Remember life before kids? When you could have a conversation without someone screaming in the background. When you could go to the bathroom by yourself, be spontaneous, sleep in on the weekends and just get up a leave whenever you felt like it. Remember when it was just just the two of you? Just you and them.
Adding children to the equation changes everything including your relationship with your significant other. Responsibilities increase, roles change, and stress is added. Life becomes a little more complicated.
These days, more often than not, you feel exhausted and completely “touched out” (probably from the little hands pulling, grabbing and climbing all over you). You give so much to your kids and everyday responsibilities that at the end of the day you are running on empty.
And the reality is that because kids naturally come first, it takes effort to make your relationship a priority. Marriages, relationships, partnerships take work. And like any relationship, you have to put in effort to ensure that it is strong and connected.
After having children it is very easy to fall into a pattern of feeling like you are two ships passing in the night. You might feel the connection is missing.You might feel like you are on completely different pages. You might even feel resentment towards them or them towards you for it being that way. Being a parent can do that. Easily.
So, how do you reconnect when there is only a limited amount of time in the day and only a certain amount of coffee to keep you going?
Here are four tips….
1) Schedule Quality Time:
When life is crazy, if you don’t plan for it, it probably won’t happen. So, take a look at your calendars and see where there are opportunities to spend time together. It can be home or out of the house. Whatever it is, mark it down, make a plan, commit to it and follow through.
There you are (again), sitting on opposite ends of the couch or lying in bed. Your eyes are glued to your devices. It may be minutes. It may be hours. Either way, it is time that you could be talking and connecting. I get it! We all love our devices, but don’t let them get in the way of your relationship. Set boundaries around when you will and will not use your devices. Hold each other accountable.
3) Be Playful/Mix it Up:
As a parent your routine can become a little monotonous. What were some of your interests and hobbies before having kids? What did you enjoy doing together? What can you still do? Something like a concert or trip to a winery might not be feasible every month, but get creative. Light some candles. Have your own wine tasting. Cook dinner together. Give each other a massage. Play a card or board game. Try something new together. Plan a day date while the kids are in daycare. Don’t be afraid to enjoy one another. Your kids aren’t the only ones who can have fun!
4) Focus on the Positive:
Couples often get into a pattern of critiquing and pointing out when the other is doing something wrong. This becomes negative for both individuals. Make it a point to focus on what he or she is doing right. Acknowledge their efforts. It’s nice to be noticed and acknowledged. And the bonus: they will be more likely to acknowledge your strengths and positives when you point out theirs.
What are some of your tips for reconnecting after kids?