THE BLOG

Practical Advice and Encouragement for New Parents

20/01/2016 11:01 GMT | Updated 19/01/2017 10:12 GMT

Baby space has its time and limits.

While it is natural for your darling or even yourself to be constantly obsessed with the baby, you want to spend some time together in a 'baby free' zone. When you do things you used to do together, just without talking about babies.

In the future that will help both of you to give your child its own (and much needed) space, and in the present and short term, it will keep reminding you why the two of you decided to be together in the first place.

Me time.

Both of you need 'me time'. Often when couples stay together for a while, their lives somewhat become as one. Yes, the 'Boring Couple Syndrome' isn't a myth. And while in the beginning it may seem romantic and appropriate, the truth is, with time each of you starts to lose that something unique that attracted you to each other in the first place. Boredom sets in and the grass... starts to look greener on the other side.

So no matter what your 'me time' is for each of you (a spa visit or a night out with friends), start planning your diaries now. Once a week is a bare minimum. Once your child is born, you'll take turns: who is the one babysitting and who is the one 'me timing '.

Learn to speak to each other.

This part is crucial. And especially if you think that you understand each other from afar and without any words. That is probably the single and the most silent killer of all amazing relationships I've witnessed. Don't leave anything half understood or unsaid. The reason behind this is that when you have just started dating you spend most of your time together and there are hardly any outward influences on your relationship, and so it is true that you can understand each other before even saying anything. Yet the longer you are in a relationship the more you fall back into your daily routine and other people's emotional influences, that you may bring home with you from work or elsewhere. And next time your partner thinks she knows what you are thinking (based on previous experiences), the reality is that he or she has no idea what is actually going through your head. And vice versa.

Next time, just use words to communicate.

Dad! You are the parent to your child.

Something that often is left unmentioned yet needs to be addressed from the moment you discover you are going to be a father.

You want to be absolutely clear, and firm if needed be, that you are also a parent, and that all decisions with regards to your child need to be taken together. It's best if you negotiate as soon as possible on what is absolutely important to you. For example, you may feel strongly about a school you want your child to go to, while your wife or partner may feel strongly about extracurricular activities. Try to find a middle ground, and remember that most arguments are not about your child but your memories of your own childhood and your opinion.

Do note, if your child is able to speak, make sure you negotiate your parenting disagreements without the child being present next to you; as that often leaves the child traumatized and feeling they are the reason for a fight between their parents.

Romantic time.

Although at certain times that could be the last thing you'd want to think about, remember, your child needs happy and healthy parents. And that involves you being romantically and sexually active with each other. Even at times you don't feel romantic, you can still spend some quiet time together and remind each other why you fell in love in the first place.

This is something many parents find challenging, especially if both are working and the family members are unable to help. And that is something you need to plan ahead. Build a circle of likeminded parents that will give you that opportunity to leave your child with them for a few hours, so that you can have your 'romantic time '. And do return the favour.

Often couples neglect the need to stay romantic and let their daily burdens take their attention away. And the more you give in, the further away you'll be pushed from each other.

To sustain a happy relationship requires a lot of nurturing, and at times it may seem like an extra effort. Yet that extra effort will keep you together for years to come and will help you to become that couple that is still happy to be together for a long time even after the offspring have flown the nest. Besides, the happier you two are, the more your offspring will want to keep coming back to you. Your love for each other is not only something that will keep the two of you together, it will keep your whole family together... for many, many years to come.