Parenting. It seems to suck everything out of you if you let it. While raising strong and beautiful kids is amazing and I am so lucky to do so, there are just so many everyday responsibilities and it can be very overwhelming and hard on a relationship. No matter how strong a relationship is, if you let the stress of your responsibilities get to you, it can be easy to let the spark or flame die off within your relationship. Don’t let it get to this point! Here are a few tips on how to keep the spark going with your everyday responsibilities as a parent:
Prioritize Your Time
When I first started writing this, I put, “prioritize time together,” and while that is so very important and I will talk about this more in a minute, you also need to prioritize time for YOURSELF, as well. It is so easy to become totally and completely obsessed and wrapped up in your beautiful children, but if you are not devoting time to yourself AND to your relationship, things can get very overwhelming quickly.
No matter how much you love your kids, it is very important to have alone time, in order to get a break. It can be something as simple as getting someone to take over nap duty so that you can go grab a cup of coffee, alone, or it can be hiring a babysitter so that you can get a massage and your hair done. Alternatively, it can even be hiring someone to help so that you can nap or even just take a shower and do your nails on your own. Seriously - whatever you call self-care, just make sure that it happens so that you are getting some time for yourself.
Next up: prioritizing time with your significant other. Just like you need time on your own, you also need time alone with your spouse. I highly recommend that you go on at least one date night each month - maybe even two, if you can swing it! If going out on a date night is not feasible, then plan a date night at home. Setting aside time to connect with your loved one is very important, or else your relationship will become just about your children and you definitely do not want that to happen.
Act As A Team
If you are a stay at home, or work at home mom, you probably know how easy it can be to get consumed with trying to do it all. Let go of this mindset immediately because you will go nuts trying to accomplish that. And let me tell you something - you cannot do it all alone. Taking care of a baby (especially with breastfeeding, if that is the case for you), is extremely time consuming. It’s more than a full-time job and some days, you just cannot do anything else but run around, taking care of your kids. Your marriage is a team - both of you are capable of helping each other tackle all of the chores and to-do lists. Lose the ‘have to do it all’ mentality and let your significant other help. In fact, ASK for help!
Let Go Of Expectations
In my opinion, one of the hardest parts of parenthood - especially if parenthood is new for you, or if you are adding a kid to the mix - are the expectations that we set for ourselves. We all have an idea of what parenthood (or parenting with multiple kids) is going to look like and without fail, it always ends up being very different from what we expected in some way or another. Even if you feel like you’ve mastered parenting with one kid and decide to add a new kid to the mix, you have to remember that all babies are different and all babies have different needs. The same thing goes for parents. If you let go of the expectations that you set for yourself and you and your spouse are open to just taking it one day at a time compared to thinking that everything will go a certain way, it can help your relationship so much. A great example of this is thinking that something has to be done a certain way. I might handle bedtime or playtime differently than my husband or babysitter does, but it does not mean that it is wrong. Parenting is a team effort and everyone brings their own skills and love language to the table. Instead of expecting them to do bedtime (or whatever it is) a certain way - your certain way, embrace it and try your best to just let go and go with the flow. I know that this is hard, but it works!
Communicate Your Needs
Last but not least, you need to communicate with your partner. And when I say communicate, I do not mean that you need to talk once or twice a day - you need to over communicate your needs, feelings, and thoughts. In order to work as a team and to survive parenthood together, you have to be able to communicate properly with each other. Unfortunately, a lot of couples lack this skill and it leads to one person (or both people) who is extremely stressed out, all of the time. If you find that you are lacking the communication skills within your marriage, I highly recommend going to counseling to improve your marriage and your communication skills within it because effective (and efficient) communication is 100% necessary in every single relationship, romantic and non-romantic alike. Ray of Hope Counseling Services can be that safe haven for you, helping you to learn how to effectively communicate as a couple. They offer therapy Lawrenceville GA, Marietta, Alpharetta, online therapy, and many other locations throughout Georgia, as well. They say, “at Ray of Hope, we have experience in counseling people from different backgrounds. Lots of people have an idea of what relationship counseling is and think that you only need it when things get really bad. But we’re here whenever you need us, no matter what situation you face in your relationship. Even if your problems seem trivial, we can help.” Ray of Hope Counseling Services has an experienced team of professionals that can help you improve your communication within your relationship, helping you tackle parenthood as a team.