Dear Weary Mom,
Parenting is hard work. Mom is on call all of the time. Our days begin early, they are packed with work, chores, cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring and parenting. Sometimes it is hard to fit it all in 24 hours. In between the flurry of activity and the dream of being able to use the restroom alone, with the door shut, a woman has to find time to be a wife. Marriage is hard work too.
There are days that I don't really speak to my husband other than yes, no and I have no idea type of responses. There are days when I don't really look at him. Truth be told there are nights when one of us is so exhausted that we don't even kiss each other goodnight. Does this bother me? Yes and no. Yes, because I can recall being young and in love. 10 years ago we wouldn't have dreamed of letting that happen. We would wait up on each other to say our good-nights. No because it becomes a matter of survival with a new baby. Sometimes the day has been so long that I nod off on the sofa and sleep the sleep of the dead. My husband wouldn't wake me up, he knows what a woman that is getting on average 3 hours of sleep a night is like (because he lives with me and that is the situation right now). Similarly I know he needs his rest as well. If he drifts off early I don't hold it against him. I just quietly crash too.
There are times when the day has been so long and emotionally taxing that I am not good company. After the kids are tucked in for the night, I just want to sit silently somewhere and let the quiet soothe my weary soul. I don't want to talk, I don't want to hug. I don't want to watch tv. I want to chill. There are days when I am so desperate for adult interaction that I barely let him in the door- I pounce on him and chat him up to the point of being borderline annoying. Do I run hot and cold? Yes, I do.
It took me a while to realize this, but even before the new baby came things were a mess with my husband. We allowed ourselves to be comfortable with each other, to stop trying. We have taken for granted that love between man and wife is not guaranteed forever. Unconditional love doesn't exist in marriage. You have to work at it to keep it going.
But, when your life is busy and you can barely find the time or energy to speak to each other how do you work on keeping your marriage healthy and strong?
We have tried a variety of things. We have scheduled time together. We have tried the kiss for 12 seconds technique. We have tried holding hands more, hugging and making notes for each other when there isn't time to talk for more than a minute. While all of those things are great and they do help reinforce a bond, they don't make it all better.
What does help a marriage stay strong and healthy? In my case busting out a board game once a week and having a friendly competition has helped immensely. We are able to relax and enjoy each other for a few minutes, this leads to conversation that is not about the kids, work or finances. Our bond is strengthened over a game of Bananagrams. Last weekend I stepped outside of my normal bounds and shared a 6 pack with my husband (who told me how sexy it was to see me drink beer).
Drinking beer and playing bananagrams makes marriage better? Yes, it does. It is all about the little things. It is about stepping outside of your normal boundaries and keeping your spouse interested in you. In days past I had been wound so tightly, felt the weight of so much responsibility and been so overextended in my life that I had a routine, normal behaviors and a sense of predictability. When I started making time for a board game or a beer my husband was caught off guard. He couldn't read me like a book all of the time. I hadn't taken the time for play in years. He would have never expected me to drink a few beers with him on the weekend. He got to see me in a new dimension, a new element of me that reminded him of the girl I was before I became a wife and a mother. Realizing she is still there was good for me too.
Dear Weary Mom, how do you keep your marriage strong? How do you find time to be the amazing Mom that you are and be an awesome wife too? Don't you roll your eyes and discount yourself from the Amazing Mom/Wife title, (we all have those days where we feel discouraged!) because you are awesome. While women fulfill the role of wife and mother everyday, it doesn't mean it is easy work. It isn't. Mom is the glue that holds a family together.
If you had to give another Weary Mom one tip on how to have a great marriage what would you share? I say make time to play together! People seem to laugh a lot when they are having fun, and people that are laughing and smiling at each other tend to enjoy one another's company. I can't wait to hear your tips!