Communicate Everything Experiencing parenthood for the first time? Plenty of couples find themselves trying to navigate territory that’s not only new, but also, downright scary. And here’s the headline: it only gets more unfamiliar with time. Sure, you’ll get the hang of things, and just as you do, your children will enter another, completely new phase. Whether they’re three or thirteen, kids can throw some punches into an otherwise very predictable routine.
Here’s the tip: Plan to communicate – early and often. Remember, your partner is likely experiencing the same pressure as you, whether it’s stress from work, friends or frustration at home. Coping together, with expectations defined and “all hands on deck” is sure to be easier than trying to get through difficulties alone. Communicate feelings, thoughts and ideas, but also, any needs you have that your partner can fulfill. Communication is the key to getting help. And the more open you are, the more receptive your partner is likely to be.
Differentiate “Me Time” From “Family Time” and “Our Time” It’s tough to find hours in the day to take care of basic responsibilities, never mind penciling in extra time for yourself and family. Nevertheless, maintaining a close, secure and happy relationship is work and like a child, requires nurturing. Set reasonable expectations for a healthy work-life balance, and be sure to include special time for the family, yourself and the one-on-one time your relationship deserves. A dinner out, a trip to the local museum, even just a simple stroll around the neighborhood together can keep the stress at bay while fostering togetherness, apart from the family unit.
Taking time for yourself in a busy family can be challenging. But remember this: the more relaxed and happy you are with yourself, the happier and more confident you appear to your partner and children. Differentiate priorities in life – you, your family and your partner by taking well deserved time for each and watch all of your most important priorities benefit.
Embrace Your Humorous Side Koolaid on the Venetian rug is never funny. Neither is a cracked bumper on your new car. But let’s be honest, life throws curveballs no matter how hard you prepare. As a parent, one of the most important life lessons you can pass to your children is the gift of forgiveness. Embrace your humorous side, rather than create more tension and stress in an already difficult situation. Sure, there are serious situations that require discipline and a steady temper, but making light of life’s small mishaps can help your partner remember you, the person, not you, the parent. Laughter is contagious, and the more you show your sense of humor, the faster stress and anxiety can be replaced with patience, trust and good old fashioned fun.
Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet to parenting that makes stressful situations disappear. Being a parent is a tremendous responsibility, as well as a joy that can create insurmountable anxiety, tension and uncertainty. Remember that your partner is probably experiencing the same frustration as you. Keep the lines of communication wide open, take time out to appreciate one another as well as yourself and never underestimate the power of a good belly laugh.