When there are tantrums from toddlers or screaming matches with teenagers, having children can make you feel like you’ve lost yourself.
And when you lose yourself, it’s harder to prioritise relationships that exist outside of the parent and child dynamic.
If it all sounds a little uncomfortably familiar, then Kristi Yeh is your guardian angel.
As a mum herself, Kristi knows all too well about the trials and tribulations of parenting, using her experience alongside her credentials as a licensed marriage and family therapist.
This magical combination led to her founding Parent Self-Care, a blog that delves into the nitty gritty of trying to be the best parent possible while juggling romance and friendships.
Speaking about her mission, Kristi said that working as a wellness coordinator at a school and spending a lot of time discussing self-care with parents and educators, evidence shows the better the adults take care of themselves the healthier their children are at home and school.
Kristi said: “Self-care is big business, but there is a lot of misinformation out there. Self-care is about more than bubble baths and vacations.
“Parent Self-Care is your destination for resources from a licensed mental health clinician that has been studying and practicing self-care for over ten years.”
Her latest post – entitled The Parent Self-Care Guide to Couples: 9 Ways to Boost Relationship Satisfaction – explores how our overall wellness is defined by the health of the important relationships in our life and why prioritising them is so vital.
Topping the list at number one, is to keep dating each other, no matter how long you’ve been together. Kristi is realistic that the pandemic, finances or lack of childcare play a significant role in your schedule, instead focusing on the power of learning to create new memories together.
This could mean cooking a meal, ordering takeout, trying a new dessert, or even brainstorming together about what you can do once the bank balance is a little more flush.
Next up, Kristi is a big believer in not taking each other for granted. The reason being that we so often let our guard down with those closest to us.
The trick is to savour the benefits of comfort while also reminding yourself to treat your partner with the same politeness and respect you give to people outside your home.
This could be done by greeting your other half each day, even if you are working from home together, with eye contact, a smile, and maybe even a kiss. Other tips include being polite and saying please and thank you or surprising partners with a thoughtful little gift.
In third position, Kristi advises you to invest in your emotional bank account by focusing on increasing deposits (positive interactions) and minimising withdrawals (negative interactions).
She explained: “During conflict, aim for five positive interactions to every one negative interaction. During everyday life, aim for 20 positive interactions to every one negative interaction.
“These deposits are the small everyday gestures, not the grand gestures. Things to consider are taking time to listen to your partner’s stressors, being affectionate, and giving compliments.”
Other tips and tricks include fighting fair, compromise being key, and increasing physical intimacy, even with hugs, holding hands, and kissing if there is no time or desire for nookie.
Kristi also promotes scheduling sex, saying: “Most couples often reject this idea because it doesn’t seem romantic and spontaneous. However, you might find yourself being more loving or playful that day of the week because you know sex is on the schedule.”
In addition to these, Kristi strongly advises couples to share the parental workload and remain committed to never stop working on your relationship as this will bond you together.
As they say, there is no such thing as being a perfect parent, just be a real one.
For more fantastic resources, click here: Parent Self-Care.