a couple’s ability to enjoy a dinner together or even simply healthy communication patterns.
Relationship experts highlight a need for reliable communication patterns to be in place well before you consider adding a child into your home. Make sure you both have the same desire and mindset for children and parenting. If you feel like you are ready to embrace parenthood, here are a few ways a romance can be strengthened through parenthood.
- United Family Front: Either you both are on board with having a child and establishing parenting style prior to a family planning, or your union could be threatened by the arrival of a child into your home.
- Be realistic: As you begin to question if you are ready to be parents, solicit the experience of existing parents in your social circle. Set aside ample time to be around children to understand how you and your mate interact and respond to kids. This will also show you both the uniqueness of each family, and even each child within a family.
- Communication is key: Talk to your partner about how they envision parenthood. Do either of you have certain expectations for yourself or for each other? Ensure your communication is vulnerable, raw and transparent. Create an attainable plan that aligns with both of your goal and can make you each satisfied.
- Be honest: Work together to put your expectations and plan into practice. Communication should always be ongoing. Consistently share your feelings, fears and impressions. Be willing to truly listen to each other to know what you both need. This communication will serve to strengthen you love for decades and children to come.
- Listen: If one of you has a problem the other must be able to listen first, before trying to offer a solution. It is important to understand what is both being said and unsaid during this conversation. For example, if your husband is not waking up to do midnight feeding regularly, don’t just complain. Understand what is preventing this sharing of feeding duty. Create a feasible solution together when you both are able to receive advice.
- Switch-out sleep: Being sleep deprived is a massive obstacle facing the first months of a new baby, and can cause huge strain on a relationship. Parents should work together to create a sleep schedule that meets both of their needs.
- Prioritize self-care: You can’t help anyone else if you aren’t able to help yourself first. Make sure each partner is able to have some “me time.” Discuss and plan out a schedule ahead of a child’s arrive so you both can enjoy a night out without the other parents being overly strained.
- Couple time: Prioritize your relationship with each other. Just because you plan to be parents doesn’t mean your love is on hold until the child becomes an adult! Whether you plan a weekly date night, or put the baby to bed early for some adult time, its critical to fan the flame of love. A child thrives when their parents are happy and engaged with each other.
- New outlook: The arrival of a child means the parents roles in life are forever altered. Look at the simple moments of parents with a fresh lens of appreciation for your partner and enjoy a sensation of falling in love all over again.
Be a team: You both are on the same team as parents. No matter if it’s the wife cleaning poop off the walls or the husband staying up at night with a sick child, your shared goal should be to help each other and raise a well-adjusted child. Having a strong, happy, and healthy family involves tons of give and take, but it’s worth it in the long run.