I recently read a really smart article titled The Day We Forgot We Were Parents. In this article a couple finds themselves at home alone for the first time in a LOOONG time. They go about their day unplanned, being spontaneous in everything they do. They find joy in the little things like, the quietness they experience at home, driving in their minivan without kids, eating at their favorite brunch spot that the kids don’t like, being able to casually window shop and connecting over uninterrupted conversation.
The reason I called this article SMART is because the author pointed out two important things that ALL parents should pay attention to in order to keep a happy, healthy relationship. The first one is this idea of “parent-itis, the tendency for all things kids to consume us”.
Parent-itis can happen quickly. It starts in infancy, when all things baby consume you both. Lack of sleep, over-exhaustion, tending to all those diaperings and feedings take over. Once you’ve made it through this stage it’s time to MAKE time for your relationship. Just as you need to care for yourself and practice self-love (more on that topic here) you need to recharge your relationship.
Before we move on I’m going to have to call out the mom’s here…in my experience over the years I have seen what I like to call, The Mommy Monster never move beyond this “totally consumed” stage. It seems the maternal instinct kicks in and there is no longer room for their husband in the picture. They become completely wrapped up with their kids and dad is left to fend for himself. Often times his opinion or way of doing things is not welcomed. I have even witnessed the dad being scorned as if he were one of the kids.
Leave room for your partner and your relationship and your whole family will be much happier including yourself! Imagine what it will feel like to have help and not bear the brunt of raising children. Be thankful you have a partner in parenting and show them that they are appreciated. Here is a great example of what being a Mommy Monster is like.
Now onto the 2nd important point. You are a UNIQUE person outside of being a mommy or daddy. It is easy to get lost in the parenting role so much so that you can forget who you are outside of that.
Well guess what? Your partner, spouse, significant other or whatever you call them, did not fall in love with you as a mom or a dad they fell in love with you as a person. You both need to connect with who you are outside of playing the mommy and daddy role. When you do this you recharge yourself and your relationship and the snowball of good side-effect starts rolling. Just as the author wrote after her day date, she felt, “more chill” about everything.
Let’s take a look at how you can bring more of that “chill’ into your life.
How to Occasionally Forget You Have Kids:
1. Have a day date as often as possible just as the couple in the article did. Remember there’s no talk about the kids allowed! Try and be spontaneous in what you do and enjoy the small things.
2. Connect with yourself and each other outside of the parent role. Do things you did when you didn’t have children, let loose, have fun and CHILL OUT! Heck, while you’re at it let your little one’s see the real you and show them what makes YOU unique. Often times parents get so wrapped up in rules and routine they forget to have fun.
3. Make time to have uninterrupted conversation. Talking right before bed doesn’t count…this should be an extended period of time where the conversation is not being rushed because one of the kids needs something. Having quality conversation with each other is vital in keeping a strong foundation through the years.
4. Have a special SECRET place. Maybe you sneak into the tree house or into the closet for some alone time. Whatever that may be:) This will add some excitement back into your relationship and remind you both of a time when it was just the two of you. So throw up your No Kids Allowed sign and have some fun.
Any other ideas? Share your suggestions below!
photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/eyermonkey/2842941601/”>Auzigog</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>