Parenting Advice for Parenting Without Losing Your Mind… Or Your Marriage

Parenting Advice: The Greatest Adventure of All

There is a lot of parenting advice out there. As a marriage counselor and parenting coach, I know that the adventure of starting a family takes a toll on both mind and marriage. Nothing can quite prepare you for the realities of parenthood. As joyful and meaningful as this stage of life is, being a parent can be very difficult. Life with babies and small children is, for most couples, a total shock to the system. If you aren’t thoughtful and intentional about what you’re doing, parenthood can take a huge toll on your marriage.

As a Denver marriage counselor, I’m always thrilled when smart, proactive couples show up for premarital counseling. My only wish is that more would show up for “pre-baby counseling.” Because having a baby is a much bigger deal, emotionally and relationally, than getting hitched. Unfortunately, there is no such thing. 

Parenting Advice for Your Mind and Marriage

Do a quick google search, and the only thing you find about “preparing for a baby” has to do with fitness, nutrition, and the ocean of baby-gear that you could acquire. Not the emotional, relational, and structural changes that all family systems go through as they renegotiate their relationship, their roles, and adjust to life with kids.

Having kids changes everything, but it’s hard to imagine what those changes will be until you actually do it. Most couples experience challenges that never occurred to them were even possible, while they were spending leisurely days shopping for baby furniture and talking about how much fun family fishing trips will be. (Or were consumed with riding the rollercoaster of protracted infertility.)

But from the first day that little bundle is home, that couple is instantly faced with needing to make major changes around everything from the way they communicate, to expectations about what should be happening, to a higher need for teamwork, to establishing new systems, so everything runs smoothly, to what role they each take with each other and as parents. Sprinkle in some anxiety, postpartum depression, sleep deprivation, no game plan, a screaming baby, and it can get tense pretty fast.

It’s a major life transition and a lot to deal with. And if you just let it go, and hope for the best, it’s quite possible to become a statistical average and you may not enjoy the experience that much. Research on marital satisfaction over the family life cycle has shown that there is a trend towards lower enjoyment of married life after having kids.

Here’s the depressing graph:

denver marriage counseling family therapy Marital satisfaction and family life cycle

Real Parenting Advice: Parenting Together SHOULD Be Joyful

But that graph does not have to be YOUR reality. You are not a statistical average. You are a person with free will, and choices, and you’re already taking control over the situation by educating yourself. You get to be in charge of your life, and your family experience.

I’m here as a wife, mom, and marriage and family therapist with some simple parenting advice; life with kids doesn’t have to be difficult, and it does not need to impact your marriage negatively. In fact, if you put even half as much time into figuring out your post-baby game plan (and your own personal growth opportunities) as you do into childbirth preparation classes, you can avoid many of the most common pitfalls of new parents.

Even if you are well into your child bearing years, making some simple changes in the way you communicate and the way you do things can have a hugely positive impact. There are tried and true ways of approaching parenthood that help you keep your sanity and also set healthy boundaries around your marriage.

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On this edition of the Love, Happiness and Success podcast, I’m going to be sharing my top parenting advice tips about where to start if you want to have a more peaceful home, a strong marriage, great communication, easier kids, be on the same page with your partner, and have a shared vision for your family that is rooted in your core values.

All the best,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

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Parenting Advice for Parenting Without Losing Your Mind… Or Your Marriage

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