How to Balance Marriage & Kids

Balance marriage and kids

I recently asked my friends on Instagram: what are some questions you’d like  answered from a girl happily married for 27 years and mother to 4 kids.  The following question in one form or another was a popular one:

 How do you balance marriage & kids?

When we welcomed our first baby into our home 23 years ago, we viewed her as a cute little creature that was joining our already established union.  In other words, Drew and I were a unit. Then we added an addition to join us and enjoy what we already had going on.  Sure a baby brings with it  necessary needs.  Those needs {food, shelter, clothing, snuggles} can’t be ignored or the baby doesn’t survive. However, the child doesn’t join you and your spouse and skyrocket to CEO of the fam. 

It’s become quite commonplace once kids come into the picture to ignore the marital part of the relationship and focus on the parental part of the relationship. It can be so extreme that parents no longer feel like husband and wife, but more like head and assistant coach to the team of kids they produced. Therefore, I can’t emphasize this enough: PRIORITIZING YOUR SPOUSE.

Here are a few suggestions  to help you have time to connect with your spouse.

Create an Early Bedtime for your Children:  When our kids were little I was religious about making sure our kids’ sleep schedule was strong.  12 hours, plus a solid nap in the afternoon. The book Baby Wise helped me with the sleep schedule.  This book and it’s concepts have come under some scrutiny over the last few years I hear.  May I suggest taking what resonates with you and disregarding the rest.  However, I will tell you all 4 of my kids have very different personalities and they all slept through the night within 6-8 weeks of coming home from the hospital.

I went down a bit of a rabbit trail there, so let’s refocus.  What I meant to emphasize is the importance of an early bedtime.  Putting your kids to bed by 7 or 8pm allows you to have several hours with your spouse at night.  Having a few peaceful hours to snuggle, watch a show, read a book, talk, or anything that slows down the regular pace of the day WITH YOUR SPOUSE is recommended. When your kids get older you can retreat to your room & the kids will put themselves to bed.  I know young momma, your day is coming!

A second suggestion is this:  Establish a Weekly Date Night: Set aside one night a week to date your mate.  You may have been tempted to skip over this suggestion because you don’t have it in the budget for a weekly date night. I totally understand.  However, may I suggest, before your shut me down here, that you get creative. Consider these suggestions:

  • swapping kids with another couple. 
  • putting the kids to bed  early and ordering in.
  • Adjust the budget and prioritize together-ness.
  • Sell excess items on Facebook Marketplace and put the earnings toward date night.

The goal is undivided time together without excuse.The age old adage “Where there’s a will there’s a way” can definitely be applied here.  Our long term goal, when the kids are grown and gone, is that Drew and I still KNOW each other, LIKE each other and ENJOY each other’s company.

Finally, vacation together, just the two of you, once a year: If the dating suggestion ruffled your financial feathers, this one will likely get under your skin even more! But, I’m sticking with it.  “Vacation” doesn’t have to be defined as an all-inclusive on the beaches of Mexico.  It can be a weekend retreat to a borrowed family member’s cabin. I recommend you get creative.  It doesn’t have to be far, or long or expensive.  It  does have to be JUST THE TWO OF YOU.  No friends. No kids. No pets. PS: Your kids will be fine!

Enjoy connecting with your spouse.  Prioritize your relationship.  Your future self will thank you.  You know who else will thank you one day?  Your kids!

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