Becoming a parent is certainly no walk in the park – unless its Jurassic Park and you are blindfolded and arguing with your partner about whether tiny-Rex should be brought up as vegan or carnivore.
Sure the above metaphor may not be ideal but you get the picture. Parenting is hardcore. First time parents are generally unprepared for the journey ahead or the life affirming transformations accompanying parenthood.
As well as changes to the individual’s identity there are also monumental changes that occur within a relationship – or so this first time mum has found.
Living in a diverse city such as London means that a lot of modern families come from different backgrounds and although theres great positives to raining multi-cultural kids sometimes parents may have conflicting views and ideas about child rearing.
Combine this with sleepless nights, not enough time to discuss things and the stress of a new addition to the family and hey presto before you know it Netflix and chill has turned into passive aggressive dinner with a side of murmured spiteful comments (perhaps interspersed with sweet coos to your little one!)
Are you finding this? Do you wonder what is there to do? We may just have the answer for you.
Parents as Partners is a course run by Tavistock which helps parents to come together and gain a better understanding of each other in their new dynamic. It gives parents the opportunity to spend a few hours in the company of strangers and through becoming vulnerable in frank discussion it helps them realise that they are not alone and also learn to hear and see the other partner’s perspective.
The best thing about this course is that somehow it works. And the second greatest thing is that it’s FREE (and it comes with a creche for the little ones). They also serve snacks (and we love snacks).
I am not sure which aspects of the course were most effective for us – but certainly it helped start conversations on a lot of topics which we simply would not have the time or perhaps the inclination to discuss.
The sessions are made up of creative activities, games, videos and lively discussions. Some of the areas covered included:
- What parenting styles do we want to bring from our own upbringing.
- What aspects did we want to leave behind?
- How do we better share the load in the household.
- How to find time to self care for each other.
As well as all the hard work – we found the course quite fun, emotionally engaging and at times inspiring and although we still have the odd argument over all we are a little closer to singing off the same hymn sheet (albeit as an out of tune chorus). It is still better than one party beatboxing whilst the other is singing arias.
The course alone is not going to work magic on your relationship – you need to put the time and effort in. Learning to communicate with your partner may take some practice, especially if you have fallen into patterns (we all do).
To find out more about the Parents as Partners Programme or register for the course – visit their website here.