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.
Welcome to my Blog page!