Whether we like to admit it or not, being new parents will bring your relationship matters with your partner to. the. surface.
The strengths in your relationship will be magnified. And the weaknesses in your relationship will be magnified.
Preparing for that shift and transition is important, and one of the best ways to do that is to just talk! And remind each other that you’re in this together, and you have each other’s backs.
It’s so easy to focus on the birth, and then the logistics of baby: How will we feed? How will we sleep? What products do we need? What should we register for? How long will I take off work? And it’s so easy to neglect the bigger picture: YOU’RE GOING TO BE PARENTS FOREVER AND YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE DOING YET.
Either schedule a date night or plan to talk with each other on your next long drive about exploring these parenting issues as you prepare to bring your baby into the world.
Can we just talk about this photo for a second? I searched stock photos online to find something eye-catching and HOLY SMOKES I CAN’T TAKE MY EYES OFF OF THIS POWERHOUSE COUPLE.
Back to it: Have a date night. Spend some time loving on each other and have a deep discussion to help prepare you both for exploring the life you’re about to embark on. Go through these questions slowly and thoughtfully, exploring each one as far as you’d like to go. If your partner is sharing, be the best listener you can be. Listen intently to their responses, memories, and thoughts without interrupting. And then request that they do the same for you. (Communication skills are important for parenthood, too!)
Disclaimer: these questions may be difficult to answer and may be triggering to share about, depending on your past. If you feel like the guidance of a therapist may be helpful to begin these discussions, contact Arise Counseling (or your own therapist) for a little extra help! *not sponsored or anything, I just think this can be extremely helpful, and she specializes in this stuff and offers online sessions if you’re not local!*
What are some of the ways that your parents/guardians raised you that you think benefited you greatly and that you’d like to impress upon your own family as well?
What are some of the things that your parents/guardians did that you definitely don’t want to repeat with your own children? Why?
How were you disciplined as a child? Were you spanked? Put in time out? Grounded? What are your thoughts about these and how did they make you feel as a child? How do you wish your parents handled discipline?
What are your strongest core values as a human? How can those help guide you as a parent?
What are your biggest strengths? What are your biggest weaknesses? How can you foresee those making an impression on parenting?
What do you want to see from your children? Do you want them to grow up to be independent? Do you want them to have a great education? Do you want them to be kind and giving? Do you want them to not have to worry about money? Do you want them to have more opportunities than you did? (there’s no right or wrong answer here!!!) And how can your early parenting (baby/toddler years) have an impact on these long-term goals?
Newsflash: Being a parent to a baby (although rewarding and fulfilling) is also exhausting and can be frustrating and overwhelming. If you are on the edge (this WILL happen), can you develop some sort of “code word” or phrase that will let your partner know that it’s very important that they help now with no judgement? What will you need from them when that happens to you? Examples are: time and space for alone time, making sure that you’re fed and have water, having your partner take the baby for a little while, getting out of the house for a walk or drive, words of affirmation or encouragement, not receiving any advice about what you’re doing right or wrong, or being asked “what can I do for you right now?”
I hope this is helpful! It’s something I wish I had explored a little more in pregnancy with my own husband, but if you’ve already had your babies, it’s not too late! You can still have these important discussions and questions anytime.
What are your thoughts? What would you add to this list?