Congratulations on having the opportunity to partake in the most rewarding, challenging, important thing you will ever do; be a parent to your children. You and your partner have undoubtedly had a variety of life experiences, together and separately, but being parents can be the life experience that brings couples together in a way that nothing else can. Loving your children is an easy one. Loving how your partner contributes to your home and child rearing is not always as easy. Keep in mind these few things as you go along.
5 Ways to Play to Your Partner’s Parenting Strengths
- Don’t turn little things into big things. Men and women do things differently. I know, shocker. Bear in mind, different does not mean right or wrong. His way of changing diapers or loading the dishwasher or making a sandwich is not inferior to yours, and even if it is, so what. The fact is, he is changing diapers, loading the dishwasher and feeding the children. Criticism is a fast track to an unhappy partner.
- Be clear on your expectations. You don’t have the right to be upset about things you think about but don’t verbalize to your partner. If something is important to you, say it in the same way you would want him to say it to you. Positive, consistent communication is key.
- Keep, or find, your sense of humor. The trail of baby powder leading to the magic marker mural on the wall found moments before company is due to show up, on your partner’s watch, can be irritating or it can be a great story. Your choice. Ask yourself this before you decide… A year from now will it have mattered? If the answer is no, a year from now you will be laughing as you tell the tale.
- Be unified in front of the kids, no matter what. Disagreements on all sorts of issues are bound to transpire, but not in front of the kids. Whether the idea of mom and dad not getting along is disconcerting, or an opportunity to play one parent against the other, it is never in your child’s best interest.
- The most important point, by far, is this: Appreciate your partner for who he/she is, and make your appreciation known. If your partner feels loved, adored, and appreciated by you, what you and your children gain in return will be immeasurable. A friend of mine keeps two jars in her kitchen, and at the end of each day she and her husband write down one specific thing they observed during the day that they appreciated about the other on a scrap of paper and put it in the jar. On Saturday mornings they get a cup of coffee, go back to bed, and take turns reading the seven compliments they each wrote. That small gesture has helped their marriage go from good to great.
At the end of the day, it is up to you to determine the relationship you will build with your partner. I wish you a lifetime of love and appreciation!