During these uncertain and scary times, many of may find that we are spending more time with family members or significant others! While this can be good for family bonding, it can also be really stressful and we can quickly push each other’s buttons. Maintaining healthy relationships and communication is essential right now. How we communicate with our partners in front of our children also sets an important example. So why is this so hard? Why do we find ourselves getting so frustrated with someone who we really care about?
Here are some practical ways that we can ground ourselves and put things into perspective:
- Remember: this is not normal! This is unprecedented and unchartered territory. Most of us never experienced anything like this before. This is not a vacation or summer break. This is a major disruption to our daily, weekly and monthly routines. So don’t expect yourself to react/behave the same way you would during “normal times”. Cut yourself some slack! Share how you feel with at least one person who you can trust.
- Give yourself space! Don’t be afraid to take a break if a conversation with your partner or close another adult in your life gets heated. Take a walk, watch a funny video on your phone, make yourself a snack. Do something that temporarily takes your mind off of your frustration. Don’t rush to resolve something if you need some time to cool off. Don’t be afraid to say “I need a break before we continue this conversation”. It is not a sign of weakness; it shows maturity! Yelling and cursing are not the way to solve our problems and it can put stress on our children if they are always present for such arguments.
- Share responsibilities! If possible, make sure that you are clear with each other about how you are sharing parenting roles and household responsibilities. It may never be 50/50, but aim for something close and talk about what the looks like in your home.
- Use “I” statements when communicating about your frustrations, anger, fear. Instead of saying “You do this and it makes me mad!”, phrase it focusing on yourself first and foremost. Example: “I feel unappreciated when I make dinner and no one helps me clean up or thanks me for the meal.” By focusing on how things make you feel, the other person may feel less threatened and like it is more of a conversation and less of an attack.
- Encourage each other to practice daily self-care! Not only will this help you appreciate your time to yourself more, but it reminds the other person who much you love and value your partnership. Whether taking a bath, sitting outside for a few minutes in silence or getting a few extra minutes of sleep in the morning, we must prioritize our own self-care and our partner’s self-care as well. Even if it is just a few minutes, it will make a difference.
- Share some time together! This is especially hard if you have children at home or if you are exhausted from your pregnancy, but try to spend some one-on-one time together each day.
You are doing an amazing job!
Practice positive self-talk and encourage your partner to do the same! It works!
As always, your Birthright Counselors are here if you need to talk.