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Posts Tagged ‘Relationships’

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?

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For writers, it’s the oldest advice in the book: write about what you know. It’s something I’ve always done, writing books about relationships, the joy of cocktails, and even Canada (with my Canadian husband, Rob Sorensen). But now it’s evolved even further. One could say our work and home life have truly morphed into one: Rob and I both work at home, and we are co-parents of young children and co-authors of a new parenting book, How to Have Your Second Child First: 100 Things That Would Be Good to Know—the First Time Around.

With two daughters age four and two, our upcoming book, and the idea behind it, is very close to home. It evolved because how we parent our second child versus our first is something we seem to talk about endlessly with our friends who are in the same boat, and with each other after the kids are in bed. We are continually fascinated in the differences between our two girls, and the different ways we approach what comes our way each day. We laugh at how we used to run all the way upstairs to change a diaper because that’s where the changing table was (needless to say, our second child is used to being changed on whatever surface is handy) or how we worried about every snuffling sound that came from the crib. With experience, of course, comes some level of calm—and greater efficiency quickly becomes necessary with two or more children. But what if we could help advise first-time parents about tips and tricks that we learned the hard way? And what if we could start a dialogue where novice and seasoned parents could share information, advice, and support?

In this blog we’d like to act as moderators, helping both seasoned and novice parents share their thoughts, fears, successes, and disasters. Experienced moms and dads, we invite you to share your lessons learned, shortcuts devised, products you came to love (or hate), and parenting or relationship challenges that continue to plague you—as well as ones you no longer lose sleep over, and why. New or expecting parents, use this blog as a way to eavesdrop on, and ask frank questions of, parents who have been around the block. You know how parents with two or three kids always seem so together, when you are first feeling your way in the world with a baby? How do they do it, when just one child seems so overwhelming? Here’s a place to benefit from all their advice, and pose specific queries and comments, too…with none of the repercussions that might filter into the same conversations had with family members.

Directly or indirectly, every day we learn something new as parents, even if it’s just about ourselves. We encourage you to please share your thoughts, opinions, advice, and questions…and please pass this on to all your friends so they can join the conversation too.

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