Balancing the roles of parent and partner is a dance many couples find challenging…OK, we’re not going to sugar coat it - it’s tough AF.
The responsibilities of having young kiddos often pushes romantic relationships to the back burner.
Yet, amid the chaos (and hopefully some laughter) of family life, it's crucial to remember that the relationship with your partner needs nourishment too. It kind of is your first child…
Emily, my We are Amma co-founder (and work wife), always says “the grass is greenest where you water it” and I know she’s right!
So here are five practices that I am testing to have the deep, loving, and connected partnership I desire with my partner. And whether you’re in the throes of parenting or just looking to deepen your bond it’s worth a try…
Intentional Quality Time
While parenting often means a shared schedule filled with family activities, it's vital to carve out time just for the two of you - I started off with a mere 5 minutes and it’s helping a lot!
Practice: Schedule regular date nights - start small. This could be a movie night after the kids are in bed, a quiet dinner, or even just a walk around the block. The goal is to focus on each other without distractions.
Transparent communication forms the backbone of any strong relationship. It’s the medium through which you understand, support, and grow with each other.
Practice: Set aside some time every day, even if it's just 5 minutes, to check in. Discuss your day, your feelings, or any concerns. Listen actively, without the intention to solve but to understand.
Pro-move: My husband now asks, “Do you want to be heard, helped or hugged?” - I love this so much!
PS: Make sure you are both in the right mental and emotional space to have open communication! If for some reason you feel like you can’t hold what your partner has to share, ask for some time to ground yourself, breathe, and come back to yourself. And if needed, reschedule. If one (or both) partners can’t fully show up, a conversation will be more harmful than helpful.
Shared Responsibilities and Joys
This part has two sides to it. The key to feeling balanced in your partnership in parenting is to get very clear on who tackles what responsibilities, in a way that makes the most sense to your specific family and household. This way you both know what to expect and it offers structure to lean on. If anything is out of balance but unspoken, it can create resentment, which we don’t want! (see above for open communication) Once that part feels balanced for all involved, tackling responsibilities and joys together also fosters a sense of partnership and team mentality.
Practice: Engage in tasks together, whether it's household chores, parenting responsibilities, or planning family activities. Celebrate small victories together, be it a child's achievement or a personal milestone. It’s sooo easy to “divide and conquer”, I do it all the time as it’s the most efficient way, but sometimes what we need is connection and not efficiency.
Here’s something that I tried - I randomly join my husband for morning school drop offs…a small act, but has definitely fostered spontaneity and connection. Plus, we got in some quality connecting time once the kids were dropped off at school.
Physical touch, from a gentle hug to holding hands to kissing and beyond releases oxytocin, known as the "love hormone." This reinforces bonding and emotional intimacy.
Practice: Make it a habit to hug, kiss, or simply touch each other every day. It could be a morning cuddle or a brief handhold while watching TV. These small gestures go a long way.
My husband and I get up at different times, so when we see each other in the kitchen in the mornings we are hugging (in front of the kids) for a long moment. It’s a great way to start the morning, plus the kids get to witness the beauty and safety of affection and intimacy.
Personal Growth and Support
Encouraging each other's individuality and personal growth not only strengthens self-worth but also adds depth to your relationship. Once you have found your healthy balance in the above practices, it becomes so much easier to authentically lift each other up and celebrate each other's achievements and joys.
Practice: Understand and support each other's personal goals and passions. This could mean giving your partner a few hours off parenting duties to pursue a hobby or simply acknowledging their achievements and growth. I am realizing that the more me and my husband grow and change - the more we fall deeper in love with the new people we are becoming.
By investing time in each other, communicating openly, sharing responsibilities and joys, maintaining physical closeness, and promoting personal growth, you fortify your bond for the long haul. After all, a thriving partnership provides a nurturing backdrop for both the couple and the children.
So much love mama.
Satya Twena | We Are Amma CEO and Mom of 3