Having been married for 12 years before having a family, my husband and I were used to doing whatever we wanted whenever we wanted. Eating out was a weekly occurrence, long road-trip vacations most summers, impromptu weekends away, you name it. We had the luxury, if financial feasible, of doing lots of things. Now that we are parents, we are finding life to be a bit chaotic and tiring. It is all part of the season of parenthood, but it has definitely been an adjustment for both of us. As soon as I step out of bed in the morning, I am going till it is time to climb back in at the end of the day. While it is great for burning calories, it makes for one tired mama!
In order to have time for me, I have to schedule it. In order to have time as a couple, we have to plan for it. That is what brings me to the following list I wrote in hopes of giving some ideas for how to keep sane in the midst of all the chaos. Can everyone find time to do all of these? Probably not. It just contains suggestions and if you can pull a few off the list and put them to use, then that is great. A mama who has been able to relieve some stress is going to fulfill her role more effectively and efficiently.
So, here it is and let me know if you have some other ones I should add to the list!
1. Have one night per month where you get to have a night on the town or even just to head to Target without kiddos. Do the same for your husband as well. Just as much as we moms enjoy a night out, our husbands need time to rejuvenate, too. Trust me, it will be beneficial to both of you if he gets away once in a while to de-stress.
2. Have one date night per month for your husband and you to reconnect. Aim to not talk about the children the whole time. (as hard as that may be!)
3. Don’t feel like you have to be Martha Stewart. “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” Not every dinner has to be 4 courses or even 3. Most nights if I get a protein and a vegetable on the table, I consider that a victory. Clutter is okay. Guess what, the dishes will be there in the morning!
4. Play games as a family and as a couple. Laughter is a great stress reliever. Of course, if you are super competitive, this could result in additional stress!
5. Connect with other moms. Start a babysitting swap with several other moms where one morning per week or month a mom takes all the kids for a few hours so you can run errands, go to lunch, or simply catch up on sleep. Then you rotate.
6. Delegate. Depending on the ages of your children, give them jobs to do. Don’t try to take on everything by yourself. Enlist those under your roof!
7. Ask your husband to watch the kids one night per week for 30 uninterrupted
minutes to allow you to take a bath. Put some Epsom salts and a few drops of essential oils in the bath, light some candles, and feel the stress melt away. You may want to play some music, as well, to drown out the chaos in the other room.
8. Learn to laugh more. Laugh at yourself when you realize you answered the door with yesterday’s makeup still smeared on your face, your hair a mess, and in your ill-fitting pajamas. Think how funny it was for the person on the other side of the door! Laugh at your kids’ antics. Kids do and say some funny things. Learn to let loose and enjoy those moments.
9. Drink LOTS of coffee!
10. Oh, and keep a stash of chocolate for those moments where you think you are going to lose it if a kid screams your name one more time!