Back to Basics

 2011-06-08

My main reason for starting this blog was to help educate and inform new mothers (and fathers) on the REALITY of what to expect the first year...especially for the families where both parents work.  As I navigated through my first year, I realized that there was just some stuff no one talked about.  Perhaps its the 'school of hard knocks' mentality, perhaps the acclimation period is so short that everyone forgets, or it could just be that those that have experienced it feel it's just best for you to experience on your own...whatever the case, I knew that I wanted to share my experiences and hope that SOMEONE out there could learn from my (our) experience.

The Hubby and I have been together for just about 15 years now (gasp, oh...my....goodness).  Yep, we were high-school sweethearts.  We did everything just about the opposite of the norm.  We had a long distance relationship while he started working and I was finishing up school.  We lived together before marriage, and actually planned our wedding before getting engaged.  To top it off, we opted for a non-traditional wedding...a wedding on the beach in Maui and to this day, I would not trade it for the world (nor do I feel that I've missed out on anything).

Signing Marriage License with Rev. Valentine
As we progressed through our first year as parents, we had our ups and downs.  And the majority of the downs were due to one simple problem - miscommunication.  Simple. Stubborn. Miscommunication.  (And more blog posts to come on that!)

Our plates were full. We both had careers requiring us to work 40+ hours a week.  We were trying to figure out the optimum schedule for daycare - who would do pick-up? who would do drop off? how many hours a day would he be there?  When we got home, we were focused on feeding Roland dinner, playing with him and putting him to bed.  Once he was in bed, it was time to eat dinner, empty the dishwasher, prepare his food for the next day, tidy up a bit...and by that time, you're exhausted...ready for bed.

We did what most couples do, and that is to shift your focus and priority from your partner to the new addition...the little bambino.

We navigated through the down times and in a place and time where a lot of relationships can go wrong, we managed to come out stronger than ever.  What did we learn?  Well, you have to work at the relationship...it doesn't just sustain itself (no, not even after 15 years).

  1. Talk! Make sure you have the crucial conversations - no matter how difficult it may be.  And have those conversations BEFORE things start to pile up.  If something is bothering you, sit down and clearly explain what it is, why it is bothering you and how you would like to fix it.  Then...listen to him and make a commitment to resolve the issue together.  
  2. Date Nights! Acknowledge that there will be some changes with a new addition.  Find a few key babysitters and make the time to schedule some 'date nights.'  We went to a Steven Starr restaurant, attended an Eagles game (although we are die-hard Steeler fans)  and our first-ever hockey game!
  3. Cuddle! Realize that not everything has to get done...it's okay to spend an evening cuddling on the couch! 
  4. Be a TEAM! But most importantly, realize that you are a TEAM! It's not one versus the other...not "I did the laundry tonight" or "I prepared the day care food".  It's not you versus him, you are a team.  

As I indicated in an earlier post, we are pretty adventurous when it comes vacationing and are usually on the go from sun-rise to the wee hours of the morning.  We often laughed at needing a vacation when we returned home from vacation.  This trip was COMPLETELY different...and quite nice, I might add!  We didn't do much...in fact, we took a 2-3 hour nap every day and were in bed by 10:30 every night (except for that one karaoke night!)  It was nice to do nothing for once...no daycare meals to prepare, no work, just relaxation!

Leaving the Port of St. Lucia

I am so thankful to my Mama for watching little Roland and so glad that we decided to make time for ourselves!   Now...on to planning the family vacation!

I'm interested to hear how others navigated through the first year! Please share! 

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