I once heard a quote that went something along the lines of: “communication in a relationship is the most important thing, because without it, you are just two people” and there is even more truth to this when those people become parents. Two people can grab a drink after work, two people can binge their favorite show on a Thursday night, but two parents have to tackle the world and all of its challenges together.
You have heard the phrase before that motherhood (parenthood) is a journey, there are ups and there are downs. There will be times you and your partner completely agree on how to tackle a specific parenting obstacle, and there will be times you have different opinions on what to do. The differences and challenges aren’t what matters – what matters is that you and your partner communicate in a healthy way.
Understand There is a Time and Place
Every stage of parenthood brings with it new discussions for you and your partner. There will always be something you two need to talk about, whether it be sleep training, gentle parenting, timeouts, you name it. Understand though, that there is a time and place for these discussions.
When at a summer BBQ with family and friends might not be the time to get into that heated discussion you started in the car, about whether or not it is time to transition your little one out of the crib. Understanding there is a time and place for certain conversations can save you some of that tension or frustration that surrounds specific topics.
There is also a time and place for a short response back to a partner vs. a full conversation. For example, while at a birthday party or holiday get together, if something pops up that you want to talk about with your partner, but know now is not the time, you can always say “we can discuss this further at home” and simply leave it at that. There are times for meaningful, positive conversations and there are times where these aren’t most appropriate.
If you are in a public place with your partner and need to discuss something immediately, find a quiet room or area to talk together. Again, allowing the time for just you two to talk will eliminate any added opinions or tension from those around you.
Your Partner Deserves Your Undivided Attention
There are some conversations that can be had while cooking dinner and kissing boo-boo’s, Mamas can multi-task for a reason you know! However, there are important discussions that need to happen with complete undivided attention. When you and your partner have something important to discuss, put the phones and distractions away.
If you are discussing whether to make tacos or chicken for dinner tonight, that is a conversation that most likely can be had in the midst of your normal chaos. If you want to discuss how to handle these new tantrums your little one is throwing, that is important and requires complete focus from you both. Those important conversations that require undivided attention might be best at night when the kids go to bed.
For Certain Conversations – When It’s Over, It’s Over
Essentially, don’t live in the past. If you and your partner had a discussion, and maybe emotions were high at the time, but eventually you reached a solution – leave it there. Unless it is absolutely necessary or relevant to this conversation today, don’t bring up previous conversations simply to ‘make a point’ or get a rise out of your partner. There is also a quote out there that says something like “The best relationship is where yesterday’s fight does not stop today’s communication.” Fights and arguments happen in a partnership, don’t let those moments of the past affect today’s important discussions and communication.
Sure, some conversations may need to be repeated often, like how now to handle your toddler throwing their food on the floor or if your feelings changed now that potty training is here and no longer months down the line. In a relationship, constant communication is essential. However, understand when certain topics or hot button issues don’t need to be discussed again.
Certain discussions between you and your partner may create some big emotions. Your feelings (and your partners!) are always valid. Your feelings should be accepted and respected. Parenting is hard and you have your partner by your side to navigate through it all. As you venture together down this ever-winding road of parenthood, remember to keep your communication and conversations positive, healthy and productive.