By Doula Jen
Parenthood is hard…wonderful…hard! Add work, home, exercise, finances, extended family, friendship…SLEEP! The romantic relationship inevitably takes a back seat to the kids and everything else life throws your way.
Today at Health Foundations’ Moms Group I facilitated a discussion of the relationship ups and downs that ALL parents face. Here are some basic, yet crucial, nuggets of advice that came out of the chat:
1. Take Five.
Date night is daunting! Lipstick…what? And yet, the health of your relationship is important.
Try five minutes of togetherness—be it a foot massage, a long hug, doing the crossword, or watching a favorite show. Honor the connection that started it all. Take five minutes. Sometimes five naturally leads to ten leads to twenty…but it’s much less pressure than calling the sitter for a full night out.
2. Practice Patience.
In the bedroom!
Mom calls the shots. Her body and emotions have been messed with in a major way. It probably won’t feel good for a while. She might not want to even THINK the word “sex” for a while. That’s OK. It has to be OK. You will have sex again someday and it will be great. Until then, cuddling and kissing is awesome. Unless Mom feels “touched out” by the demands of Baby…then you’ll have to settle for a sleepy half grin from across the pile of laundry.
3. Nobody Wins.
Arguments about who gets more sleep, who needs more sleep, or who has the harder job. Period.
4. Both Sides are Valid.
This is very touchy-feely but true. You may not agree; in fact you may DISAGREE often in the tender post-birth period. Both of you have your right to feelings and opinions, and those thoughts—every last one of them—are normal. Validate away, my friends!
5. See the Good.
When the snoring suddenly drives you crazy, when you’re sick of defending yourself for not getting the dishes done, when the fights seem bigger and louder than ever before…look on the bright side. Pretty blue eyes, kind heart, carries the cat litter, makes awesome brownies, looks BEAUTIFUL with babe in arms…
These are the basics, folks. And while they are written with the postpartum period in mind, they can easily apply to the toddler years, the teenage years, and beyond. Relationships are hard. Parenting is hard. Parenting with the person you share a relationship with is beyond hard…for everyone! Breathe, connect, laugh it off. You’re not alone.