Our First Year of Parenthood
“Partners need to communicate and strategize together, join forces by thought sharing, processing feelings, and considering options," says Mayra Mendez, PhD,
•Meet Frank• The biggest supporter of my Well Nested RI mission, husband, best friend, and comedian. He keeps me entertained (but still drives me crazy), continues to give me butterflies and is the only reason I look forward to growing old.
When I think back to when we became parents 11 years ago I cannot help but laugh....We had no clue how to navigate parenthood! Our growth as Individuals, partners and parents is one i’m most proud of. We thought all we needed was love...which unmistakably is a key ingredient in the mix of a healthy partnership but there was so much more that we needed to make is just right.
Communication, teamwork, patience and trust played a huge key factor in our success. Small day to day changes were made and were positively built on and encouraged. I also do not want to sugarcoat anything and be very transparent to all that are reading, it was hard, tears of frustration were shed but we worked on it consistently every day because we loved each other.
•I started saying YES. “Yes I need your help with giving the baby a bath”. “Yes you will do the next 3am feeding (and I will make sure you wake up for it this time!)”. There were many moments I chose to take on more so I could relieve my partners anxiety with the associated task on hand which did us no good. I thought I was doing great things by “taking one for the team” but I wasn’t teaching or allowing him to grow and navigate the situation or task himself.
•Frank and I learned how to work together as a TEAM. Like they say there is no “I” in team. It wasn’t about him or I it was about US. Our family. There was a significant shift in our relationship during our sons first year, the importance of the word US was profoundly defined and we eliminated any distractions or people that didn’t respect its importance.
•Communication, honesty and patience all go hand in hand. Patience when learning all the new tasks that come along with your new baby, honesty about how that makes you feel and effective communication. A PRO tip- Respond instead of react (Honestly, I still work on this!). Collect your thoughts and think before you speak. Ask yourself- is what I’m about to say going to help the situation or make it grow? Be gentle with your words and allow your partner some grace. They have never been a mom or dad up until this moment. This is a lifestyle that comes with new emotions, identities and perspectives.
A healthy marriage is not when the 'perfect couple' comes together. It is when an imperfect couple learns to enjoy their differences.——- Let that settle in.
What healthy changes did you and your partner make your first year of parenthood? Where do you see the most growth within yourself? What are you most proud of?