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Answering your questions on date night, self-esteem, and parenting styles
Good morning, everyone! I was just scrolling TikTok (for research purposes of course) and I realized my whole For You Page is just videos about baby-led weaning, infant brain development, and that my-baby-looks-like-an-alien newborn stage. Gone are the days of shopping hauls, manicure inspo, and makeup tutorials…and I couldn’t be happier.
Let’s jump into today’s Q&A so I can share all I’ve learned (and TBH asked Shawn and Andrew) this week. 💡
Your question: Managing a date night with baby! My husband and I have struggled to have alone time since my son was born. I can tell it’s starting to take a toll on our marriage. We’ve managed to get a good schedule going with our little one, but by the end of the day we’re both so tired we just sit on the couch, sometimes in silence, while we both try to wind down for the day. Any advice or tips would help so much!
Our answer: I want to start by telling you that this has been by far the most-asked question in our inbox since we launched. So many members of this community are looking for date night tips and ideas! That means we’ll keep covering the how, what, why, and when for many months to come.
Today, let’s focus on the how—how to carve out quality time with your partner when life feels hectic and, let’s be honest, exhausting.
With a baby, the fatigue is real and it can be so easy to get in a routine of I’m just so tired I don’t want to do anything so let’s go to bed,” Shawn told me. “But I really think the hardest part about having a baby is managing your relationship. Because no one prepares you for it and no one tells you about it.
So why not prepare for this part of family life the same way you would prepare for potty training, sleep training, or traveling—with a plan?
The best thing you can do, as unromantic as it sounds," Shawn said, "is to schedule everything.
Chippy the Dog
She and Andrew have been doing that since Shawn got pregnant with Drew. On Monday, they’ll pick a day of that week to do something together and to do it intentionally. That helps them to ensure quality time and conversations, get out of the house, and reconnect at least once a week.
Babies can be so all-consuming that if you aren’t constantly and actively trying to work on your relationship, your baby can so easily take over,” Shawn said. “Andrew and I are firm believers that in order to be good parents, we have to be good spouses.
That doesn’t mean you need to plan a six-course dinner or a hot air balloon charter. It can be simpler: Shawn and Andrew have what they call “Bev Time.” Every night, they spend at least 10 minutes over drinks (water, wine, whatever you want) to talk about their days and connect as partners.
And even if they need to decompress alone in front of Love Island after that? They know they’ve still shown up for each other as partners. It’s the little things.
Your question: How do you build self-esteem as a mom? I feel like everyone else is more confident than me in their parenting approach. I wonder if others struggle with feeling conflicted about all the parenting decisions and approaches one might take?
Our answer: The best part of parenting? There are so many possibilities. The worst part of parenting? There are so many possibilities.
It can be a very crippling fear: that you just don’t know what decision is right for your kid.—Shawn
To overcome that fear, Shawn and Andrew have focused on one overarching strategy: surround yourself with people you choose to trust.
Shawn gave the East fam’s pediatrician as an example. There are tons of different pediatricians out there and they all have different styles, approaches, and belief systems. Because of that, you might never find the “perfect” pediatrician for your family.
But you will find someone you can trust and feel comfortable with. You can commit to making a decision to trust that person and welcome them into your inner circle. That’s what Shawn and Andrew did, and they found that making that decision helped with the analysis paralysis big time.
At the end of the day, you are the best parent for your child. No one else,” Shawn said. “Every single child is different. Every scenario is different. And you just gotta follow your gut. If you’re doing your best for your kid that way, that’s all that matters.
You’re doing something incredibly difficult and complicated—raising a child to become a thoughtful, compassionate, fulfilled real live person! That’s tough, but the fact that you’re here, asking questions and seeking answers, tells me you should give yourself more credit.
And just so you know? Shawn said this:
Nobody else is more confident. We’re all wandering around trying to figure it all out.
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So by now you probably know that this is where I spill all the good stuff—we call it Tips & Tricks for a reason! But today, I’m doing something a little different.
After our recent guide to traveling, we were flooded with good ideas from all of you who’ve been in the trenches (and by trenches I mean the middle seat of a cross-country flight with a fussy teething baby sitting in your lap).
The Tips & Tricks don’t get much better than that. So? Here’s some of what I learned combing through the inbox this week:
“Pack toys that they’ve never seen before so they’re extra interested and will play for longer. And hand them one at a time so they really play as long as possible with each one.”
“Snacks, obviously. Try putting them in a pill dispenser (you know the ones your grandparents use for their medications?). It helps with fine motor skills and keeps them interested in getting the little snacks one by one.”
“As a physician, safety and cleanliness are very important, especially since the pandemic struck. Johnson & Johnson makes hand and face wipes that you can use to wipe down baby hands periodically throughout a flight to cut down on germs they’re putting in their mouths every time they chew their fingers.”
“I have a 13-year-old, 10-year-old, and 22-month-old who are ALWAYS hungry in the afternoon car lines waiting to get everyone after school. I bought this little storage organizer for the back of my SUV on Amazon and I keep bottled waters and their age appropriate (non-perishable) snacks in there. Easy access for the big kids to grab snacks for themselves and little sister while we chill in yet another pickup line!”
Thank you for sharing your ideas! Really putting the Family in FamilyMade this week
That’s all for today! Thank you so much for reading. See you back here Monday for…at long last…drumroll please…POTTY TRAINING 101. Have a great weekend!