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Navigating the Roles of a Lifetime:
How to Juggle Being a Parent & Partner
Struggle to find balance between your role as a parent and your role as a spouse or partner? Well, you have plenty of company here as nearly every parent at some point in time finds this to be a challenge. Being a parent and a partner may be your two most important and rewarding roles of your life, but they can almost be the most difficult.
This doesn’t have to be the case though…you can achieve balance and the romance that comes with it! Try these simple TEN TIPS, designed to help you think, feel, and act differently within these roles. These will get you on your way to a happier partner, happier kids, and most importantly, a happier you!
1) Think of yourself as human
A good starting point to help balance your roles as a parent and partner is to rethink your personal role. It may sound silly, but many of us fail to see ourselves as human and all of the things that come along with that: being imperfect, having bad days, needing to rest, etc. Here at TheConfidante we are all about excelling yourself however recognizing this and really embracing it is another thing! For example, not aiming for “Supermum” or “Wonderdad” – it is a great way to begin achieving more balance in these roles. A newborn is sure to take the focus off your spouse during this tricky time however realizing each others limitations in the face of lack of sleep will certainly be appreciated!
2) Discover your personal definitions of a “good partner” and a “good parent”
What’s your definition of a “good wife” or “good husband?” What’s your definition of a “good parent?” Where did these ideas come from? Are you aiming to recreate what your parents did, aiming to do everything differently than them, or some of both? The point is, it’s worth taking some time to be clear about what type of partner and parent you’re aiming to be, where these ideas came from, and perhaps most importantly, consider if these ideas are realistic. Unrealistic expectations for yourself can leave you feeling like a “bad” or “absent” parent or partner.
3) Look at the big picture
In the grand scheme of things, your kids will likely not remember the fact that you forgot to include their favorite snack in their lunch yesterday. Likewise, your wife will probably not remember that you were ten minutes late home last week. However, your kids and partner will remember the things that mattered and these should be your priorities as a parent and partner. For example, if you know that your child has an upcoming footy game or ballet concert that he or she is really excited about, make it a point to attend. If you know your partner has a big presentation at work this week, take a moment out of your day to send him or her some words of encouragement. These are the things that will count in the end!
4) Let go of guilt
This may seem simple, but many of us find it hard to let go of the guilt we have about not always being there for our partner or kids. However, carrying around guilt only gets in your way of being the best parent and partner that you can be. So do yourself, your partner, and your kids a favour and excuse yourself from this burden. Chances are, if you’re reading this article in the first place you’re already a great partner and parent!
5) Let go of worry
Similar to guilt, worry stands in our way of being our best selves. If that worry tricks us into thinking we’re doing something useful (because we’re thinking about the situation we’re worried about) worry is usually pointless. The next time you find yourself worried about if you upset your partner or your child by forgetting something important to them, or not being there when you said you would be, either do something about it (e.g., ask them how they feel) or if there’s nothing you can do, simply let it go and focus on moving forward.
6) Maintain healthy boundaries
Boundaries can be easy to overlook but developing healthy ones can be one of the most important things you can do to help balance your roles as a partner and parent. For example, lack of boundaries leads to allowing your kids to interrupt time with your partner or vice versa, and decreased satisfaction for everyone involved. On the other hand, healthy boundaries involves having focussed time (like time devoted to only your partner, only your kids, or the whole family together) during which you don’t allow others to interrupt. Sync your calendars for a regular “date” with your partner and protect that time!
7) Focus on teamwork
If you’re going to find a healthy balance between partnering and parenting, it’s vital that you and your partner are on the same page and working as a team. This means agreeing about what kind of parents and partners you want to be and constantly supporting each other in those efforts. Hold regular discipline discussions in private then remember to back your partner in the parenting decisions. Show appreciation for his or her daily efforts. Simple words can go a long way!
8) Model healthy behaviours
Remember that what your kids learn from what they see you do. This will always matter more than what you say. Show your kids the value of having life balance and prioritizing relationships by modeling this in your actions. Contrary to popular belief, they actually can benefit from seeing you put your relationship with your partner first at times.
9) Communicate with everyone…including yourself!
Never forget the value of open, honest communication. First, remember to tap into your own feelings and needs by taking some time each day for a self check-in. Second, check in with your partner and kids as well and be sure to communicate with them. Don’t assume that they know what you think, feel, or need, and never assume these things for them. Healthy communication leads to more balance and harmony for everyone!
10) Romance and Intimacy is paramount
Remember your first date? Why not recreate those early days with something reminiscent? Maybe something completely different to surprise your partner? No family close by? Reach out to friends to help facilitate these tips if its either for time out on your own, a talk or for babysitting. It's ok to ask for help as parenting and partnering isn't always easy but definitely achievable.
Joanne will be your Confidante, enabling you to speak freely in complete confidence and serenity. An integrated approach tailored to your specific needs will be utilised.