The best parenting advice we ever got, before we even had kids

Let me just start off by saying that while I was the one who really wanted to get a puppy, a large part of me was worried that my husband would love the dog more than me. I assumed that adding a shiny new member to our family would mean I would get demoted. Surely the amount of love you have to give is finite and if you add another “thing”, you have to take some love away from something else.

But that’s just simply not true. I know that now.

When we suddenly became pregnant with twins, I was convinced, yet again, that I would get demoted on the “love scale”. Surely, my husband would love the babies more than me.

But then I remembered the best marriage/parenting advice we ever received: Love your partner first. 

How do you love your kids well? Love your partner first.
How do you maintain a thriving marriage post kids? Love your partner first.
How do you ride the wave of stress and chaos with kids? Love your partner first.
How do you make room for more love in your family? Love your partner first.

Our twins traumatically arrived seven weeks early and it was terrifying. My husband 100% showed up for me. Yes, of course he was thinking about our tiny preemies in the NICU but they were in good hands. Our hearts grew to include these new babies into our world. Those babies wouldn’t be here without the two of us. At the end of the day, the best we could do for them was to love each other really well, above anything else.

We are partners in this parenting thing. It’s important to us that we are a united front. Sure, we employ different strategies when it comes to tummy time and diaper changes but the important thing is that we show up for each other. In these early days with small babies, we are giving a lot and it can feel close to impossible to save anything for each other. But we do. At least we try.

Love isn’t finite. It’s grows and expands and strengthens. It fits in all the cracks and crevices and it fills up all the spaces. I’m continuously impressed by the amount of love we have to give. But it takes work. You have to intentionally make space for it. Sometimes that means letting the other person sleep in or going on a solo dog walk. Sometimes that means planning an outing for the whole family. Sometimes that means getting a sitter. And sometimes it just means and extra five minutes in bed together. And while at first it may feel hard to love your partner first, it transforms the way you are able to love those around you.

A quick note about self-care: It’s likely impossible to love anyone around you if you’re not practicing self-care. My intention is not to imply that you should love your partner before yourself.

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