Are You Entering Parenthood for All the Right Reasons?

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After settling into your marriage, you’ve reached a level of stability. Your thoughts are turning to the next phase of your relationship: growing a family. It’s what you’ve said you wanted since you were a little girl. Your close married friends have already started. Baby showers are filling up your calendar. You can’t help oohing and ahhing over those adorable baby outfits popping up on Pinterest. You are so ready to stop birth control. But are you psychologically ready to be a mom? Is your spouse?

Do you have a clear head about your long-held decision to be a mom, a firm commitment to the idea of the two of you being parents? Are you getting outside pressure from the family? Is the timing right to start a family now?

 

What If I’m Having Second Thoughts?

Are you questioning the idea of having children? Are you having second thoughts? Are seeds of doubt starting to sprout? If so, don’t keep it hidden. Talk to your mate. He may be having similar feelings. What’s his reaction to your feelings about it? Is he accepting? Questioning? Puzzled? Upset? Distant?

·         Do you have fears about parenthood? Are you thinking “Am I up for it?” “Will I be a good mother?” “Will he be a good father?”

·         Do you feel that you lack the knowledge required to be a good parent?

·         Are you worried about being able to find time for work, leisure, daily activities, and so on with a little one around that needs constant attention?

·         Is it a financial issue? Lack of time, money? These are external reasons and they may be valid ones. But dig deeper. Are these the REAL reasons? Or is there internal resistance?

·         Do you or your husband have unresolved feelings about your parents that are making you resistant to the idea? Does how you were raised and cared for as a child factor into the equation?

·         What if I’m ready and he isn’t? Did one of you make a “rule” change? Did one of you change your mind about wanting children somewhere along the road and didn’t inform the other? Are you able to accept that he changed his mind? Is he able to accept that you changed yours?

All of these are legitimate concerns. Don’t belittle them and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

 

The Wrong Reasons

·         Is parenthood what you REALLY want? Or is it what you’ve been raised to believe all women want?

·         Are you both on-board? Lack of love, compassion, commitment and support from your mate for you and/or a baby?

·         Are you ready to turn your attention from yourselves as individuals and as a couple to raising a child? Are you the kind of person who is in control of their time? Are you easily flustered when things don’t go as planned?

·         Are you able to deal with the unexpected … like becoming a single mother due to divorce or death? Are you confident that you can find solutions should your finances take a dip, even if it means big sacrifices? If the answer is no to any of these, maybe parenthood wasn’t meant to be.

·         Is your desire for a child wrapped up in trying to solidify the relationship? Is it to help a shaky marriage? Is having a baby your idea of a fix for a lack of trust? Intimacy? If the answer is yes, parenthood may still be on the horizon – just not while you’re having issues with one another.

·         Since having a baby makes a relationship permanent, are you or is he questioning the ability to stay in the relationship? Will your relationship stay strong when there’s more focus on another little human being who needs much your attention? A baby is a lifetime commitment. Do you feel strongly your relationship is a lifetime commitment?

 

What’s Right for You

Most young couples have this big decision to face. It’s okay … whichever way you choose. Choosing whether or not to have kids is between the two of you. Don’t let outside pressure push you in a direction you deep down don’t want to go. That decision could change the course of your life and your marriage. Make time for soul searching. Make time for the two of you to talk … lots of talk. Contemplate before you leap.

Our Pets Are Ruining Our Relationship!

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You and your beau have put in the time together … the time it takes to get to know if you both want to move forward in the relationship. Things are looking good. The next step, living together, is on the horizon. Only two things are stopping you from making that move: your dog and his cat.

Maybe you haven’t thought things out completely and jumped right into a shared household with Fluffy and Fido in tow, hoping for the best. Now you’re regretting not thinking things through a little more because his cat is terrorizing your dog (it can happen) or vice versa and the house is a war zone.

Or … your nose is raw from sneezing, you’re going through several boxes of facial tissues a week and you’re miserable because you’re allergic to his cat.

A new mixed household of people and animals isn’t the same as a mixed household of all humans … but that’s a whole other story.

 

Human Issues

You might make light of the problems you encounter or expect to encounter, but the relationship dynamics of you, him, and your pets can be serious. It could even destroy a relationship. Let’s examine some of the dynamics.

Now that you’re in a relationship, it may be harder to give your pet the same amount of attention. Their routine might be disrupted – whether you are moving into another house or your sweetie is moving in with you or you’ve found a brand new place to live.

Are you owning up to the possibility that he doesn’t care for Fluffy or cats in general? Is he? Are you admitting that you’re not so fond of dogs – or Fido in particular? Does he know that?

Could he be jealous or intolerant of the time and attention you give to your pet? Do you resent his pet for the same or similar reasons?

Is there a possibility that you’re both accepting your furry friends now but that down the road, patience could wear thin and either of you could have a change of heart?

 

Your Pet’s Issues

A pet is as likely to be set in their ways as you are in your human relationship. Dogs and cats like routine. Their old routine can be disrupted. Eventually, they’ll settle into a new routine, so don’t be too quick to “throw in the towel” and decide it’s not going to work. Watch for warning signs and have patience.

Will your pet have the amount of space and the same access to rooms in the house and the yard? Beyond adapting to a possible new living space and new feeding and playtimes, your pet is also adapting to a new owner and possibly another pet. Maybe your respective pets are jealous of the other person in the household? If they aren’t getting as much one-on-one time, they may be angry at anyone in the household. They may not like to share attention.

How will you handle pet skirmishes? How would you feel if he loses his temper with your dog for trying to harm his cat? What will you do if you if the pets can’t get along? Will you have to keep them permanently separated? How?

Maybe the situation isn’t so volatile. Maybe the pets are coping reasonably well on the surface. But are they really? Animals don’t show their emotions in the same way that humans do. You might not be reading the signs of friction correctly. You could be dealing with one depressed cat or one stressed-out dog.

Maybe the unfamiliarity of the relationship and the animals not adjusting creates a double-whammy. If you’re not happy, your pets can readily pick up on that and they can become upset too, for that reason alone.

 

Looking at It Rationally

Neither of you would consider parting with your beloved pet in order to create the peaceful home sweet home you so desire, right? They are a part of your family. You’re a package deal: pet and pet owner … or would you? If your attitude is, “My pet is part of the package deal,” you both have some work to do. If he’s asking you to choose between him and your pet and you pick him, you could someday resent the sacrifice, not to mention the emotional harm you’re putting your pet through by giving them up.

Logically, the question to ask one another is, “Is there a way we can all adapt?”

Figuring out What’s Wrong

Be honest with each other. If something bothers you about his pet or vice versa, get it out in the open. Is either of you jealous of the other’s pet? Whatever the exact cause, address it right away. Emotional wounds can fester.

It’s important to assert your right to maintain your relationship with your pet. A lover who demands you choose between him and your pet may not be who you want to develop a relationship with.

Keep a close eye on any changes in the behavior of your animals – and your mate. Without stability and consistency, your pets can feel stressed, depressed, anxious. They may exhibit bad behaviors which are basically acting out as a result of something or someone new, another animal they’re not familiar with, and even affect their physical health.

Maybe it’s just a case of your pets getting over the unfamiliar situation or another animal “invading” their territory. Pets are creatures of routine. They need to feel secure in their environment day after day. They need to know what to expect from you, your mate, other animals that are introduced into the home. This helps them have a positive attitude and be able to handle other changes.

 

Strategies

You and your mate need to consider as many possibilities of what can go wrong and come to some agreements about how to handle them.

·         Keep feeding, walking, and toileting times the same, if possible and their environment as consistent as possible.

·         Look for easy fixes or workarounds first; then move to more involved ones. Maybe a little redesign of living spaces can keep the peace.

·         If it’s an allergy issue, more frequent animal bathing can help a lot; so can frequent handwashing and not touching your face after petting can help. Research pet allergy preparations. If those don’t work, perhaps allergy shots. You need relief and your mate will appreciate that you care that much for him to seek solutions.

·         Ask for help from your vet. They see animal-human issues all the time. You could be proactive and discuss all the things that could go wrong before you and your partner move in together.

·         Hire a pet therapist to identify the problem and guide you, your sweetie, and your pets to good rapport and put a stop to destructive behaviors.

·         One of you finds another home for your pet. This is the least favorite option and one that can have far-reaching consequences. Think long and hard on this one.

 

Work It out Now

Some pet problems are unforeseen. Some issues develop over time. When they do crop up, they need to be dealt with immediately. You will reap the rewards of staying on top of the pet situation. Everyone, including your beloved pets, will be happier and you can look forward to domestic tranquility.

Loving a Drama Queen

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Are you drawn to high drama? Do you blow things out of proportion? Do you make a big deal out of small things to center the attention on yourself – sometimes in totally inappropriate ways? Do you find ways to extrapolate from inconsequential to major incidents in order to gain sympathy? Do other’s actions not measure up to your standards and you make no bones about calling attention to them? If so, you might be a “Drama Queen!”

Drama Queens are easily critical of others’ behavior … a thoughtless remark directed at you or someone else … a meal served to you at a restaurant … what someone is wearing. They thrive on gossip. Can you carry on an extended loving relationship with a Drama Queen without going stark-raving mad? Can you expect your mate to accept you like that?

 

Help! I’m in Love with a Drama Queen!

If you’re a card-carrying Drama Queen and in a relationship, woe to you and your mate. You’re both in for a rough ride … until you find your way out of your attitude.

Don’t freak out. All is not lost. You can change. Acknowledging first that you are being overly dramatic, and then WHY you’re acting out in dramatic ways is the path out of Drama Queen land. You and your mate can survive this!

So, let’s examine some of the ways you exhibit your Drama Queen behavior.

You had a bad day. As a Drama Queen, this could mean your mate didn’t kiss you and say “I love you” this morning. You grabbed the wrong lunch bag in the company fridge. Your coworker commented on your new hairstyle and you interpreted it as an insult. You forgot your cell phone at the office. When you got home, there was a pile of dishes in the sink.

 

Living With and Loving a Drama Queen

If you don’t consider yourself a member of the Drama Queen club, you’ve certainly seen Drama Queens in action. It looks something like this: Your mate comes home and before he wipes the street dirt off his shoes, he’s going to hear about it, right? The Drama Queen is going to light into him like nobody’s business with all the injustices or high drama of the day.

Nobody, much less your sweetie, wants to walk into that scene after a day at the office – or anytime, for that matter. Instead of being the loving, kind person you normally are … the person your mate fell in love with … the Drama Queen is a raving, screeching shrew with an ax to grind.

Not everyone enjoys making mountains out of molehills. No one wants to be on that receiving end, especially if the receiving party is considered the “guilty party.”

Your mate may have the patience and understanding of a saint, but sooner or later, they’re going to reach a breaking point if you don’t mend your ways. Relationships have broken up because of the friction created between Drama Queens and their mates.

 

Why Am I Like This?

For some inexplicable reason, you are energized by the high drama you created, like an adrenaline rush. This is not productive behavior – not for you or for the people around you that you love. Maybe this behavior developed slowly, over time. Maybe you enjoyed the attention you got when you were acting like a Drama Queen, attention you may not have received growing up with two busy parents who didn’t have the time or the desire to steer you into more appropriate behaviors. Maybe you’re going through a rough patch, a lot of stress, and this is your mind’s way of releasing steam?

 

Breaking the Drama Queen Spell

·         Not everything is about you.

·         Stop taking things so personally.

·         Maintain a sense of proportion. Is it that big a deal?

·         Think before you react. Give it an hour or a day or so before you say something you wished later you hadn’t.

·         Take up meditation, yoga, or other physical/emotional stress releases.

·         Keep a journal. When something happens that pushes your Drama Queen button, write it down. Ask yourself what set it off, how you could have otherwise responded.

·         Make a pact between you and your partner. He keeps you accountable when you act out this way and you let him.

 

No one is built this way. It developed over time. You’re not a defect. Hone up to your behavior problem. Be courageous. If you can’t break the Drama Queen cycle on your own, help is out there. Your loved one or a close friend or relative can help you reel in the rage by calling you out when it happens. A therapist can help with identifying behaviors and offer strategies. But you must sincerely want to change. Let your sweetie experience the sweet, kind, gentle, loving you that you are. Work on dropping the Drama Queen act.