Parenting is a wonderful chapter in the life of a couple.  One of the most fascinating and wondrous things about being a parent is sharing the milestones that your child achieves.  Witnessing your newborn navigating the challenges of growth as baby, toddler and child can leave you hysterical and in awe.  Watching  your child’s attempts at growing and learning, is indeed what memories are made of.

Just as you watch the antics and triumphs of your child, your child is watching you. His antennae are open and sensitive to everything that takes place around him. He/she sees how you and your spouse navigate life in general and your relationship to each other. You are your child’s hero and most important role model. It is from you that your child will learn what is important in life and what you value.

This shouldn’t cause fear or trepidation but make you aware of the wonderful opportunity that you have to model the values that you believe in for your children. And it doesn’t mean that you can’t have a disagreement. We don’t need to rise to the status of angels for the sake of our children.

What’s Most Important?

What is important, is the general mood and atmosphere that you and your partner set in the home. Do your children see a generally amicable and loving relationship? Are each of you giving into your spouse from time to time? Do they see patience and camaraderie? If so, you are on the right track.

But what happens when the constant demands of parenthood and life in general start to wear you down? When you feel that your spouse is not responsive or lacks sensitivity to what you are experiencing daily.

It’s important to carve out time with your spouse, no matter how difficult that may be. Spend some time alone and be honest about what you are feeling. People have different perspectives, and what may be obvious to you, may be completely hidden from your partner.

Loneliness in a Relationship

Your spouse may be feeling as lonely and isolated as you but may have difficulty expressing or even acknowledging feelings. Nothing changes a relationship like the constant demands of family life and those changes can be unexpected and painful.

The ultimate results are hopefully enriching, but the adjustment can take time and be confusing. The unique relationship that once existed between the two of you has now broadened into that of a family. It is exciting and life changing, but none the less can take some getting used to.

These changes may be experienced as potholes and rough spots along the way.  Make sure to address your feelings with your spouse, even when it is difficult. Left unattended, resentments can cause a breech  in communication, and the potholes become deeper and more difficult to repair.

Checking in, and take the time to see what each of you is feeling. This can make the difference between a satisfying and joyful relationship and one that is fraught with pain and tension. If things have gotten way off track and communication has broken, it may be difficult to navigate good communication alone.

Do not be afraid to seek the help of a therapist, an older couple that you can trust, or a religious leader to help sort things out.

Working to Find Solutions

Sometimes the solution can be getting more cleaning help at home. This can ease the constant burden of cleaning up after the kids and mounds of unending laundry. When both parents are working, divide responsibilities  so that the home can function and the burdens shared.

Working on a budget can also free up funds that didn’t seem to be available to get extra help. So much of our money gets caught up in thoughtless purchases. Budgeting our money to see where money is going, can help  cut back on things that we won’t even miss. It can then be surprising that extra money is available for hired help, or to go out to eat occasionally.

Taking a look at those areas and working on solutions can effectively lessen our stress and these viable alternatives can make the difference between a happy home and stressed out parents.

I have a friend who, when her children were small, would wait for her husband to come home and then take a walk by herself for 20 minutes. This would give her a needed break from the constant demands of her children. After her walk, she was ready to tackle the rest of the evening.

Planning Pays

Although some of these ideas take creativity and planning, the payoffs are big and worth the effort. And working together with your spouse for such an important goal provides big gains in your relationship.

Life throws everyone curve balls and working through them can be one of the most rewarding challenges for a couple. Not only will your relationship blossom, but you will be providing your children with some invaluable lessons.

When children see parents navigating the challenges of life successfully (and sometimes not so successfully), but work together respectfully and with sensitivity, they are given tools to navigate their own difficulties.

Does all of this seem daunting? Starting any new challenge is difficult, just as the first few days of dieting can be the hardest. With your goal in mind, practiced over weeks, months and years, you will set strategies in place to help you stay emotionally healthy and weather the challenges. It isn’t easy and there will be setbacks and disappointments, but the rewards are well worth the effort involved.

What do you think? Have some of these strategies worked for you? Please leave your comments, questions and challenges below and I will try to address them in future posts. Good luck on your journey and I hope to hear from you!!

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