My wife and I met at summer camp: I was the Program Director and she was a counsellor. After our second year working together, we fell in love and the rest is history. Seven years after that second round of camp, we were BEST friends and got married. One year later, we welcomed a new member into our club. We were overwhelmed in joy, love and excitement … but also, a bit of worry, and maybe some fear. What would happen to us now that we needed to share the love?
It’s really easy, with a baby, to become so distracted that you forget about the person you loved so much in the first place. We set our family culture up so that forgetting wouldn’t happen, and so that he could see love-in-action. We want him to see committed, respectful partners who collaborate on everything from keeping the house and yard maintained to making decisions about money; we want him to see us having fun and even disagreeing. If we are his first teachers, and we are his role models, then before he can speak, we want him knowing he is loved, and knowing that we love each other, too.
So how do we do this?
Here’s a brief list with some of the ways we set out to accomplish sharing the love:
- Eat supper together, and include a meaningful gratitude
- Say “I love you” every single day
- Kiss and say, “Drive safely” before heading to work in the morning
- Give kisses and hugs in front of the kid
- Help each other
- Talk about why you’re doing things: “I’ll do the dishes since you made supper!”
- Spend time together on the floor, playing with the kid, and talking to each other
- Make music, dance and be happy together
- Take walks together, regularly
- Have alone time – part of loving someone includes respecting alone time
- Snuggle together, while the kid plays
- Read as a family
- Take date nights (or afternoons, or breakfasts, whatever) regularly, and talk about why it’s important
- Give compliments: “That was an excellent meal, Mommy,” or “You’re so good at cleaning the bathroom, Daddy!” are two simple examples! (Ha!)
- Give high fives
- Laugh together
- Avoid excess sarcasm (a little bit is fine, but not all the time … the way I see it, as a highly sarcastic person, is that my sarcasm needs to take a bit of a backseat while my baby learns how to be respectful, kind and loving! But from time to time, I can pepper in some heartfelt sarcasm, accompanied by a huge belly laugh!)
- Share your passions: I share art and writing with Creative Mommy; she shares her sewing and knitting projects with me; we both share ideas about teaching together, all the while having these conversations with the kid in the room. In the photo above, we are sharing my passion and work with Kingsley as we set up my art in a local cafe. Rather than leaving him with a sitter, or home with Mommy, we just bring him along so that he can see us being people, and not just parents.
Sharing the love is a crucial part of raising a well-rounded person. It’s also key to staying happy, grounded and together as a family, as a couple and as a parent.
You had your baby with your best friend because you loved them so much you wanted a miniature version … don’t forget that as you shower the mini-me with just as much love!