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Moms Talk: How to Stay Connected ... To Your Partner

We're all about staying connected to people who are far away, but what about your spouse or partner?

An important part of parenting is being a good role model to our kids in how we handle our relationships. Sometimes the most important relationship to pay attention to is the hardest to find time for ... the one with the other parent!

I never realized how hard this would be when you have young kids. I remember my mom saying, "We work at our marriage now so that we still have something to work at when you are all out of the house and it's just us again." But how do you find time with all of the sports, homework, business travel, work meetings, etc?

When I was young, school-age, we had family dinner every night at 6.  Then, after dinner the kids had to leave the table but my parents stayed for at least half-an-hour. We were not allowed to disturb my parents for this time. When we got older, they went for walks after dinner. 

We used to have neighbors who hired a babysitter every Tuesday night so they could have a weekly date night. We are too cheap for that!  Our solution is to spend about half-an-hour talking after the kids go to bed, but there are of course other options.

How do you carve out "no kids allowed" time for you and your spouse/partner to connect? How important is that time? How adament are you that it happens? How often does it happen?

Robin Jones August 25, 2011 at 02:35 AM
Such a critical topic, Jenny-thanks for writing. My husband and I covet our time together with kids and without! Yet, with three kids the schedules get busier as they get older--it's increasingly harder to go out at night on a "date." It's become more critical for us to be home and around the kids (just when you thought it would get easier as they got older!!) and more importantly, we love being home with them--it's a lot of fun and time is fleeting. Yet, we know how important it is to stay connected emotionally. We do a few different things to make sure we have "our" time-- we have date nights at home--quiet dinners in the dinning room-after the kids go to bed one night a week; we love our early morning wake-up time to chat/snuggle in bed before the kids wake and we send little check-in emails to each other and quick phone calls throughout the work days. We have been married for almost 17 years this fall and I feel even closer and crazier about him now, as I did 17 years ago!
Brooklyn Lowery August 25, 2011 at 07:28 PM
Robin, I love that you feel closer to your husband now than when you first got married. It's always encouraging to read of happy marriages. My husband and I don't have kids yet, but we feel like now is the point in our marriage when we can set some precedent for making time for one another. I'm not suggesting our lives are as busy as those of couples with children, but I do know that it's easy to let things like work, friends, other commitments, etc., eat into the quality time we have together and I can only imagine how kids make that even tougher. One thing we try to do is check in with one another using the "Are you feeling a bit disconnected?" question. If the answer is yes, the top priority becomes finding time to spend together. Sometimes that means saying, "No" to other requests. I suppose that's kind of what Jenny's parents did after the 6 o'clock dinner: They said "no" to the kids for just a few minutes.
Amy Simmons August 26, 2011 at 01:00 PM
It's such a hard thing to find time for just my husband and I. We're in the same boat as Robin where the kids are getting older and actually seem to need us more--coaching, homework help, just running two kids around to different activities keeps us both busy, not to mention work schedules and our own activities. The upside to older kids is that while they may need us more for all of these activities and help, they are also more independent, so if my husband and I are talking or sitting at the table after they've been excused, they can do what they need to do themselves, or if they need help, they understand if we ask them to give us a little while because we're talking and relaxing. Some other things that we've done are to be sure to not have a TV in our room. Our room is OUR space. There's also just one TV in our house with full-on cable, so it also means that if we're relaxing after the kids are in bed and watching TV, we're watching something together and hanging out together. We're also lucky enough to have grandparents who once or twice a year take the kids for a few days so we get to reconnect with dinners out and "just us" time. And for us and for now, this is enough. We know that at some point all too soon the kids won't be here and it'll be just us again, so it's important to remember that relationship between us, but it's also important to cherish the time with our kids and for us, that's our top priority at this point in our lives.
Stefanie Janoff August 26, 2011 at 10:07 PM
I remember when I first got married the advice I was given... 1- Date Night once a week 2- Find 10 minutes together, with NO distractions every day (No TV, No kids, Nothing). 3- Get into bed every night together. Now, I am not saying we have stuck by this incredible advice, but boy when it is action, it truly makes a difference.

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