Mike (father of Finn and Rex): Tensions will arise – there is just no doubt about that – between you and your partner, but you have to recognise that it’s the situation that’s creating the tensions and you really do have to work together.
Chris and Jana (parents of Cornelius)
Jana: Chris and I have probably had 1 or 2 significant incidences where we both had to sit down because if we hadn’t have talked through the situation it could have got a lot worse than it needed to and I think that’s heightened by the fact of the emotions and the lack of sleep and your whole life seems a little in turmoil at the time.
Lisa (mother of Dexter): On the days when things were not going very well, you know it’s very hard to explain to your husband why you are, you know, at fever pitch by the end of the day and one day I said to him, ‘You know, darl, my patience has been stretched all day and I don’t have any more patience for you’, [laughs] you know?
Rochelle (mother of 4): If you have a good relationship, then everything else will follow. But we give all the attention and all the focus and all the work to our kids, because they are so much more demanding, often, than our partners.
Cindy (mother of Anton and Jeremy): I found a whole lot of playdough in the couch and so I sort of had a go at Andrew, you know, ‘After you have playdough’, as if Andrew had played with it almost. ‘You know after you use that playdough you’ve got to put it back in the container otherwise it’s going to dry out’. And so he was just really cranky because he was busy in the kitchen and you know like you know we had a fight about it, and I thought it’s funny in a way because really it’s something that Anton had done, but it didn’t occur to me to say to Anton, ‘After you have finished playing with the playdough put it in the container’ instead I was rousing on Andrew about it. It’s either instinctively or you don’t dare to base the, you don’t want to be blaming the child because they’re a child, so you blame the other adult.
Marie Burrows (relationship counsellor): When there is a charge over things and differences of opinion, words are very hard to take back, and especially when you’ve got the stress of children and babies. The ‘park it’ tool is a very good tool. So if both use it and say ‘Let’s park it, and talk about it later when the emotional charge has gone out of me, I’m not so worked up about it and we can calmly look at it with some distance’.
Sarah and Ashley (parents of 5)
Sarah: Just boils down to us sitting down at the end of the night, like now, when it’s peaceful and quiet, kids are all asleep.
Ashley: When the kids are in bed, yeah.
Sarah: This is our time just to sit down and talk about the week ahead, what’s coming. Well we don’t know what’s going to come, but we plan it anyway.
Heather (working mum, mother of Declan and Angus): If one partner has gone back to work pretty soon after the baby has um happened, they don’t ever actually really find out what it is like to be the other person with the baby all the time.
Wayne (father of Tara and Lani): By the time you get home, you’re tired, you’ve had sleep deprivation as well, you get home, the wife thinks she’s been doing anything, she’s keeping the household running, you think well I’m doing everything, I’m sort of, well you’re paying the bills, you’re bringing the money in, you can’t see, you know you can’t seem to see eye to eye.
Heather: The time can just pass and you’re not connecting at all. You’re not speaking to one another. You’re just in different worlds.
Keith (father of Joe): Just being isolated from, like certain things you wouldn’t want to load on to your wife because you think, ‘Oh she’s got enough on her plate’. So you end up keeping all this stuff internally and it leaks out in other ways.
Adam (father of Elly): You just have to be strong. You just have to say to them how you’re feeling and I think in a lot of cases, 99% of cases, it will help relieve the tensions and it will actually make you feel better because you’ve got it off your chest to say how you feel. And a lot of the time you can fix the problems that you’ve got by talking about it.
Daniel (father of Caitlyn): We had to focus back on each other, quite importantly, um, in terms of our communication, and sort of brought back away from the baby and everything being about the baby and brought back to being a bit of a couple.
Rochelle: It’s hard, it’s tricky, life’s so tiring and busy and noisy with kids, but you just have to prioritise and make the time, and make the effort.
Gavin (father of 5): If we can do one thing together, it’s be selfish for one another, and we are going to love our children unconditionally and if we can work on each other’s relationship, rather than stress out each other and argue with each other, we are going to get through it.