The fourth practice

The 5 go- to practices to be a happier and better parent:  

Yesterday I wrote about the third practice. Click here to read about it. There are five things you need to do everyday. YES you read correctly, every single day, to be a happier better parent - period. I will also tell you how to make it happen … (Everybody is different I know, but this actually works for everybody. YES! I am confident to tell you this). 

1. Exercise

2. Eat healthy

3. Play with your children

4. Invest in your relationship

5. Meditation, pray or quite time (wherever practice works for you)


4. Invest in your relationship: One day your children are going to growing up and go away. So what about you and your partner? It is easy to forget how to be together because your kids are so amazing or you are so worried about them. For women, it is very hard to make the switch to give to your partner because having a baby is very hard physically and emotionally. It is hard to carve our the space to give time to your relationship. Women also have a need to care and protect their babies and families. It is very hard to let go of everything that has to happen for a baby or child and trust your partner to get it right.

Men often feel tired and overworked. It is a shock to have every moment of every day full of doing things for other people and never for yourself. Men don’t feel connected to their partners because they are working and miss some of the things that happened during the day.

Learning how to spend time together again and investing in your relationship is fundamental to being a good parent. It feels like taking time away from your children, but really it is giving a great example to children what it takes to make a healthy relationship work. Marriage and relationships are hard. The little things matter.

How to do it: Ideas

First, let’s set the stage and put it out there that we are a fan club of the Gottman Institute (unofficial fanclub). John and Julie Gottman are ground breaking researchers. From their website: “Science! The Gottman Institute is the culmination of Drs. John and Julie Gottman’s life work as researchers and clinical psychologists.” Over 40 years of research!  

  • Sign up for the Marriage Minute from the Gottmans (free). In fact read everything you can from the Gottmans.

  • Download the free conversation cards from the Gottman Institute. Available in the itunes and Android app stores. Use the cards to get to know each other better.  

Our take on this:

  • Be open to finding new good times! The good news is you live together, so you do have the chance to connect. The bad news is that these connections/moments might not take the same form as before you had kids.

  • Get your “High School Dates” on. Remember what you used to do when you had no money?

    • Make a mixtape/playlist together.

    • Write notes to people you love to express your gratitude.

    • Get a jar of pennies and make wishes while you throw them into a “wishing well” (could just be a jug of water on the floor).

    • Charades!

    • If Mom is breastfeeding get a 6er of non-alcoholic beer and drink it together.

    • Art project.

    • Play “2 truths and a lie” or “Would you rather?”

    • Speech contest. Prepare an update for each other on a current event or something you care about.

    • Make some food together.

    • Have a two-person book club.     

  • Start small. Making an effort to connect to each other is done over lots of little interactions. Carve out a time where you can intentionally talk to each other on a daily basis.

  • Have a “Day of __________ (fill in the name of your partner). Let them plan the whole day and make their dreams come true! Maybe this means going to their kind of movie or just taking a nap. Having the power to choose a day of activities feels amazing. You don’t need to spend extra money though.

  • Squeeze the sponge. Work on those little things that drive each other crazy and try to remember them. While these things might never go away - making an effort really helps your relationship.

  • Talk to each other about the tone you want to have. Respect is so important in a relationship. Try to intentionally define a tone of respect in your speaking to each other.

  • Meet and greet. Make your reunions special when you see each other after being apart for the day. Just a hug and a kiss helps a lot!