When it comes to having a baby, we buy all the stuff, set up the nursery, etc…but most of us completely forget to prepare our couple for the new arrival…and with the lack of sleep, ….our baby becomes a toddler, starting preschool, maybe there’s another on the way, yet we STILL haven’t had the chat!
(If you’re wondering what chat, read this post)
I’m talking about parenting, and role sharing. Managing to be a couple, share roles, and work as a family instead of feeling like a suppressed woman doing it all, basically. And what’s interesting is I’ve had a lot of conversations about this recently with other women and all kind of saying the same things:
‘I feel like it’s me doing it all’ or ‘I feel like he doesn’t understand’ and lastly ‘I feel misunderstood.’
‘I feel that my voice isn’t being heard or that I don’t even have a voice.’
Well it’s important for us to try and find that voice now and to start voicing our needs and start even getting to know our own needs.
No relationship is perfect
First of all, I just want to say that it was hard to show up and do that live for one reason only: my couple is far from perfect. I’m still learning, growing – I still resent some silly things my partner does (or doesn’t) and it is a work in progress.
Here’s the thing: nobody can really see your relationship from outside,
Bottom line = progress over perfection.
Okay let’s get into the nitty-gritty. I’m going to break up this post into four main sections I talked about in my live, so it’s easy to follow:
1. We don’t prepare our relationship for parenting
Let’s face it, like we rarely prepare for moving house getting married or any other huge events because we don’t know how to we don’t know how to how do you prepare a couple for that? How do you open those discussions?
How do you start talking about you know, expectations, desires and beliefs that you have around couple life around parenting or around what it means to be In a closed or open couple or whatever you need to discuss.
Committing to be a couple that starts a family means regularly meeting together to review what’s going on in each other’s world. I think this is like the most important thing.
Regular check ins
Checking in regularly helps us come together, bond, cuddle…talk about what’s on our mind, because otherwise when you become a family you just solely focus on the baby and your discussions become around that:
You get caught up in the diaper changing, feeding, what to make for dinner AGAIN,before you know it you’re having these mundane conversations
What we need to do is start asking each other how we feel, how we’re finding this new role of being a mother or father- quite often we make assumptions of the other, only to find out that is not that what they were thinking of all.
I know we all have busy lives, but this is a make or break factor in your relationship.
Ideally you need to start having these discussions before we start to have a family.
I actually have a post on sitting down and having this chat, ideally pre-baby.
Unfortunately, this is something that I didn’t do. I didn’t dealt with. And I know a lot of you probably didn’t sit down and have that chat.
Some things you could bring up:
- How do you want to parent?
- What is your ideal parenting style?
- Are you more of the attachment parent?
- Are you more of the organic parent?
- How do you differ in these views?
Ultimately, what wewant to talk about is what is it you want to convey to your children? And thesame in couple life.
2. Make the switch to a conscious relationship
It makes me very happy to see that more and more people are drawn towards constant conscious relationships on what they involve, you know, conscious relationships basically mean that rather than acting on integrated subconscious thoughts and beliefs, we consciously act to understand and rewire those beliefs.
The idea is that we attract someone and our partner who reminds us of our past and then helps us sort of relive and understand and heal those traumas that we’ve already been through. Conscious relationship is being aware of that.
It means trying to heal those wounds rather than projecting them on the other person. Whether that be our partner, friends or our chidren, we try to understand our traumas and triggers so as to avoid that projection andrealise what’s going on.
You could bring up this discussion for your couple:
Some points to bring up could be: how were you treated as a child? How would you like to have been treated? What is one thing that you would have changed about their parenting? And have you ever seen yourself repeat the same pattern?
Now you’re a parent, have you ever thought to yourself, ‘oh, whoa, I sounded like my mom for a second there’, or I feel triggered now, is it something that happened to me when I was a kid?
If you have seen these patterns happen, that’s important to know as well.
Conscious relationships are just the base of parenting together, because you’re not just acting out on impulse. You’re working through things together. When it comes to discussions like role sharing it’s not coming from the role of being a victim, rather, you’re informed and empowered.
3. Get clear on your expectations
The other day, I got into a really eye-opening discussion with a neighbour of mine. Coincidentally, she’s a coach too, and she asked me some questions including one that she’d personally been working through: what is a relationship to you?
I’ve got to admit that I stood there for a minute and said, Wow, I am going to have to journal on that one. That is not something I can answer from the top of my head. I bet a lot of you won’t know the answer, either.
- What is a relationship to you?
- What goes into a relationship?
- What do you expect from your partner?
- What is his love language? What is yours?
- How can you communicate the most effectively to each other?
It’s something so basic yet something we tend to overlook yet these are kind of the basics of being able to communicate effectively with your partner and your own needs. Start with knowing what you want out of a relationship, how you want to be treated.
Sharing the workload
These days I feel like we’ve come leaps and bounds since the woman was seen as the home maker, child bearer and not a great deal more – supposed to be seen but not heard.
However, through lots of different conversatons recently I’ve seen that we still have work to do.
Women everywhere are still feeling as if they are pulling more weight than men and there is a sensation of unfairness all in all.
The truth is, this is definitely something worth sitting down and having a chat about too to define together.
Knowing what the sharing of tasks should look like as we often end up just automatically entering into these roles and then further down the line, we feel disappointed because we’re not happy with how it’s going.
It’s not something we said no to either, but more something we just kind of fell into, like we fall into relationships, and we fall into jobs, there are a lot of things that we don’t actually do consciously in our life.
Unexpressed desires and beliefs are a huge catalyst for underlying tension and eventual disputes of things left unsaid that then spill out.
Two important questions to ask – Are you enjoying your work? Do you want to have more/less time with the kids?
If you want to take this work further, check out my Couple’s Journal:
Ask each other how you feel about taking the kids, scheduling times – become conscious of what needs doing when and your own capacity? How much space are you able to hold. respecting yourelf despite a filled schedule and knowing when tostop if the day comes, and you’re like, ‘No way I can’t do this’.
Knowing your own capacity to do things or to hold space for yourself or your children’s emotions really helps in being able to communicate with your partner.
Now I am far from perfect at this, because it is pretty new to me – being a people pleaser and conflict avoider, I used to expressing myself hard in previous relationships.
Luckily, parenting really pushes us to stop and reflect on what we need.
4. Become an advocate for yourself
Once you’ve defined these roles that I just talked about, you can then schedule your parenting together.
You can start opening up the conversation about your ‘me time’ you know, it’s important you touch upon free time as well.
Shcedule it in as you would everything else, because free time I think as moms, it’s almost as if we’re supposed to have an indefinite amount of time. So schedule into our diary, this is time for me, this is something I want to do, even if it’s just a hobby, even if it’s just something for you, to make you feel good.
I have a friend who I know she needs to work out because that is how she gets her energy out and she’s able to then come back to her kids more calm and composed. For me, it’s about channelling that energy into creative work. It’s coming on here and chatting to you.
Change your tone
One thing that we’re kind of reluctant to do is use a positive tone of voice, because we’re usually at the point of saying ‘Oh, you know, I need my time now. Give it to me now.’ We slip into passive aggression.
While this is understandable, it’s not the most effective way to communicate. So the best thing that I personally did was to make the shift and say instead: ‘Okay, I need some time this week, when is a good time for you? When are you free to take the kids?’
‘When are you free to do the dishes when or when are you free to give me some space, or even when are you free to spend some time together as a couple.’
5. Let go
I have talked to a lot of women who have felt unsure about leaving the baby with someone else. They might feel like if they leave them the baby are they going to know what to do? When he needs changing, that he needs this amount of clothing, that he needs to sleep at this time- will he recognize his signs of fatigue?
We are just so in sync with our babies, right? So in sync of with our children, that it’s difficult to let go and let somebody else be responsible.
We might even feel guilt about leaving and not being there. We automatically think that we’re the best person to be with our children, right? I mean, not in an arrogant way, but we do believe as mamas that this is our role, that we know our children best. Anybody else is kind of like second to that.
We have to learn to give that responsibility to someone else. It’s totally normal. we have to release that and just let him lead knowing that we are receiving support, and we deserve it.
I have a lot to say about this, so maybe I’ll write another post only dedicated to this topic!
How do you feel about these suggestions, can you think of something I maybe haven’t mentioned?
Again, I go deeper into this in my Couple’s Journal. You can see it below.