Sleepless Babies, Stressed Out Parents — 4 Tips For Keeping The Peace
If you and your partner are expecting or recently had a new baby, you’re certainly exhausted, and you’re probably also feeling stressed, and as we all know, stress tends to foster conflict. So what can you do to keep an even keel? Let these 4 simple strategies be your relationship lifeline when you’re both feeling tired and overwhelmed. Once you take a step back, you’ll be better able to take pleasure in your new baby and in the support at the heart of your relationship.
Take Time To Rest
The golden rule of raising an infant is “you sleep when the baby sleeps,” but any seasoned parent can tell you it isn’t that easy. Still, making sure you have time to rest and refresh is vital to surviving the first months with a new baby, and you and your partner can support each other in this effort.
Rather than trying to grab tiny slivers of sleep while your infant is napping, try distributing childcare so that you’re able to sleep for longer periods of time. Sleep deprivation will strain your marriage if you don’t find ways to get some rest, so while those solo childcare hours may feel lonely, their vital for the health of your relationship.
Say Yes To Help
One phrase new parents hear all the time from family and friends is, “let me know if there’s anything I can do to help,” but most parents fail to accept help when it’s offered. Be the exception. When a friend or relative offers assistance, give them something to do, such as:
- Pick up groceries
- Bring a meal
- Fold laundry
- Load and unload the dishwasher
- Take older children on an outing
- Walk the dog
The fact is, part of why new parents are so stressed is that they’re behind on chores and there’s always an endless list of additional tasks to be done. Even if the offers of help only last a few weeks, they’ll help you make the transition from new parents to old hands.
There’s No One Way
Parenting comes with a steep learning curve and faced with hundreds of sources of professional — and not-so-professional — advice, there’s a strong chance you and your partner will disagree about how certain things should be done. Sure, there are non-negotiables, such as the fact that babies need to put to sleep on their backs and they always need to be placed in rear-facing car seats, but in most cases, there’s more than one way to accomplish any task.
With that in mind, don’t fuss if your partner does things differently from how you would. Instead, express gratitude about how well you work together as co-parents. You’ll be facing this conflict for the rest of your child’s life (and older kids know how to manipulate differences in parenting style), so you might as well learn to present a united front now.
Most of us aren’t at our best when we’re sleep deprived and covered in spit-up, so make sure you place an emphasis on communication during the first few months of your baby’s life. Thank your partner regularly and make time to talk about topics other than the baby. Your lives are changing but it’s important that becoming parents expands your identity, rather than limiting it.
If you’re having a hard time keeping the lines of communication open after having a baby, Emi can help. Sign up for Emi’s daily relationship reminder texts for suggestions on how to foster your relationship in under a minute per day. With a new baby in the house, you may be feeling overbooked, but everyone has a minute to make their relationship stronger.