There is nothing quite like parenthood that will reveal if you have healthy communication patterns with your partner. Time, space and freedom becomes even more valuable commodities once a little one joins the family. We wanted to offer a few tips about partner communication, especially during those early years with little ones.
One of the things that has been most helpful for my family, is to have a ‘housekeeping’ meeting once a week. On Sunday nights, we pull out our calendars, share our to-do lists, express our desires for self care, etc and do our best to fit it all in. It is during this time that we assign who will be doing school drop offs/pick ups, which of us will attend the therapies and who is making what for dinner. As you add children to the family, the tasks begin to pile up and we have found it really helpful to have a set time to plan out our family activities and responsibilities.
Another thing that we * try * to implement twice a month is a date night. The housekeeping meetings are nice but they are anything but romantic. We like to reserve space twice a month for just us. Even if we want the activity to be spontaneously decided, we assign the nights ahead of time to make sure that they happen!
Lastly, we have learned over the years to express our needs, rather than expecting one another to guess the need. I like to go to the gym -or fit in a workout of some kind - every day. My husband likes to have time in the morning to read and drink coffee. We make sure that we express our desires so that they can come to fruition. We spent the first few years of our marriage not sharing them and hoping the other partner would guess. This lead to frustration and disappointment. We’ve found it’s so much easier (and rewarding) to just share our needs!
If you can, think through the areas where you and your partner experience the most frustration. As you reflect, perhaps you can put some rhythms in place that will enable you to bypass those frustrations in the future!