Sunday, July 5, 2015

New Parents

Reflecting on my time as a new parent

A few months back, I ran into a friend who, together with his wife, had a new born baby.  When asked how he was doing, he responded "the baby is great, but my wife and I are stressed out."  It seems that his wife, who is at home with the baby, is having a hard time taking care of anything more than the baby -- which is understandable. But, this has added a great deal of stress to my friend, who has a high-pressure job.  When he arrives home from work he needs to cook and clean, do laundry, get groceries, take the garbage out, etc. While he adores his child, he is struggling with his marriage.

My response to him -- this is normal, completely typical, happens to every new family, and will pass.

Adding a third member to the family brings the greatest life, relationship and financial change a couple can experience, and often brings out feelings of jealousy. The main caretaker of the house just doesn't have the same amount of time to give to his/her partner or spouse. It takes time to adjust to this change.  One or both parents is sleep deprived (which, did I mention,  is often used as a form of torture),  the scope of responsibilities has doubled, and there isn't an instruction manual.

Recently, I ran into this friend again and he seemed much more relaxed and happy with his family and his marriage. I was relived.  It seems they, like most new parents, have found their grove and are going to be fine.

While it may be a bit unorthodox to bring up this story on a weekend that we celebrate the 4th of July,  I do so to illustrate something important.  Despite our differences as families -- we all have more in common than not.  I was surprised at myself for being able to offer up marital/parenting advice to my friend. But ultimately, I thought later,  we all want to have healthy relationships, raise well-adjusted families, and have some fun at the same time.  Straight or gay, or otherwise, we all struggle the same struggles and no matter what type of family we are raising or were raised within, our similarities outweigh our differences.

This month, America celebrated an amazing milestone -- marriage equality.  No matter how you lean politically, we should  be proud that America's children are being raised in a country that strives to treat its people fairly.

So, as we celebrate this Independence Day, let's be proud to be American! Beyond our differences, we all stand together in wanting to be in healthy relationships and raise well-adjusted children.

Have a happy, healthy and safe summer!

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