Picture the scene. It’s 7.30pm on a Thursday. The youngest has been having a tantrum for over an hour, refusing to get into PJs, brush teeth, get ready for bed. All the usual struggles. My partner comes home to a hostile house. I’m in a grump, the kids are grumpy. We’re both hungry but dinner still needs to be made, and the wet washing hung out. Once all is eventually calm, I hide away hanging the washing out, sulking, and then realise what I really need is a hug, a change of topic and something to laugh about.

I came out of hiding and asked my partner if anything funny happened at work that day. This is where the beauty of a parenting partnership can really come into its own, but sometimes we forget to maximise it. We feel so much closer to our partners, calmer, and happier when we create opportunities for connection and emotional intimacy. These can be really small moments where we share a story, laugh, remember, appreciate.

Not only do these small moments help us feel better, they also have a significant impact on your relationship. Studies have found that positive communication in relationships, expressing appreciation, and empathy help improve couples’ relationship satisfaction after having children (Holmes et al 2013; Halford et al, 2015).

There are many examples of how to create positive, open communication patterns with your partner that help reduce conflict. But, I believe at the centre of strong partnerships is remembering that at the heart of your family is your relationship. So, create time for the micro-moments of connection. Time to feel close to your partner, to open conversations that aren’t about routine or jobs to do but just helps you to reconnect. This weekend, over dinner, ask your partner….

  • What memory always makes you laugh?
  • Where do you think we should go back to with the kids one day and why?


Then share with them….

  • Do you know, I am so grateful when you….
  • I feel so appreciated when you…


Notice how you feel after sharing the stories, hearing the compliment, affection, or fond memory. Think about how you can use this to build a weekly or even daily habit of gratitude, connection, and affection. Download a free set of starter cards to use with your partner and take it from there!

This article was written by Rachel Childs. Rachel is the founder of Parents that Work, an organisation that supports couples navigate the early years of parenthood, careers, and their relationship. She recently launched Beyond Baby Talk, a couple’s workbook for the twelve date night conversations to have before your baby is born.