Think back to a time before kids, even before you got married. How many times were you and your partner able to just drop everything, and go to a 10 o’clock movie, out dancing, or to a friend’s cottage for the weekend? Or better yet, sleep til noon, get up and have brunch without a care in the world???
Some of these luxuries might still happen on occasion, but for most of us, having to juggle the care of our children with the spontaneity in our relationship is difficult.
It is very easy to forget about the romance, the reason we fell in love and are together, and decided to have these kids in the first place. As we grow with our partners, we take on certain roles within the relationship. Whether he is the one to pay the bills, while she is the one to arrange for the house maintenance. Whatever. We tend to become defined by these roles; roles which are necessary to keep our household running smoothly. Nothing wrong with that.
But when the children come along, for the majority of us, organization goes out the window and chaos ensues. Often indefinitely. Our lives and schedules are disrupted, and everything we have learned about routine gets lost in the shuffle.
For many of us, being able to get through the day while managing our busy schedules, work, the kids, house chores, etc., often, or almost always, takes precedence over safe-keeping our relationship with our spouse. At least at the beginning.
In my practice, I have seen numerous times the effect that the busy-ness of life has on relationships. And it ain’t pretty. By the time couples seek counseling, they are often already so disconnected from each other, having no idea how they ended up there. It takes a lot of hard work to bring their relationship back to where it was before the kids came along.
So how can parents of young children in the 21st century survive, keep their relationship afloat, and head above water??
Moral of the story…..Make time for your partner, now. Not later or tomorrow or next week. Schedule dates in if need be…Put it in your calendar. Not too spontaneous, I know, but nonetheless it is time allotted to the other person, and only to the other person. So turn the phones off, and the TV off. Sit on the couch with a glass of wine, and talk. If you are able to, schedule a date away from the kids as often as you can. Get a grandparent, a babysitter, or a local teenager dying to make a few bucks to watch your kids for 2 hours so you can be with your spouse.
My husband and I make it our business to go out at least one Saturday night a month without the kids. And of course, we get the whining and complaining from the kids that it’s not fair, yada, yada, yada. I remind them that they have their play dates pretty regularly, and that this is mommy and daddy’s turn for a play date. They really can’t argue with that.
Without fail, with a wink to me, my husband will retort back to the kids “Mommy and daddy need to talk about grown-up things”. So we walk out the door, knowing full well that the minute we close the door we are free! Woohoo! And that the kids will survive for 3 hours without us.
Difficult to imagine, I know.
So moms of toddlers…..this one is for you. For moms of older kids, I am sure you can think back to a time where this was a regular occurrence….
Here it goes. You have only an hour between your child’s waking up from a nap before you have to do carpool for your older children. You decide to bite the bullet and attempt to walk into Loblaws to grab a few items. Risky, I know.
So, as you are walking up and down the aisles, your 3 year-old is trying to bring down every cookie package in his path. Whether you like it or not, he has already decided that he is going to have those wafers. I am sure this scenario is familiar to most of you.
So, you hold your ground. You insist that the snack to be consumed now is either the cheese stick or the yogurt tube that you have stashed in your purse. And your kid has an absolute meltdown. What do you do??
Legs flailing, voice screeching at the highest pitch ever heard at any Loblaws. Incessant crying. People are staring. The old ladies sitting on the bench waiting for their rides are snickering. Not out of sympathy, but rather in that judgmental kind of way, that you must be the worst mother in the entire universe to have such an out-of-hand child.
So here is the dilemma. You have come to accept that your groceries are not getting done. But do you leave, scoot out of there in order to save whatever face you have left?
Or do you allow your toddler to hash it out? Finish the tantrum. There is no rationalizing with him during such time of stress. What to do….what to do?????
I know my first instinct would be to abandon ship. Leave the cart, take the kid and get back to the car as fast as possible. But I don’t. I am all for empowering our kids, but where do we draw the line? Don’t allow your 3 year-old to dictate your schedule and manipulate your situation. The days of demand eating ended as soon as that kid started gumming down solids and throwing back cheerios. So as far as I am concerned, we just need to suck it up. Sometimes hard to do.
We all know that eventually the kid will exhaust himself and the tantrum will stop. But don’t give in. Don’t leave out of fear of embarrassment for yourself or your child.
Even though the old ladies are whispering, there are also loads of other women of childbearing age standing there. All of whom have also been in your shoes, and none of whom are judging. They are sympathizing. And if they are smiling, it is merely because they are all thanking their lucky stars that they left their kids at home that day and that their turn was spared.
Hello moms out there! My name is Sari Shaicovitch and I am very honoured to be joining clubmom as it’s newest blogger. I am excited to join this community of women and share my expertise with all of you. Allow me to introduce myself.
I have been married for nearly 14 years (yes, to the same guy!) and I am a very busy mom to three very active girls.
In my real life I am a professional social worker. I spent many years in the helping profession by working with special needs children and case managing for them. So even before I had my own kids, I had the responsibility of taking care of other people’s children. So I know kids. I know what works with kids. And I get, unfortunately having seen some very difficult things in my line of work, the effects that different styles of parenting can have on kids.
Ironically, on a more personal level, my husband and I tried for a very long time to conceive our own children. Fertility treatments were part of our routine for many years. We went through the ups and downs, periods of limbo, depression and fear that we would never become parents. But we persevered, and have never looked back.
Since resigning from my ‘paying job’ several years ago, I have built up a private counseling practice. I work with clients who experience a myriad of struggles; some relating to fertility, but mostly those struggling with the day-to-day pressures of our society; those who are trying just to keep their head above water, pay their bills, and be good partners and nurturing parents.
Having my own business has allowed me the flexibility of doing what I love to do by counseling others, but also to be home more for my children.
I have learned a lot over the course of my adult life, both from professional as well as personal perspective. And I feel like I have a lot to give back.
Allow me to share that expertise with you. If you need to discuss something that is tugging at your heartstrings and you need suggestions on how to cope, let me know. Chances are I have seen it or lived through it before.
For any questions or comments please look through my website at www.sarishaicovitch.com and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will respond to you confidentially in this blog.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Welcome to my Blog page!