For new moms, parenting well together a key to relationship satisfaction

When a new mother feels her partner agrees on how to raise their baby, not only the child benefits–she does, too. That’s the big takeaway from the latest study to come out of Kent State’s ongoing “Baby Transitions in Marital Exchanges” research (aka Baby T.I.M.E.). In the latest work, doctoral candidate Brian Don and other researchers interviewed 77 mostly middle-class and married heterosexual couples twice, at four and nine months after the birth of their first baby.  Women who initially felt that their partner shared their parenting style (meaning they felt they were pretty much on the same page about childcare values, philosophy and practices) were both more satisfied with their relationship and less likely to be depressed at the second assessment than were the other new moms. For new dads, this sense of being on the same team didn’t influence how happy they were in the relationship, but it was associated with less likelihood of depression too. Why were women’s view of their relationship more influenced by their partner’s perception of the parenting connection than men’s? Researchers theorize that “because of the importance of the parenting role to mothers, they may place more emphasis and value on parenting
agreement than fathers.” Previous research suggests that co-parenting attitudes tend to remain fixed even as the child grows and presents parents with more complex challenges. So working on the parenting alliance from the start can pay dividends for both parents over the years.

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