Being a new parent does not mean that your love is only intended for your little
Gosh, it’s so easy to just get wrapped up in her cuteness, or his little
giggle…or how about those eyes?!? Being a new parent demands SO much, and
often we lose track of all the other parts of our identity because of it.
But being a great parent means that we find ways (sometimes small) to honor
our other parts. You see, we can only be our best selves when we give ourselves
permission to take care of the different parts of our identity while also honoring
the different roles we have. Truth is, the whole is better when we’re nurturing the
Think of yourself as a system…a machine that has different parts that need to be
intact in order to function at its best. Now think of the different parts of your
identity that make up that system:
Mother. Father. Partner. Friend. Daughter. Son. Sister. Brother. Marathon runner.
Cycler. Musician. Artist. Reader. Employer. Employee. Crafts enthusiast.
This just scratches the surface, but let’s just take a closer look at one to make
this make more sense. If you’re a runner but haven’t gone running in a month,
that part of the system is going to feel a little neglected. Think of running (that
part of your identity) as an actual screw. If you’re not honoring the part, the screw
is going to start to loosen. Now it may not fall out just because it isn’t getting
tightened every day, but that loose screw will eventually make the machine not
function at its best. Every time you go for a run, you tighten that screw. You honor
it. And because of that, the whole system starts to operate better.
You have to do this for all of the important parts of your identity.
You may not always have time to go for a run, or read, or cook a gourmet meal when you’re a new parent, but what it is you make time for is your message to yourself and the world that says “this is a priority to me.”
So as we ring in 2016 and set our goals and resolutions for the upcoming year,
let’s take a little time to identify and begin to honor the parts of our identity that
are most important.
Whether you’re into resolutions or not, this is a good time to
check in with yourself and your partner. Researcher, John Gottman, says “the
small things we do everyday are more important than the big things we do every
once in awhile.”
It’s time to make deliberate efforts that honor the self, the couple, and the family
that communicate LOVE to each part.
1. Make a list of ALL of the parts of your identity. Big and small.
2. Circle your top FIVE (the five you want to be your big screws). Hint:
PARTNER should be one ;).
3. On a scale from 1-10 (10 is best) rank how well you’ve honored each part for
Some weeks will be better than others. Maybe you’ll notice that 2
of your 5 screws consistently get more attention, or that one of your screws is
always just barely being honored. You’ll start to see where you may need to
4. Commit to doing one thing every week to honor and grow each part.
5. Add something to your love routine.
Maybe it’s a good morning text once one
of you is out of the house. Maybe it’s a mid day call or email. Or maybe it’s
honoring 15 minutes before you go to bed to just have “couple time.” This can
mean cuddling, talking about the day, or taking a shower together. Do
anything that honors that time together.
6. Set goals for your partnership.
Make a list of THREE things you each want to
be better at as it pertains to your relationship. For example, “I want to be a
better partner to you by being a better listener. I will focus on understanding
instead of trying to fix everything.” Share these with your partner, and ask
them to gently remind you when you could be showing up better.
7. At the end of every week ask your partner how you were as a partner?
a beautiful way to check in and to hold yourselves accountable.
“How was I as a partner this week?”
“What could I have done differently?”
“This week I’ll focus on _________.”
Being a new parent does demand so much.
It asks you to stop prioritizing many
of your parts, but that does not mean that you can’t do small things often that
support and uplift some of the beautiful parts of your identity. You are more than
a parent, and that is okay.
It’s more than okay, and you have all of the permission
in the world to take care of yourself and your relationship so that your system is
functioning at its best.