Happy Tuesday! A few weeks back I did a guest post on Simply Clarke
, and I wanted to share it with you today. It’s so hard to keep your marriage a priority once a baby joins your family, and Chris and I have really had to work hard at it.
Both Chris and I feel it’s important to have a strong marriage, and have learned a lot in the past year or so about making sure we make each other feel important, needed, and loved. I really want Abbie to see positive role models in her parents and our relationship, and working on our marriage (even when parenting is tough), will keep it strong. So what have I learned?
Communicate. Communication is KEY, from the very beginning. When Abbie was a newborn, I put a lot of pressure on myself to do everything. I started to feel stressed and overwhelmed…and I didn’t say anything to Chris. Big mistake. We ended up frustrated with each other and getting in fights for no reason – other than I was communicating what I was feeling to him. Once we got everything out, things went more smoothly, but it’s still something I have to think about when I’m having a rough time – he doesn’t know unless I tell him!
Apologize. Let’s be honest about it – you’re going to fight. Especially when it’s 3am, baby has been nursing nonstop for hours, you’re tired, he’s tired, baby’s crying…it’s going to happen. Be okay with it. Then apologize. Rough times in parenting sometimes bring out the worst in us, and it causes conflict. Just make sure you recognize that and apologize.
Give each other a break. Some weekends, Abbie goes nonstop. She’s at a stage that she’s full of energy and wants to do and see everything. While it’s exciting and fun, it’s also tiring. Both Chris and I work full-time, and sometimes we just need a break and some time to ourselves. Sometimes Chris will need a break on a weekend morning, so I’ll take Abbie downstairs and let him sleep in a little. Sometimes I’ve had a rough day at work and don’t want to make dinner, and Chris makes it. It does take some planning (I usually cook, so he makes the easy things like burgers and oven fries), but it’s well worth it. You need to remember that your partner is still a person, not just your partner or your child’s parent. Sometimes a 20 minute break will rejuvenate you.
Make sure you still touch. It’s amazing how a simple hug can help, or holding hands. It reminds you that you’re not alone in this parenting journey, and that you have a partner to go through it with. You touched and cuddled before parenthood, so why not after? Snuggling on the couch after Abbie’s in bed usually makes the tension of the day melt away, even if we’re doing separate things. It’s important to still be a couple without your baby.
Laugh. Sometimes, being a parent is just ridiculous. Like the first time Abbie had a diaper leak…and it ended up all over both me and her. We frantically brought her to have a bath…me desperate to get clean….and we just started laughing hysterically. By the time we actually got her in the tub, she was covered and definitely needed that bath! Other times, Abbie is just goofy – playing peekaboo, chasing the cats, throwing tantrums for no reason…and we laugh. Because being a parent is funny, and you should.
I don’t claim to know it all, but I like to think my first year as a parent has taught me a few things – and I hope they help someone out there. It’s so important to be a strong role model for your kids and show them what a strong relationship really means. It takes work and dedication, but is SO worth it.