relationships

The Forever Question Review

The Forever Question Title.png

Have you been thinking about having another baby and not sure if you should take the leap?


After having our son, I clearly remember being totally unsure if we should “risk” having another.  He was pretty easy. He started sleeping through the night at 11 months, he ate his vegetables, he was mild mannered and super social so he actually helped my husband and I meet new friends and our neighbors.  He made us laugh and brought a lot of joy to our lives.  And laughing is always good.

You can’t get lucky twice right?

We decided to roll the dice. She came and she still doesn't always sleep through the night, will only eat vegetables if she decides that day she likes them, she is wild and silly, and knows exactly what she wants and doesn’t back down.  Despite their differences they are both amazing and I love their uniqueness.

Yes, you can totally get lucky twice.

The Forever Question Set

The Forever Question Set

When I was asked to be a Talk Back Guest at the B Street Theatre for their new play, The Forever Question, by James Christy,  I was initially flattered and then intrigued about play’s premise. It is about a couple who is asking the question about whether or not they should have a second baby.  

My Favorite Date

My Favorite Date

I had a plus one, so I took my favorite date, my husband.

First of all this play did not disappoint. At. All.  The performances by the actors Dana Brooke, who plays the mom, Carolyn, and Peter Story, who plays the dad, Mike were phenomenal!  They are so talented and engaging and we both laugh out loud throughout the play. Not only did they play the parents, they played minor characters in the show, as well. In different scenes they played each other's parents.  They played younger and older versions of themselves. I even almost cried a couple of times but decided I couldn't have my makeup running if I was going to have to get on stage after the show.

I love how the flashback scenes went back to big moments in their lives that had influenced where they were now.  They visited first dates, each other’s “sex talk” with their parents. The play is full of so many relatable scenes.

You should go see this play.  You will be sure to laugh. Even my husband, who tends to be the more stoic of the two of us, couldn’t help but laugh.  Each connection, smile and laugh my husband and I shared, upped the ante on the enjoyment factor. We need those moments with our partners.  Studies even show that when you laugh with your partner there are increase in your relationship quality.  So anytime you have a chance to enjoy each other you should do it.   

And thanks to the B Street Theatre I have 3 chances for you to win some free tickets for you and your best date too.  Hop on over to Instagram to check it out.

Why You Need to Prioritize Your Partner Even After Baby

Your relationship is your parenting foundation. You need each other. Not only logistically, but also emotionally. I’ve got three simple suggestions for you to make sure both your and your partner’s needs are met every day.  If you only do these three things while raising little ones at home, you’ll be ahead of the game.

New & Expecting Parents, Here's My Question to You for 2019!

Ah, there’s something about a new year that always feels like a clean slate.  Even if you’re not a resolution-setter.

But, if you think about it, each new day is also a clean slate.

I’m a big fan of keeping things simple.  

So, even though today I have a really big question to ask you, when you actually put the question to practice in your day-to-day, the answer is really in the small, simple things you do each day.

How to Use Google Calendars to Connect with Your Partner

In my last blog post, I talked about the importance of scheduling time to connect with your partner.  I talked about how couples need time for both check-ins (the daily and weekly logistical and schedule-based stuff that keep your household running) and connection time (date nights and hangout time to reconnect and forget about the logistical stuff).  And I also talked about the importance of self-care.  All of these things need to be scheduled. 

As the saying goes, "What gets scheduled is what gets done."

Making Time for Connecting with Your Partner

One of the biggest concerns I hear from couples that call my office is: How do they find time to spend together as a couple with everything else they have to do in a day?

As a parent and partner to my amazing husband, I have to say I know this concern all too well.  I feel like there are a lot of different things we need to contend with.  We have to take care of our child or children.  We have jobs.  We have to grocery shop, clean the house, take care of our own needs…  The list, quite frankly, is never ending.  So, usually spending time together comes last. It’s right down there with taking care of ourselves.  Both should really be much higher on the list of priorities.

Separation Anxiety & Stranger Danger: How to Get through it with Confidence & Empathy

Has your baby or toddler hit the “separation anxiety” phase in their development yet?  Our littles can start feeling separation anxiety as early as 6 months and usually phases out by age 2, but the peak age range is 8-18 months.  It usually looks like clinginess, tantrums or resistance to other caregivers. It often happens when mom or dad leaves the room for a moment, or during bedtime routines, or when a child is dropped off at a caregiver’s place.

3 Simple Steps to Quit Keeping Score in Your Parenting Relationship

Remember back when you had roommates and it was so easy to divvy up the chores list and make sure everyone paid their share of the bills?  And if someone wasn’t pulling their weight, it was really clear, right?  Everyone knew who the lame roommate was and a simple house meeting could nip it in the bud or that roommate would be finding a new place.

Where to Meet Your Mom Tribe (And, how to actually meet them!)

One of the biggest challenges I hear from moms is how difficult it is to find mom friends.  Some even liken it to going out to a bar and hitting on someone, hoping that they like you and want to start hanging out.   That doesn't always have the best memories associated with it, does it?  

 

The fear of rejection is real.  And the effort it takes to meet new people can feel daunting or even draining for some of us.

4 Ways to Feel Intimacy When You're All Touched Out

Whether you are pregnant, have a new baby or even an older child, we moms all can feel touched out at certain times in our parenting adventure.  I especially hear about this from breastfeeding moms.  If you’ve already been there, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.  The baby wants to do nothing but nurse.  Or be rocked in your old rocking chair.  Or will only sleep if she’s lying on your chest...

Catherine O'Brien Interviewed on Her Life Unscripted with Anna Osborn

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Anna Osborn, a dear friend and colleague, on her podcast, Her Life Unscripted, all about new motherhood--its effects on our relationships with our partners, how our needs change even though our wants might stay the same, and the imperative of finding your tribe as a momma. 

The #1 Thing that Will Determine How Happy You & Your Partner Are in that 1st Year of Parenthood Isn't What You Think!

I recently had a conversation with another mom and, because we both have daughters about the same age, we began sharing stories about when we were expecting.  

 
 

 

She was telling about how obsessed she was with birth plans, natural births, and everything Ina May Gaskin had written about.  She told me she watched The Business of Being Born three times on her own, on top of making her partner and all of her other pregnant friends watch it with her too.  

She said it wasn’t until she went on maternity leave and was just waiting for her water to break that it even occurred to her to read up on parenting and what it might be like having a tiny human under her care.  Before that moment, she hadn’t given much thought to what it might be like after the birth.

Can you relate to this?  

Or, maybe you’re like another friend of mine who didn’t stress so much over her birth experience itself, but became obsessed with reading up on parenting methods and the many phases of child development.  She devoured everything she could on brain development, separation anxiety, co-sleeping, all the possible birth defects the baby could potentially be born with….you name it.  She read about it.

Maybe this is you.

We all go through some version of this when we’re pregnant.  We can almost have tunnel vision at times, whether it’s styling up the nursery in the most fashion-forward style or going crazy over baby registries or planning the ideal birth experience (because babies always arrive in exactly the way we planned, right??)

Even the best birthing classes often don’t go much further than this either.  

Not to mention, I’m only talking about the moms here.  Your other half is definitely having his own experience with this too.

But, do you notice anything missing from these obsessions?  

These stories are all very baby-focused, aren’t they?  For good reason, of course.  But, look closer.  These obsessions really are very “me and baby” focused.  But no one does this alone.  What about those two people that existed even before the baby did?  The two people who were many other things before adding “parent” to their life’s resume.  You know who I’m talking about--the two whose lives are going to be turned upside-down while that baby is busy being born and growing and changing….

Because I will tell you, the birth is just a flicker of your life.  A miraculous, earth-shaking flicker, but still….it’s a mere moment compared to the many years that follow.  

And I’ll tell you something else:  Babies are going to grow up whether you read the books or not.

But, what about your relationship?  It’s almost never mentioned, but your relationship is the key to that first year going smoothly or going frustratingly haywire.  No one talks about how difficult it can be to listen to your partner talk about their day when you’ve barely gotten any sleep or how to ask for a break to take a shower when they’re just sitting there enjoying the morning paper.  

It might sound trivial now.  You might think, “But my partner is so helpful at home now, I’m sure that will still be the case once the baby’s here.” Or, you may think, “It’s just not real for fathers-to-be until the baby arrives.  He’ll step up.”  Or maybe it’s, “I’m sure I’ll be tired and cranky in the beginning, but I’ll get the hang of things.”

Yes, all of that might be true.  But, statistically, 92% of couples report relationship dissatisfaction that first year when baby comes home.

YIKES.

That tells me that even the most saintly of partners can get frustrated at times, can feel misunderstood sometimes, can feel like the spark is gone at times.  

And sadly, this is best-case-scenario.  Factor in postpartum depression, relationship troubles, work stress, or any of the above, and you could have a very different situation on your hands.  (Don’t believe me?  Check this out.  And this.  And this.)  

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be like that.  It just takes a little preparation and open dialogue.  Join us for our upcoming class, “Mine, Yours, Ours: Relationship Survival Guide to Baby’s 1st Year” --a  2-hour class I’ve been running for several years now with my husband, Rick.  Together, we’ve helped hundreds of couples navigate this transition with effective communication, empathy and humor.

What couples are saying about this class:

Really helpful and on track with what we are experiencing as new parents! ~ C.J.
Great speakers, thoughtful listeners, liked that you showed the upside of parenting and not just the challenges. ~ J.L.
It was very helpful having both perspectives (mom and dad).  The group was open with their personal concerns and that provided comfort and support. ~ LB
We thought we knew how to communicate, but by listening all of our concerns it forced us to really recognize what we need to prioritize. ~ A.P

Mine, Yours, Ours: Relationship Survival Guide to Baby’s 1st Year

Friday, July 29, 2016, 6:30pm  8:30pm

@ Herself Moms, located at 151 N. Sunrise Ave. Suite 907, Roseville, CA 95661

Register online now.

Facilitated by wife/husband team, Catherine O'Brien, M.A., LMFT (Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, Certified Gottman Educator, and Mother) and Rick Heyer, JD, (Educator and Father).

This class meets one time only for an engaging “power hour” that is all about what that first year of parenthood will be like for both you and your partner and how to stay connected throughout the ups and downs.

In this class, we’ll discuss:

  • How each partner’s concerns are different through this transition and what each parent brings to the table.

  • Effective communication skills, so you can hear and be heard even if you’re working with a shorter tolerance or attention span.

  • How to develop your own Postpartum Plan for creating harmony within the relationship and work as a team and why it’s so important to do this NOW.

  • The importance of understanding moods and emotions that come with the birth of your baby, from both a biological and situational standpoint.

  • And, not least of all, how to keep sex and intimacy lit up in your relationship, even when it feels like timing has put it on the back burner.

*Special Bonus*  This class also includes a FREE 20-minute consultation with Catherine to review & tailor your very own Postpartum Plan!

$99 per couple.  Space is extremely limited:

This class routinely sells out, so don’t wait!

 Register online now.

 

Video Quick Tip: How to Date Your Partner

Are you struggling to find time for your partner now that you have a baby?

I'm Catherine O'Brien at HappyWithBaby.com and I know this reality all too well, both personally and professionally.  Today, I just have one quick tip.  

It seems really simple and you might ask yourself, "Why haven't I thought of that before?" 

Happy With Baby’s Catherine O’Brien, LMFT featured on Psych Central

Recently, I’ve had the honor to be interviewed and featured in a two-part article series published on Psych Central.  The articles focus on ways for new parents to maintain connection with their partners during the intense transition period that happens when you bring home a new baby.