I’m not a new parent… but I’m not exactly an old hand either. I’ve got four years and three children under my belt. Three pregnancies, three labours, three times establishing breastfeeding, three times struggling through the fog of sleep deprivation, three times working out how this new little person will fit into our family… I’d say it get’s easier with experience, and it does in a way, but it never gets easy and it never stays the same. This parenting game is always changing, always evolving, always throwing up new challenges, always testing you in new ways. And that’s why I loved the idea of these Coaching Cards for New Parents from Barefoot Coaching and I was thrilled to be invited to take part in their #YouGotThis blog tour.
I think that as parents it’s so important that you talk openly and honestly to each other regularly, communication is everything. I’m a talker. I probably talk too much. I could talk all day about my feelings, my hopes and fears, my triumphs and difficulties… but it doesn’t come as easy for Carl. In fact sometimes getting him to open up is a bit like getting blood out of a stone, and not just because I don’t let him get a word in edgeways! But that’s why asking the right questions is so important and why these cards are so brilliant.
There are 50 question cards in the pack, all designed to get you talking and having helpful conversations about your new life as a parent. You don’t have to discuss them with your partner, you could just take a quiet moment by yourself to reflect and plan for the future or even use them as a journaling prompt. Either way I think it’s a brilliant way of finding the right answers for you and your family and I know that we will come back to them time and time again.
The best way to test them out of course is to answer one of the questions, so I had a look through the pack and settled on this one.
In what ways has your relationship with your partner changed since your baby was born?
Well, the short answer to this question is ‘in every way’, having a baby changes your relationship with your partner in every way. Or at least, having three babies has changed my relationship with Carl beyond all recognition. Well, that’s not strictly true… I think to an outsider we would probably look the same, we’ve always been a good team, we’ve always spent most of our free time together, we’ve always bickered over silly things and laughed at things no one else finds funny… but on the inside, everything has changed.
We’ve seen each other at our worst and at our best, the times that could have broken us have made us so much stronger. There’s a feeling that we’re in the trenches together, in this super hard phase of life we only really have each other to lean on, it’s only me and him that truly get what it’s like to be in our little bubble, so it’s brought us so much closer together. We’re stronger together than we are apart, so we never spend too much time being cross with each other. Of course we argue, probably more than we used to before children, but only because there’s more things to argue about now and discussions like ‘what shall we have for dinner?’ are suddenly a lot more important than they used to be when there’s kids involved. But our arguments are always short lived because having children definitely brings into sharp focus the things in life that are really important and worth worrying about, and a lot of the things that you used to care about, just don’t seem important anymore.
Becoming parents has made us see each other in a whole new light, it’s a cliché but it’s true. I always had a feeling that Carl would be a good Dad. I knew he’d play tickle fights and football with our kids, and I knew he would change nappies and read bedtime stories. But what I didn’t realise was all the little ways that he would step up every single day. He truly is the glue that holds our family together and if I’m honest the unsung hero. I have a completely new found total respect for him, because now I know the true lengths he would go to, to look after us.
I never ever doubt him any more, when he says he will stand by me through thick and thin I know he means it because it’s not just words anymore. He’s not just telling me, he’s shown me.
In our relationship I’m the creative one, I’ll have all the ideas…. of fun things to do, things to make with the kids, adventures to have, all of that stuff. Carl is the practical one, he’s the one that says ‘hang on, we need to load the dishwasher first’. Carl is the dependable one, I’m a bit flaky; I’m always there, I’m always giving 100%, but my attention flits from one thing to another and I find it harder to stay present. I think we definitely know each other’s strengths and weaknesses a lot better now than before we had children.
Having a baby (or several babies) has meant that I’ve had to lean on Carl a lot. Being pregnant, the after effects of labour, having a newborn, being a stay at home Mum, it’s all really tough, and I would never be the Mum I am today if I didn’t have the unwavering support of my husband. But I know that I need to look after him too. Carl would never ever put himself first, that’s just the type of person that he is. But sometimes I find that frustrating when he falls asleep on the sofa on a Sunday afternoon because he didn’t tell me he was shattered and needed a lie in that morning, or gets really ill because he refused to take a day in bed when he first started getting poorly. I suppose I used to look after him, before we had children, but for the last few years I’ve been too busy with them and myself to have time to worry about him if he says he’s fine. I’ve recently realised that he’s the one looking after all of us, so I need to put a bit more effort into looking after him.
Having children is like putting your relationship under a pressure test, everyone will show their true colours, and with any luck, you’ll get closer and stronger. And if you can get past the bit where your hormones tell you to punch him in the face every 10 minutes (try to ignore them, it’s not his fault he eats like that/makes stupid jokes/is asleep) then you’re probably onto a good thing!
Coaching Cards for New Parents by Kim Morgan are available to buy now at http://bit.ly/
Don’t miss the next stop on the #YouGotThis blog tour! Read Madeline’s post over at This Glorious Life on Sunday 04 September
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