Parenting a newborn baby can unite parents in profound ways; however, it can also lead them further apart.
Dr. John Gottman’s research shows that 67% of new parents felt dissatisfied in their relationship during the first three years of their baby’s life.
The key to strengthening your bond is to develop healthy habits that support the development of a compassionate and unified parenting team.
You will be challenged to work as a team as you both experience a lack of sleep, libido, and solitude. The key is to remain focused on your partner first and address the baby’s needs together. As a parenting team, it is much easier to laugh at things that might otherwise make you cry.
Involvement in your baby’s care
Sharing in all aspects of childcare is essential to remaining connected and appreciative.
Create space for each of you to function as a meaningful caregiver. Take a unified approach, ‘one feeds and the other burps,’ allowing you to become a stronger team. Sharing the roles of feeding, bathing, and soothing may create the most unified feeling for parents.
Different parenting styles
It is normal to have different parenting styles. You might disagree about sleep training, feeding schedules, or even the “right way” to hold the baby.
The key is to avoid communication breakdown. To do so, hold a brief “team meeting” as needed to focus on problem-solving together. Each of you should feel heard and understood as you find a mutually-beneficial solution.
Remaining best friends
Connecting with your partner as best friends is crucial. Hold a daily 15-minute “team meeting” to focus solely on each other. Share a laugh, express your love and gratitude, or daydream about 8-hours of sleep.
Stay connected as you navigate disagreements and always support a compromise.
You’ve got this—together! Get into the groove of your new team and fall in love even more deeply as you become a family.
Healthy Love Habits is Raising Arizona Kids’s monthly relationship column for learning simple habits to create the healthy and loving connection you desire and deserve.
Karen Aurit, LAMFT, is Director and Co-Founder of The Aurit Center for Divorce Mediation in Scottsdale, Arizona. Karen is a Licensed Associate Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in mindfulness theory. She is also an Adjunct Professor at The Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution at Pepperdine University School of Law and at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law. Karen is married to Michael Aurit, and they live in Phoenix, Arizona, with their three and five-year-old daughters. Karen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more, visit auritmediation.com