Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

Is it just me, or do you sometimes want to cackle maniacally when people stop you as you’re out with your baby, toddler, or preschooler (lugging all their stuff, catering to their every whim) to say, “Oh savor these early years…they go by so fast!”

“Really? Do they really go by so fast?” I want to reply, a bit too loudly. “DO THEY?” Because sometimes (a lot of the time) these early years actually seem to go painfully–nay, excruciatingly–slow. If that warp-speed thing that strangers on the sidewalk seem to believe is ever going to kick in, I wish it would start already.

Don’t get me wrong. I adore my children. I have chosen to structure my life in order to spend a great deal of time with them and I enjoy it, mostly. And sure, there are moments when I look at my almost-five year old and can’t believe how big she’s become. But I don’t imagine I will ever describe the last five years of my life as “going so fast.” No, I would say I have been aware of every single day of it and not one of those days has raced past me.

Maybe it will seem different when I’m older and farther along in this parenting venture (as the comment-makers often are), and I’m looking back on these early years with my kids. I can imagine how by the time my children are in their twenties or thirties (let’s not even talk about how old I will be by then), I will miss them fiercely, feel sentimental about their youth, and these first few years will seem like a blink of an eye. But today? Today when I am changing diapers, solving irrational disputes, driving here and there, rescuing lost Polly Pockets from the toilet, listening to Raffi, tripping over all the stepstools, struggling to answer esoteric questions, and cutting the ten-thousandth crust off the ten-thousandth sandwich? Today it seems many things: hard, rewarding, frustrating, exhausting, exhilarating, eye-opening, hilarious, painful, glorious, heart-wrenching, messy.

But fast? Not so much.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Sunday, as all the world knows, was the US-Canada gold medal hockey game. My husband is Canadian and a diehard hockey fan, as all true Canadians are. He’s also a super-involved dad and our Sundays are usually family time, but come on. I sent him to a bar where he could watch the game without kids climbing on him, asking for this and that, or loudly requesting that he change the channel to Dragon Tales. And I did it happily (well, mostly), knowing my turn will be next.

We all tell our kids to do it, but first-time parents can be really, really bad at taking turns–and by this I mean handing off the baby now and again in order to have some kid-free time without guilt. Maybe it’s hormonal, maybe it’s primal, but brand-new parents can feel an inherent need to be present in their baby’s life every possible moment (okay, maybe this is more common in moms). After all, what if her first giggle is the day you stay home from the park? What if he needs you while you’re getting your hair cut? And isn’t it selfish to read a magazine on the couch while your partner does the bedtime routine? Of course, besides your own feelings on letting go, the other issue is your partner, and whether you feel supported in your time away. Taking turns doesn’t work if you feel you have to watch the clock and/or grovel to prevent a looming relationship meltdown when you return to parenting duty.

Repeat after us: TAKE TURNS. Second-time parents have learned that the best thing about having only one child is that you and your partner get to do this. If you choose to have another baby, it will be a 1:1 parent-child ratio (or you’ll be outnumbered by your kids!) from that moment on. Embrace your chance now to enjoy the guilt-free handoff. Learn this lesson early, in babyhood, and you’ll find your way to a healthier family balance going forward.

Tell us:

How have you and your partner learned take turns?

Have any relationship issues arisen from taking time away from the baby or kids?

Read Full Post »

Whether you have one child or five, tell us…what would you do differently during the first year with your baby, if you could have a do-over?

Read Full Post »

At some point in your life, there was probably someone who you loved dearly but wanted to change. Then you probably had a realization that while you might be able to influence or alter certain behaviors, you simply can’t change who a person is. No matter how long that took to sink in, the result was a big life lesson learned, right? Time to do it again, new parents. The biggest parenting eye-opener for me, so far, is that a baby is an individual from the get-go—and will quite likely have a different temperament, emotional makeup, and way of looking at the world (and certainly a different body clock) than you. Linking yourself inextricably to this little stranger is part of the wonder, mystery, personal growth, and sometimes crushing frustration of parenting. With two very different kids underfoot, I’m still reminding myself to ride out the phases, open my mind, and adjust my own expectations (or our family’s schedule) instead of trying in vain to change my child. In other words, she is who she is, not who I might’ve pictured her to be, and growing to know her, accept her, and celebrate her is at the heart of the beauty and wonder of any real relationship.

I don’t expect I will ever be perfect at this. I often hear myself say (out loud or in my head), “Why can’t you be more like…”. But on good days, I can feel myself starting to internalize the essential truth: that I want my kids to be the best Piper and the best Molly they can be, and not anything—or anyone—else.

Read Full Post »

If your household includes one person who works more hours outside the home and one who is the primary caregiver, you’ve likely had this exchange (either out loud or in your head): “Easy for you to say, you get to go to work! You get to have coffee breaks and go to the bathroom! You get to talk to adults!” or, on the other side of the coin, “You get to have quality time with our child! You’re at the park instead of on a terrible commute! You don’t have the stress of earning the main income!” Ah, how the grass is always greener on the other side of the parenting fence. One of you, especially at certain frustrated moments, envisions office life as all sunshine and butterflies (easily forgetting all those terrible meetings, pressing deadlines, and unappreciative bosses), while the other person can’t figure out why dinner isn’t ready and the toys aren’t picked up after all those hours of “fun” staying at home with baby. The underlying question in all these conversations seems to be: Who’s working harder here?

In our book, it’s what we call the Unwinnable Argument. You simply can’t compare, and it’s not fair to think either party has it easy. If you are feeling resentful or put out—whether you work full-time, work part-time, or are a full-time parent—talk about it. Explain how things feel to you, and then listen to your partner. Dig deep and find ways to say thank you for what your partner is doing on a daily basis…even if you secretly believe it’s not as much as what you’re doing. Remember you are in this together. Do not become one of those couples who make pointed jabs at one another, trying to prove how much tougher you have it to anyone within earshot.

Tell us: Do you and your partner argue about who is working harder? If only one of you works full-time, do you each feel resentful at times about what the other one “gets” to do? How do you handle this?

Read Full Post »

Egg-shaped cribs. Thousand-dollar jogging strollers. Fancy gliders that proved uncomfortable. Deluxe baby carriers you hated. Themed nurseries. Clothes from France. That electronic swing that scared the baby. And on and on.

Don’t let the newbies out there make the same expensive mistakes! Share your valuable advice by answering these two burning questions:

1. What’s the biggest money-waster you purchased as a new parent?

2. What’s the one thing you couldn’t have lived without?

Read Full Post »

As anyone who has had a baby knows, everything about labor and delivery you planned for, imagined, or discussed with your doctor can go completely out the window—and probably will. Think of it as step one in the cosmic joke at your expense that parenting often seems to be. Was your birth plan useful? Or in hindsight, was it just a way to make you feel in control of what is likely the world’s most uncontrollable situation? If you have two or more kids, did you even bother with a birth plan the second time around? If so, how did your birth plan (and expectations about the experience) evolve?

Birth Plan: Oxymoron?

As anyone who has had a baby knows, everything about labor and delivery you planned for, imagined, or discussed with your doctor can go completely out the window—and probably will. Think of it as step one in the cosmic joke at your expense that parenting often seems to be. Was your birth plan useful? Or in hindsight, was it just a way to make you feel in control of what is likely the world’s most uncontrollable situation? If you have two or more kids, did you even bother with a birth plan the second time around? If so, how did your birth plan (and expectations about the experience) evolve?

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »