Your relationship may be at a myriad of points before baby arrives. If you are perfectly in balance and order, you may need to have a discussion about the adaption of chaos. Children incorporate a level of chaos into life that is equally refreshing and overwhelming. Especially upon arrival, it can be a lot for you both to handle. Focus on the joyous and exciting times of welcoming new life in your lives.
All you had to focus on up to this point in your relationship was each other and yourselves, but now a whole new member is showing up to rock the boat. Parenthood takes the wheel and your relationship will hop in the backseat. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are five tips to keep your relationship a priority while you become new parents:
1. Prioritize sleep
Nobody is happy and functioning when they cannot get proper sleep. A newborn puts a damper on the full night sleep, and therefore, your mood. More conflict occurs when you are both tired, and that is beneficial for no-one. Start by sleeping when the baby sleeps in the beginning. If you have to go back to work, put yourself on a bedtime that works for you. Put the phone away, and try to develop a routine as best you can to ready yourself for sleep. Consider dividing the night wakings to allow you both to get an adequate chunk of sleep.
2. Be forgiving of your partner
Mistakes will be made, and that is a major part of parenthood and humanhood. Although this is an exciting time, it is also stressful to have your routines changed so drastically. Stress weighs heavily on your happiness level and your relationship. Being present and loving is more difficult if you are stressed. Remind yourself that when you feel annoyed with your partner it is often the lack of sleep that contributes rather than your partner’s actions.
3. Communicate gratitude
Be appreciative of your partner and their efforts. Encourage each other. Lack of sleep inhibits your ability to express gratitude regularly. Start by recognizing your partner’s efforts, then taking a few moments to feel fortunate for sharing in the journey together. Reflect on the early days that led to this parenting journey together. Talk with each other to keep communication and connection flowing. Even if it feels frivolous, thank-yous go a long way in expressing gratitude.
4. Have something just for the two of you
This may not be the time to take up a difficult hobby, but set aside time to spend together. It may be hard to find in your new parenting journey, but you have to make it happen. Small date nights here and there will help you reconnect with your love. It may take a few months to find a babysitter you can trust, but once the opportunity arises don’t shoot it down. It is a good rule of thumb to agree to not discuss the baby while you are on your date. You can discuss the baby when you are with the baby, but this time is just for the two of you.
5. Keep talking it all out
You both have the choice to sit in misery and silence together or talk it out and have fun in your situation. Someone will get pooped on before you leave for an important appointment. These non desirable moments are part of the parenting journey. Laugh it off together. Talk about your frustrations and sadness together. Suffering alone through the vast changes will negatively impact your relationship. Be open with your partner about how you are feeling and incorporate humor to handle to stressful situations.
The journey of parenting is a beautiful and chaotic experience you share with your partner. Dynamics may need to shift and roles may change, but if you agree to continue communicating and put your best effort forward, you will both make it through. Communicate, practice gratitude, and develop healthy sleeping routines to find what new pattern of parenting life works for both of you.