Google+ Authentic Parenting: Can Parenting and Partnering Go Hand in Hand

Friday, May 20, 2011

Can Parenting and Partnering Go Hand in Hand

Inspired by a discussion on Hybrid Rasta Mama's Facebook page

Image: Courtney Carmody
When I first got pregnant with my daughter, I immediately went to the bookstore to buy a pregnancy book. I found one that appealed to me, called "Pregnant Together" (it was a Dutch book). We were very much a connected couple, my husband and I, sharing most of our interests and spending every spare moment together. We were also deeply in love after having been together for 5 years already.
I started reading that book and with every page I turned I was more and more appalled. Basically, this was a book about how to keep your partner from cheating on you. It started from the premises that every relationship is deeply flawed, that men can't be trusted and that partnership is an illusion.
This book also believed that once the baby was born, you had to put your mothering on pause every so often, again to make sure that your partner doesn't cheat on you.

This was not the book for us.
My husband and I have been together for 8 years, married for 5. As natural parents, we believe that parenting is a lifelong journey, on that doesn't stop at night or in the weekend, or when the kids are asleep.
We haven't spent the lot of those 8 years on a pink cloud. We have had hard times. There have been doubts. Parenting sure changed the paradigms of our relationships and has us searching for new ways to enjoy each other. And yes, we have put our relationship on the back burner a little. We don't get to spend long weekends in luxurious hotels with nothing but each other, we don't get to play the Playstation for hours in a row. No more TV marathons and very few romantic candle light dinners.

But you can't put parenting on hold. Your child needs you every minute of the day, it is time consuming, especially when they are still tiny. They will need you less and less over the years.

Yes, relationships tend to be put a little in the fridge, or on thebackburner, but if you're relationship is strong, built on trust, love and friendship, then that isn't much of a problem. You'll be happy with the sparse moment you do have. That doesn't mean you don't have to create these moments and actively work on them, but that means that there is enough trust and understanding and enough mutual marvell in those kids, that it doesn't matter. You learn to enjoy each other through the kids, with the kids. Your relationship evolves to something new. You can't expect it to remain the same when there is an new human being in the mix. It has to change. Then one day when the kids get a bit older, the spark will be lit again, because it never fades.

I think a huge problem is that a lot of people who have kids don't have a strong relationship, that are together for lust or power or money or what not and then indeed, it can be a problem, a partner can start to feel neglected. So if a relationship dies because of children - in my opinion - it just wasn't meant to survive.


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4 comments:

  1. It also need "adults" in the relationship to survive! Then there are no feelings of neglect or needs felt not being met!
    We know we have to meet the needs of the baby/toddler/child NOW, but we are going to get time again to spend 24/7 with only each other...

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  2. Thank you for this post. I agree that a relationship changes with each new member who joins. The time when the kids are little is intense and you do have to give up a lot of the old ways for awhile, but you find news ways to stay connected. I wonder what people really believe marriage and parenting are before they begin because it is being able to face a lot of things within yourself that I think makes or breaks all of the relationships a person is in. Being willing to see your Self honestly and accepting with grace gets your through all the years together.

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  3. My hubs and I were just talking about this this morning. We have worked hard to have the relationship we have. We talk about how we miss being alone with each other (for more than 15 or 30 min :)) though we wouldn't change anything about how our life is now. Those 15 to 30 minutes are so valuable now, and quality has replaced quantity. I am in awe of how much I am still deeply in love with this man. Our parenting together has helped us *see* each other better, clearer, and our love continues to grow and mature :).

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  4. Thank you for this post. I've always bridled at the "make time to date" or "get this sexy teddy to keep things spicy" and the "kids make marriage SUCK" narratives. I've often thought, REALLY, here I am working my ass off for the home and kids and partner and I'm supposed to work even harder being sexier or being "dateable" etc (b/c finding good childcare regularly to go on that date, depending on one's resources, can be MORE work).

    My partner and father of my children is an amazing man. I don't care when the last time I had a date with him was, what matters to me is how deeply I love him and how much I want to stay a mated pair. That's me, though; his thoughts and feelings are his. One thing I dislike more than those "how to save your relationship" articles directed at women, are women who claim to speak for their partner. We've been together 13 years and married 10 and I learn more and more I shouldn't try to speak for him... understand him as best I can, love him as best I'm able. If he leaves, it's his loss. Mine too.

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