It’s easy for couples to get stuck in the “room-mate zone” or the “bitter and withdrawn” mode. Parenting is hard. It’s only natural to have challenges, especially when parenting can be so demanding.
Sometimes when we go through a major life change, it’s hard to see how much we have grown, and we focus on the things we don’t do well, or how unsupported we feel. Parenthood is no exception!
Trying to have a conversation can feel a little daunting and you aren’t sure where to start to feel more connected. The following questions are tried and true and I have used them with countless couples. They are based on Appreciative Inquiry – focusing on what’s going well! You will be amazed at what you will learn. Sit down with your partner and ask each other the following questions to help you gain a loving reflection of yourself as a parent & each other. You might do them all, or just some. No pressure!
“Appreciative Inquiry is an approach to life that turns our default-setting on its head. Instead of fixating on problems, the focus is on what is life-giving.” katersutherland.com
- When you think of me as a mother (father), what are some of your favourite moments?
- Looking back over the last few months, can you think of some challenging situations in relation to being a mother (father), that I handled really well? What did you see me do that contributed to things going well?
- What do you admire most about how I handled the transition to mother/fatherhood (if baby is less than 2 years old)?
- As you think about our partnership overall, what do you think are some of our “best practices” or things we do well? How can we do more of this?
- Sometimes couples can get stuck in resentment or feelings of competitiveness (eg. who is more tired, or who is working harder). This is normal and common. One way to work through this, is helping each person feel seen for their contribution, and let go of trying to be right. Ask each other, “What is one thing you wish I knew about how it is for you to be a father/mother AND a partner at this time?”
- What are my best qualities as a mother or father? What do I do that tells you this?
- What is something that I do, that amazes you? What do I do that makes your life easier?
- Reflecting on yourself as a mother/father:”If your baby or child was chatting with their buddies what would she/he say about you? What would she/he say he loves the most about having you as his/her mom and dad?