May 29, 2012

Top 5 tips on co-parenting for new parents

(I wrote this for my www.firsttimemomanddad.com blog, but I think it is something I should prepare you for...)



It is no secret my husband and I have struggled the last four months with being new parents.  A friend told me "not even infidelity tests a marriage like being new parents." I believe that is so true, because I went from having a beautiful marriage, to one that was riddled with bickering, tears, and at times full on yelling.  Luckily, four months into being new parents I can honestly say we are back on the mend.

The following are my top five tips for new parents trying to find a happy balance of co-parenting.

  1. Communicate-

When I say communicate, screaming and yelling are not going to cut it, trust me!  No matter how mad or upset you are, you have got to keep your cool to talk through the issue, otherwise the issue will never get resolved.

I told my super wonderful sister in-law, who is a nurse in Australia, that I felt like an awful mother for screaming over Oliver.  She told me not only had she done a bit of screaming herself, every mother does at one point or another in the early days.  She promised her kids were fine, and Ollie would be too.  The hubs and I just needed to learn to use our library voices to discuss our issues and differences.

Communication is key in the early days to understanding each other’s ideas and methods for parenting, and calmly talking through the differences.


  1. Be Respectful-

I’m not sure why this one was so difficult for me since before baby I had so much respect and admiration for my very strong and talented husband. For some reason my inner know-it-all princess bitch took over my ability to listen and respectful of my husbands way of handling, changing, feeding, swaddling, bathing, oh hell name it, I stood over him and threw up my two cents every time I thought necessary.  I was a maniac.

My husband is a full hands on dad.  He wants to do everything he possibly can and lives to show me how well he can do it.  I just never gave him the time and respect in the early days to show me.  Had I given him space to do his thing, it would have saved tons of arguments and I would have realized he’s a great father straight away.  To this day only he can get Ollie to nap in his crib during the day, I have created the co-napping monster.

Being respectful of each other from the beginning will be so beneficial to your relationship, co-parenting rhythm and baby.  

3. Trust-

Oh my was this one another major hurdle for my control freak ass!  My husband, again very wise, strong and capable, but for some reason when it came to our son I was afraid to leave him alone for too long or trust him to follow the routine at night.  This was so damning to our relationship I cannot begin to tell you.  I hurt my husband’s feelings so many times by not showing him that I trusted him to do what was best.  Every time I would leave the house or let him do the something, I would give him a huge speech about how and when it should be done.  Ugh, writing that just made me throw up in my mouth a little with disgust.  My goodness, this baby is his too, how dare I dictate every single thing? 

Trusting your partner will not only create a great parenting foundation, It will also decrease your new parent anxiety by 98%, because now you have a partner you can trust to help and support you.


  1. Take turns-

This is by far my favorite tip. However, if you do not have tips 1-3 down, this is not going to work so well.  Taking turns is such a wonderful way for both parents to test out their own parenting methods, ideally without the other parent standing over them the whole time. 

My husband and I now take turns with diapers, play time, bath time and my all time favorite, getting up in the morning.  A friend of mine taught me to take turns getting up with the baby, especially on the weekends. This way both parents get to sleep in one day. 

Taking turns really helps to engage both parents and keep one parent from harboring animosity for being the constant caregiver.  My girlfriend told me that she snapped at her husband when she was tired and needed help.  He told her that she needed to ask him for help well before she got that annoyed.  I think we all get to this point eventually.  Taking turns will really help to alleviate that “main caregiver” animosity.


  1. Be patient

You both are new parents.  Raising a child is so far from easy, it’s scary! Neither one of you knows everything, nor the best way to do everything.  It is essential that a great team be patient with each other, and of course the ever changing needs of the baby.



Two confused parents=One amused baby Hopelessly we are trying raise a baby who is clearly smarter than both of us. April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com

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