You’ve been with your husband for 5 years, you’ve got a great relationship, you communicate well and everything is great. You feel as if you can take on the world! Then you have a baby… All of a sudden there is sleep deprivation, and having to learn a million new things about raising a baby. Things start to shift and become not so great anymore.
You start feeling like you’re doing everything and he isn’t doing anything. And if he does something, it’s not done the way you want it to be done, so you just end up doing it yourself and continue building up that wall of resentment. Why must it be like this?
My guest today, Catherine O’Brien talks about the silent killer of relationships and she shares the surprisingly simple way in which you can encourage and create the love you want to have in your relationship.
Meet Catherine O’Brien
Catherine O’Brien is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and the founder of HappyWithBaby.com and author of Happy With Baby: Essential Relationship Advice When Partners Become Parents
She knows what it’s like to be overwhelmed, out of energy, and out of ideas as a new parent. She created Happy With Baby in order for new and expecting parents to discover the advice she wishes she could have had when managing expectations of parenthood and relationships.
She currently lives in Sacramento, California, where she enjoys paddle boarding and rowing with her husband and two kids.
In This Podcast
- What to keep an eye on in your relationship
- You really do not have to do it all
- Three questions to ask yourself and your partner daily
What to keep an eye on in your relationship
I think the killer is the buildup of resentment about what is happening … it comes on both sides and we’re not having this conversation about this resentment that is building because we’re not spending any time talking about anything. (Catherine O’Brien)
It can be easy to forget that your relationship is teamwork, and you and your partner should not (ideally) be pitting against one another as a way to vent your frustrations.
If you are the one who often has the baby and you feel overwhelmed or resentful that they do not help you; when they do, you need to let it happen without micromanaging.
You need to let them spend time, let them figure it out. They will have their own rhythm [with the baby] … so let them figure out their way without us over their shoulder … because the baby will cry, [remember] that the baby cried with you in the beginning too, so let them figure it out and have their way and they’ll feel better and more competent and want to do it because they won’t feel like you’re telling them how to do it all the time, and you’ll both be much happier. (Catherine O’Brien)
When you allow your partner in and let them learn, you will both feel happier in the end. It may take some time, and there will be a few struggles at most, but it is important that you learn how to let go and that they learn how to come in: this teamwork is what remedies the resentment.
Resentment is that list of things that you’re keeping score about … it piles up and becomes [a] wall that keeps you from connecting or even seeing your partner for what they’re giving or doing. (Catherine O’Brien)
You really do not have to do it all
You do not have to do everything and be supermom, because it is impossible. You cannot sustainably do everything right, and the keyword is sustainably. You might be able to do everything, but at what cost? Your mental and physical health? Your marriage?
You do not have to do it all. Invite your partner in and let them learn as to how you learned. If they make a mistake, it is not the end of the world, because remember that you had to learn as well and look where you are now.
Give them the time and space, step back, and let them learn. Sometimes mothers place all of their attention on their husbands and all of their attention on their children, and it might be pertinent to ask why:
I think you’re avoiding caring for yourself … I think sometimes we don’t feel worthy to take care of ourselves. I think there’s guilt, [that] “there are all these other things I have to do”. (Catherine O’Brien)
What can you take off your plate?
Three questions to ask yourself and your partner daily
1 – What are you doing to make sure that you’re taking care of yourself?
A healthy mom is a good mom, that’s what your children need. If we’re taking care of ourselves and that helps us be present, it’s not the quantity of time we spend with our children, it’s the quality of time we’re able to offer them. (Catherine O’Brien)
2 – What are you doing to support and connect with your partner?
3 – What are you doing to nurture, bond, and connect with your child?
This relates to both parents.
When you take the time to discuss these three things with your partner every day and let them become habits that you use to check in with one another, you can encourage your marriage to flourish.
You can be partners, not roommates, and you can learn to love one another and allow yourselves to be loved by each other.
You each see in your partner something that the other one might not, and sometimes a hard lesson to learn is to allow them to love you when you do not see that aspect. Both you and your partner are worthy of the love you want to give each other.
Books mentioned in this episode:
- Stop Yelling and Bring Yourself Back to 1 with Meg & Amy | EU 69
- Take the Quiz: How Healthy Is Your Marriage?
- Sign up for the VIP membership
- Join Our Girl Gang
- Empowered And Unapologetic Free Course
Meet Veronica Cisneros
I’m a licensed therapist and women walk into my office every day stressed and disconnected. As a mom of three daughters, I want my girls to know who they are and feel confident about their future. I can’t think of a better way to help other women than by demonstrating an empowered and unapologetic life.
So I started Empowered and Unapologetic to be a safe space for women to be vulnerable and change their lives for the better before she ever needs to see a therapist.
Thanks for listening!
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Empowered and Unapologetic is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you thrive, imperfectly. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom Podcast, Imperfect Thriving, or Beta Male Revolution, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.