Your beautiful bundle is here—and you’re a family of three (or maybe more). Going from couple to family is exciting, but it’s also a time of transition—which often brings challenges, uncertainty, and change. When it’s not just you and your partner anymore, how do you keep your relationship going strong?
The Benefits of Bonding (With Your Co-Parent)
Bonding with baby may be the easy part. But study after study shows that new parents are the least satisfied when it comes to how happy they are in their marriage or partnership. When a tiny person crashes your party of two—with constant demands around the clock—it’s not hard to see why. Preserving your adult relationship takes time and energy, and it may feel like you’re lacking both with a baby around. But finding ways to nurture yourselves as a couple can benefit the whole family.
Ways to Strengthen the Bond With Your Co-Pilot
You and your co-parent are in the cockpit together. How can you ensure a smooth flight?
- Divide and conquer. Studies show that couples who share the housework fare better. The more balanced the chores, the more likely each partner is to be happy in the relationship. Try making a list of what needs to be done (the list is much longer with baby in the picture!) and come up with a system that works in your home.
- Realize you’re both creating new identities. Life has changed drastically for both of you. However you divvy up baby care, both you and your partner are taking on new roles and navigating a big identify shift. You’re a parent now, but you’re still you—and both of you are in the process of discovering what that means. Staying patient and present with your co-parent can offer a great source of support.
- Accept different styles. Parenting styles, that is. You and your co-parent may have different approaches to parenting—and that’s okay, as long as you communicate and determine a shared strategy that works in your home. When the baby is awake at 2am probably isn’t the best time to hash it out—look for calm, quiet times to talk through parenting roles and approaches.
- Choose your battles. Even though you love holding your little one, sometimes the best answer is to let go of the little stuff. Does it really matter if baby’s outfit matches? Letting go of these smaller issues builds trust, respect, and collaboration between you and your co-parent.
- Appreciate the other. Sometimes as a parent, our child gets our patient, loving side. Try saving some of that concern and kindness for your co-parent too. Make a habit of acknowledging one great thing your partner does each day—remember that a little appreciation can go a long way.
Happily ever after? There will certainly be moments with your co-parent that don’t feel like a fairy tale. Remember that you’re in this together—all the things you love about each other are still there, and now you have a new family member to share them with.