How to work out a win-win approach to parenting with your partner:
Expect to be overwhelmed. Actively parenting takes up to 100 hours a week. Anyone would be exhausted by that.
Discuss your ideas about parenthood before the baby is born. What are your hopes and expectations? How would you like to share roles and responsibilities? It’s best if you are in general agreement about these things in advance.
Once the baby is born, share the workload as much as you can, especially when it comes to night feeds. If possible, follow a night-on, night-off approach. If this isn’t possible, the partner who gets to sleep should try to pick up the slack elsewhere, by cooking or doing the washing.
Befriend your in-laws. Having a granny or grandad who is willing to babysit so that you can enjoy a night out together is worth its weight in gold.
Take some time by yourself too. Go for a walk. Take a bath. Read a book. Feeling good about yourself means you will have more energy to devote to your relationship.
Don’t assume that intimacy means full penetrative sex and nothing less. Closeness is what’s important at this time and a gentle kiss, a relaxing back rub or a shared bath can work wonders on reestablishing your bond as a couple.
Honest communication is important. Take time every day or at least every week to touch base and to see what’s happening in each other’s lives.
Try to bear in mind that you’re both on a learning curve. Neither of you has done this before and you’re both learning on the job, under very stressful circumstances. Try to support each other along the way.
Do not be afraid to ask for help if you’re struggling. Even one or two sessions of professional counselling can help to bring you closer and make you stronger as a parenting team.