In the back of my mind, I knew most everything would change after Kaiden was born. I was right. And I’m happy to report most of the changes are positive. What I wasn’t so sure about was my relationship with Vishnu. I knew we’d be absolutely fine, but I was convinced it would be a ‘rocky’ fine. The kind of fine where you can feel the tension in the air. Mainly because it would be one of the best AND most stress filled time in our life…especially early on.
Wellllllll…at two months out [of the womb…hehe], there is no looming tension and zero rockiness. Instead, there’s lots of laughter, love, and compassion.
Before I share how Vishnu and I go most days without wanting to strangle each other, let’s rewind a little bit.
I’ve always been open about my relationship and marriage. It’s not perfect by any means, but we work super hard to keep the fire roaring if you will. I could not be prouder of where we stand today, BUT that wasn’t the case throughout my pregnancy….
…because Vishnu and I got on each other’s nerves a lot. Any little thing would trigger me, which would trigger him, which led to unnecessary bickering and sometimes arguing. The last few weeks were particularly tough. Looking back, I think we both knew our lives were about to change forever, and the pressure of that kind of took over. On top of that, I was super duper uncomfortable, Vishnu’s schedule, while not terrible, wasn’t the greatest, and we weren’t logistically ready for the baby. In fact, we went to Ikea the weekend before Kaiden was born and bought a ton of stuff that was delivered the week I came home from the hospital. Not ideal but we made it work!
The turning point in our relationship happened the minute Kaiden was born. All of a sudden we went from being on separate pages to being on the same team and playing the game pretty darn well. How did this happen? I wish I could tell you, but it was like a switch went off in both of our heads. Kaiden needed us to be a united front, not to mention we wanted to be as well, and so we were.
I will say….it’s easy to be united at the hospital. You literally just shared a life changing event and everything’s so new. And in the craziness of it all, you really have no choice.
The true test comes when you bring your baby home. This is when s*** gets real.
While our experience hasn’t been 100% free of arguments or bickering, Vishnu and I have truly grown as a couple of the past couple of months. In fact, I was just telling him the other day that I appreciate him 10x more now than I ever have in our relationship (and that’s saying a lot because I’ve always appreciated him). And when we do argue/bicker, we’re able to bounce back a lot quicker than in the past.
I attribute this to a few different things. A few lessons we’ve learned along the way…
- Always operate under the assumption that you’re on the same team. The best kind of assumption because it puts things in a positive perspective. Kind of like a ‘when you’re good, I’m good’ kind of mentality.
- Learn how to communicate as parents. You’re going to be under a lot of sleepless stress. It’ll take some work, but figure out what communication strategy works for you two, use it, and adjust as you go. Vishnu and I use gentle reminders whenever we feel the other person is out of line. So far so good. Also, keep the positive reinforcement going. I tell Vishnu how much I appreciate him every day, and I can tell it makes his day!
- Learn to listen…like really listen. For us this means listening to each other’s concerns, ideas, etc. when it comes to Kaiden. Sometimes I tend to operate under the “I know best” mentality. However, I’ve realized that Vishnu also knows best too. After all, he is Kaiden’s daddy!
- Don’t be afraid to ask your partner for help. This is one I’m still working on because the guilt is real, but I know I can’t/shouldn’t do it all on my own. I feel guilty because Vishnu works all day and takes on a very active role at home with Kaiden. Poor guy is exhausted. What’s helped me is realizing that by not asking for help/including him, he’d be missing out on key parenting moments. And neither one of us wants that.
- Make time for each other. Whether that’s having a conversation about your day or watching your favorite shows together (when you have time!) or holding hands while falling asleep at the end of the night, find a few minutes (or more!) for just the two of you. It’s hard when you really only have an hour or two to yourself, but for us, it’s key to staying connected and in sync. Making time for each other is also good for intimacy…in all forms.
- Lift each other up. Being a parent is hard. Like really hard. You’re constantly second guessing yourself, and sometimes you make mistakes. When this happens, it’s so nice when your partner looks at you and says, “It’s ok! Don’t be so hard on yourself.” For example, the other day, I was cutting Kaiden’s nails and accidentally caught a tiny part of his fingertip. Of course this led to many tears…both mine and his. Vishnu looked at me and said, “You’re not the first mom to do this. It’s ok and he’s ok.” You have no idea how much hearing that from him helped. It’s easy to criticize, but that’s not helpful and it’s certainly not nice. You’re both trying your best to do right by your baby, so base how you treat your partner with that in mind.
- Laugh…as much as you can! It’s so easy to take your new role super seriously. But what’s the fun in that?! Vishnu and I often (err..all the time) feel like we have no clue what we’re doing, and instead of freaking out about it, we do what we can, make it fun (for us and hopefully Kaiden!), and laugh every chance we get. Personally, I think it helps Kaiden just as much as it helps us. I’ve heard babies can sense the emotional climate around them and react accordingly.
Like I’ve said before, there’s no one else I’d want to be with on this journey. While not perfect, Vishnu’s a freaking amazing dad and husband. And I’m not half bad either. 🙂 But like everything else in life, we work super hard every step of the way, and at the end of the day, that’s what makes us a strong team. And when we stumble, we get right back up and keep on keeping on. For Kaiden and for us!