Tips for the Two of You
You’ll make lots of adjustments in your first months as a new parent. Here are tips for the two of you, practical advice shared by other wise parents.
• The Golden Rule of Postpartum, especially in the first two weeks. Two Naps, One Event.
A nap in the morning, a nap in the afternoon and then, at night, naps. That’s how you avoid sleep deprivation.
When your ‘family leave’ time is over, remember this: Before you walk in the door, take a moment to clear your head, relax your body, eat a snack. That way, you’ll have better energy for the transition.
• Once a week, spend a half hour on ‘business’. Pay the bills, review your schedules, address topics that are important for the next week. Doing this on a regular basis avoids confusion and missed messages.
• Once a month, make a date. Stick with it. Spend a couple hours doing something you both enjoy. It should first satisfy your adult social and emotional needs though you can bring your kids.
• Three times a week, go to bed together. Honor that time of the day when you wrap things up together and just relax. This is time to just be. It’s easy to feel in different worlds if one’s home and one’s at work.
• Say five positive things to your partner each day. Couples with healthy marriages say more positives than criticisms*. So aim for five positives for every one criticism. Let your partner know what you appreciate and what’s working in balance with what’s bothersome. You get more with sugar than vinegar.
• Plan something in the next six months. Create traditions that mark the changes in seasons. You’ll also see your family’s growth each time you revisit that beach or diner (for example).
Have faith, improvisation becomes one of your best strengths. Ultimately, this is about enjoying time together.
* What Makes Marriages Succeed or Fail by John Gottman.