For Tired Moms
Being a wife and mom and all that goes with that can be pretty exhausting some days (and some seasons). So, here is a collection of ideas, from generous wives everywhere, on how to deal with the busyness and weariness of parenting and still make time for the love of your life (and take care of yourself too). Please feel free to add your ideas as a comment to this page.
We would try everyday, when my husband got home from work and went to change his clothes, to take a few minutes to just go in our room, shut the door and discuss our days. Some days it was just not possible, some days we got only 2 minutes until a baby cried or a toddler came looking for us, other days we would get 30 minutes or more. A few times we were up there so long we ordered a pizza from there!! Obviously as the kids get older, you can squeeze in more time, but even a few minutes a day helps to reconnect.
I am a busy mom of 4 and work full time. My husband is a sports fanatic. If he isn’t playing, he is watching. I have learned a lot about the games he enjoys and spend time with him while he watches. I don’t necessarily watch the game, but I do make sure I do whatever it is I am doing in the same room as him. I feel this blesses both of us. He also has someone to “High Five” when there is a great play!
We have four boys: 13, 6, 5, and 4 so taking time for ourselves has been very important. Over the years we’ve had to come up with some creative ways to get babysitting as money has been tight. One thing we did that worked really well was that we observed some of the couples in our church who are our age and have young kids. When we found a couple that was similar to us in parenting styles: discipline, TV / no TV, junk food / no junk food, etc. we asked them if they would like to trade off on date nights. For a period of about two years, we got free babysitting every other Tuesday night. On the Tuesday nights that weren’t our date night, we watched our friends’ kids. This worked very well! It has backfired on us though when we’ve asked parents who aren’t similar to us in parenting style so I think that part is very important.
I have three children, ages 4, 7, and 9. My husband is a preacher who works out of his home office so we are both here all day some days to deal with the kids. On those days we’re both exhausted by the time we get the little ones in bed. What I enjoy more than anything is just climbing into a steaming hot tub and leaning back against him. Nothing sexual intended – but I must admit, by the time we get out of the tub, I am more than ready to “bless” my husband.
One of the things I remember from those busy days when our children were small was taking a drive in the car with babies and toddlers in their car seats. We would then go through a drive through and order coffee and talk while we drove around. Sometimes the kids would fall asleep making it even better! I guess we were desperate but it seemed to bring us closer and created a respite in the busy day. I had twins at the time so just having them out of my arms was good for a while.
The best thing that works for my family is a consistent schedule. We have always had the boys in bed at 8:00. Now they are older (both 11 years old) they go in their rooms at 8:00 with lights on. They read or study quietly (no TV or video games). Lights out at 9:00, when they were little it was prayers and straight to bed at 8:00, then lights out at 8:30 but as they are older it is 9:00 and we probably won’t change that until later in the teen years. There are times they gripe about the rules because their friends get to stay up as late as they want. But their parents do not get time to themselves and we do. They know they do not leave their room past the 8:00 time and are allowed one potty break just before 9:00. This time allows me and my husband time to relax, watch a show or just cuddle. A consistent schedule could work for every family at various times. I also delay “video game time” until when I expect my husband home from work. That way when he comes home they are focused in their rooms having fun. After their 30 minutes is up my husband and I have already had our “how was your day” talk. The boys come out then and get quality time with dad just before dinner. This is very easy to do. Trust me; I am not a type A personality so a rigid schedule was not my game plan in the beginning. But seeing the wonderful benefits, I recommend it to all young mothers starting out.
I certainly understand about the small children and no time for hubby. With my youngest at 7 years old now, and the oldest of 7 at 21 years old, I would do things differently if I had a chance.
Enlist all the help you can get. Get several people or families that would be willing to take (any number) of the kids for even one day or night on a regular basis. ASK. People are usually delighted to help but they don’t know how.
Consider bottle feeding when baby is 2 or 3 months old. The child will not die of neglect! I breastfed all 7 for 1 to 2 years, except one. This was an enormous drain on energy and time, and took its toll on the marriage relationship. The child I had to wean at 10 months did just fine with the bottle, then cup. This will give you back your energy and more time for your husband, and he can feed the little one too.
Ask a teenager or retiree to come and clean your house once a week. They could do it for the Lord, or if the budget allows, you could pay them. Vacuum, clean kitchen, bathrooms, put all clutter into baskets … this could take less than an hour but will certainly relieve stress for you. Less stress for you means more romance time with your husband.
If logistics make it possible, ask someone who might need a ministry to come in and do your laundry every other day. Stop being so proud and let people help. It’s reward in heaven for them!!
Make a conscious effort to feel sexy and delight your husband. Every day, shower and put on makeup. Let some chore go so you can do this. Get rid of the frumpy sack-like clothes. Even if your shape is big (or lumpy, or saggy), hit the Thrift Shop and get jeans or dark pants or skirts that fit. Then get some pretty blouses. Wear a little jewelry, even for everyday. Get a couple of lacy intimates and wear them to bed. Don’t reject his advances. Dump the flannel nightgowns. Who thinks those are cute!! When your husband thinks of ‘sexy’, YOU come to mind, not the woman at the office.
Stop hollering at your kids. Years back, when I felt loss of control, my voice would get louder and louder. Make a conscious effort to speak softly, even whisper, to the kids. Expect less of them….perfectionistic moms grate on the nerves of the husband. Shrill voices and a ‘corner of the rooftop” go hand in hand. Enlist your husband for half an hour in the evenings to get some kids ready for bed. Wink at him or whisper in his ear that it will be to BOTH you benefits. Make their bedtimes early. Don’t let them up after 7 p.m and you and your husband will have time to connect.
If you are a homeschooling mom, realize that you often cannot be all things to all your children. I homeschooled for 15 years and this past year our kids went out to school. Several went to public school (the devil has not eaten them up, much to my delight!), several went to christian school. Whatever your situation dictates, know that God is in control. I can finally think straight and am not a ‘frazzled weary mom.” My relationship with my husband and children too, is better than ever, and, at almost 50, our sex life is unbelievably beautiful. Trust God and remember that you are a wife first. “…the marriage bed is undefiled…”
Now that you have a little more time, read a couple good books or websites on sexual technique. Investigate intimate marital aids, and use them. Your husband will thank you for it! And it just might save your marriage.
Just prior to dinner time can be an exhausting time for women, especially who have cared for young children all day. Suggestion: get the kids settled (maybe pop in a Christian video or something they enjoy, but make them wait to watch it during this time), have dinner simmering and lock yourself away for 15 minutes. Making this a discipline every day helps keep the routine. During this time, light a candle, listen to relaxing music, turn off the lights and pull the blinds or meditate on Scripture. The point is — give yourself 15 minutes of down time in transitioning from the demands of the day to the demands of the evening. :)
My husband is not a morning person. Before we had children, I would often take him something to eat while he was still in bed. It would give him the “boost” he needed to get up and start his day. After our little ones came, I let that little kindness fall by the wayside.
Recently, I started the “breakfast in bed” routine again. I realized that taking him a piece of toast or a bowl of cereal in bed didn’t take much effort if I prepared it along with the children’s breakfast. Plus, my 3-year-old girl LOVES taking Daddy his breakfast. So, I’m blessing my husband and teaching my daughter the joy of serving all at the same time!
When I’m exhausted and sitting down to fold laundry or whatever in the evenings, I fill a basin of very warm water and soak my feet while I sit – it’s amazing how it relaxes you!
A tip I have (as a mom of 3 young children and 1 more on the way!) is to take 10 minutes for yourself before your husband gets home from work. I’ve read this in many books but didn’t put it into practice until recently. “I’m already tired, drained, and worn out … I don’t feel like DOING anything else!” That was the way my thinking went.
When I started taking 10 minutes to pray, freshen up my makeup, put on some lightly scented lotion and a spritz of perfume, and change into something a little more wife-like (instead of mommy attire), I felt a fresh surge of energy. It’s been amazing! I highly recommend women try this for a week just to see the difference it will make in their physical, spiritual, & emotional energy level. How true it is that when our attitude says “give” we receive so much more.
My husband and I have a 6 year old with severe Autism and mental retardation. We don’t leave him very often for these reasons. So night time, after he and his sister have gone to bed, has become our couple time and catch up time. He goes to bed at 7 so I spend the first hour doing things I need to catch up on like laundry, email and so on. My husband does the same. Then we come together and do something we like. Sometimes I make a special snack for the two of us and we have it in bed on our bed trays or we make decaf coffee and sit in the living room and pretend we are at Starbucks. Sometimes we watch a movie or play a game. It all depends on what we feel like doing. This has helped us greatly as a couple because the demands during the day often pull us apart.
Here is something fun that we did one night. My husband was born in Brazil so we chose Brazil, but you could really choose ANY country. We had Brazil night! During the day while he was at work, we cleared out the living room of furniture and spread a picnic blanket and set up for a “beach party.” I made three Brazilian dishes for dinner and a Brazilian desert (yummy flan!) and then when my husband got home we changed into bathing suits and started the Brazilian music we downloaded. We ate dinner on the picnic blanket and then played a mini game of soccer (but you could choose any ethnic game). Then we put the kids to bed. And I took him into our room where I had previously set up a bunch of pillows covered by beach towels (and locked the kids out of) and shells and had put out a bottle of massage oil. (He had gotten to see all this while changing into his bathing suit but was not allowed to touch it…i think it intrigued him. =) I had borrowed a heat lamp from some friends, and so I just had him lay down on the towels in his bathing suit and gave him a romantic massage! I had also made smoothies ahead of time just to cool us down at this point! It was really fun and the kids still want another “Brazil Night” and I don’t think my husband would mind either. =)
Develop a consistent early bedtime. My husband and I have 4 children (11, 9, 5, 4) the smaller children are bathed and in the bed between 8:15 and 8:30 and the older two by 9:00 p.m. All other family members know that after 9:00 p.m. we don’t answer the phone and at times we’ve just let people ring the door bell. That’s our time together when we talk, watch a little TV or just hold each other and drift off to sleep.
My daughter loves children, and when she was in junior high, she would offer young moms her services to just come over and play with her children. She called herself a “mother helper” and the mom was still there, but with someone else there to play with and keep watch over her children, she was able to do something for herself – take a bath, do her nails, fix dinner, etc. My daughter gained valuable experience for being a baby sitter later, and the mom had confident time to herself without worrying about the safety or condition of her children (since she was still there in the house). Sometimes the moms would pay her a minimal amount; sometimes she would just donate her time as a ministry. A valuable experience for both daughter and mom. Ask around the church. I’m sure there are other daughters who would love to get into this “mother helper” ministry.
I recommend On Becoming Baby Wise (TGW caution: While I respect a parent’s right to train their children as they see fit, I must share that I have concerns with Ezzo’s methodology. If you read this book, please do so with caution.). My children have all slept through the night by 5 weeks old using their method. For a sleepy mom with more than one kid, it is a life saver.
My “energy” tip is this: when kids are napping, utilize this as your quiet time. Time alone with the Lord and resting is time well spent!
Also, sit down with hubby and actually share your schedule that you have been consistently doing … and request his wisdom in ordering your life.
Be flexible with your visions of time together … I always pictured what my parents did, which was talking together in bed in the morning while drinking coffee and reading their Bibles … my husband sleeps until the last possible minute, wakes up to a sermon on the radio, doesn’t drink coffee, and dashes out the door. We have seven kids, age 1-13, and our time together is precious and rare. So I make it a point to go into the bathroom to talk to him while he’s in the shower.
And everyone should read Created to be His Helpmeet by Debbie Pearl! Love that book! (TGW caution: I have significant difficulty with much of the Pearl’s writings, so I feel that I need to add a caution. If you read this book, please do so with your brain in gear.)
The most important advice that I can give is make sure your children know who is the boss in your families until they are totally self supporting. Our children are grown and we have been blessed with Christian spouses for our Christian children. Thank the Lord. Lots of money, time and love went in to raising them, but my husband and I were almost always consistent. Work work work till Jesus comes. You will turn around and they will be grown. Enjoy Enjoy Enjoy …
I also had four children (the youngest is heading off to college now) each one and a half to two years apart. We handled the problem of together time by setting an early bed time for the kids. They were in bed by 8 p.m. which gave us time together. I was a stay at home mom and my husband worked 3rd shift so we had time with the kids earlier in the day. I know working moms are sometimes picking up the kids at 6 and then have to make dinner so it won’t work for everyone.
Leave post-it notes of affirmation around (on bathroom mirror, in briefcase, etc.).
Buy ready-made dessert and share it as soon as the kids are asleep at night – or have a pizza delivered for a late dinner.
Sit outside after dark (next to the baby monitor).
Wake up in the middle of the night for couple time, then go back to sleep before the alarm goes off.
Make getting the kids to bed a priority.
Go somewhere with a playplace like McDonalds or a park with a surrounding fence so the older ones can play and you can talk with husband with less interruptions.
Drive together and talk (great if the kids go to sleep in the car (naptime/bedtime) or you have a DVD player).
Smile when you first see each other – do your eyes light up when he walks in the room?
Two twenty-second kisses each day.
Take care of yourself so you have something left to give, and remember everyone longs to feel appreciated.
If you can afford it, get some help with mundane things like housework, so you have more energy and time to enjoy your family and don’t spend the time you do have together doing housework. If you can’t afford it, catch up on it another day.
Pair up with another family and trade off sitting. My hubby and I get to go out every other week, and on the off week they get to have a game or movie night with friends (so we still get a bit of time with each other). Even though our oldest are now able to babysit we still switch off now and then so they can have buddy time.
Take grandparents up on watching the kids, or maybe adopt a set of grandparents from church who you respect and ask them if they would be able to watch the kids. We have many seniors at church who don’t have grandkids living near and cherish the opportunity to have adopted some.
Hire a young lady from church who is not yet able to babysit alone to come and play with the kids while you get things done around the house or take a nap so you are ready for your DH when he gets home. I’ve found that 11-13 year old girls love playing with the little ones, and if they get $5 for getting to play for a few hours they are really excited. Some may want to just do it for free. You are freed up to do things and they are learning the responsibilities of taking care of little ones.
Our DHs appreciate a happy rested wife more than a spotless house.
My husband and i take post-it notes and write “surprise, I love you” on them. Then we hide them in easy to find places for the other to discover later (ie, the silverware drawer, inside the car, on his toothbrush, on the computer…). It takes little emotional effort and the message still warms the heart. Sometimes we will attach a small gift with it too like a new pair of his favorite socks, a nerf football, or his favorite snack/candy bar. It has worked well for us.
I remember when I had three under 7 and how busy life was. The best thing for me (and therefore my husband) was an evening to myself. I would plan a few hours to eat dinner alone, shop at Walmart, or even grocery shop alone. Sometimes it would be a dinner out with friends. But I always came home re-energized Sit your husband down and let him know how important it is for you. I would do it once every 4-6 weeks, and it was wonderful, some moms might be able to do it more often. But I often found scheduling time for myself was more beneficial for both of us than planning alone time with each other.
I have 5 children ranging in age from 3 months to 8 years and one of the things my husband and I do (not that we like doing it, but it has to be done) is fold the washing together.
No, doesn’t sound very romantic, but it’s a time when we can have very meaningful conversations about just stuff. The children usually stay away just in case we might ask them to help.
This is something really simple, but it means a lot to us. My husband is a bi-vocational pastor (40 hr week at regular job and 24/7 as pastor) and we have two little ones in the house (homeschooling too!). Time is always our greatest challenge and our greatest prayer request :)
We meet each evening on the couch at 10:30 or 11 – whichever time works best for him with sermon prep. We cuddle up and visit or watch a short video or discuss something or have sex. :) The best thing is just knowing that that time is there for just us.
This is more for the parents of teen-aged daughters, but it has everything to do with tired moms of many young ones. Making sure our daughters are taught to be servants from the earliest age puts them in a position when they are older of being incredible blessings to moms in need of help. Our daughters are familiar with most of the “ins and outs” of managing a household not only through my training them to be homemakers in our own home, but also by their staying with multiple children for a few days while their mom was giving birth to another blessing, or while mom and dad took a couple of days for themselves. They recently spent 4 days at the home of a couple that just had baby #7. Both the mom and dad were home during this time, and my girls were able to give them lots of needed rest while keeping the other children in tow, preparing meals, and keeping the house in order.
We need to keep our eyes and ears open to these needs, offering help when appropriate as well as making sure these moms know our daughters are available.
I am a stay at home mom with a very active two and a half year old boy and a very talkative four and a half year old girl. When my two and a half goes for his nap, I send my four and a half either to her room or downstairs (where the playroom is) for her “quiet time” so she can either read or play quietly while that gives me at least an hour or two to do whatever I need to do or just relax. Whatever I need for that day. Sometimes I take a nap, other times I read my bible or other favourite book. Some days I do dishes (because I know my DH appreciates it when he doesn’t have to come home and do them). When the kids go to bed at night and my DH is working a late shift, I either watch some TV or do some crafts that I enjoy. Basically, I try to utilize whatever spare time is given to me.
My idea is to truly get childcare for an evening or two a month from a church member or family member. It is hard to give up your children sometimes, but keeping your relationship going with your spouse and giving the children a “fun time” away from mom and dad are worth it.
I am a mother of four. When my youngest was born, my other children were ages 2 ½, 5 and 6. I have really made an effort to keep my marriage a priority and here are a few of the things that I do.
First thing is to read Intimate Issues, I believe Lori has recommended this recently. Some friends and I did this as a Bible study and prayer group. It changed my marriage and that of some of my friends as well. Next, God has wired my husband with a high sex drive and he needs frequent activity so; I have talked to him and told him how important it is to me that I meet his needs, but that I am frequently exhausted by the end of the day. I told him that I would always be available to him, but it would really help me if he did not pressure me for an earth shattering experience every night or expect me to experience orgasm as well. I also told him that some nights I’m just beat and he would need to do most of the work if anything was going to happen. Also, if you ever get an opportunity for a day time rendezvous, take it. You will be more awake and you may get to go to sleep that night undisturbed by your man’s advances. Meeting this basic need of his made my whole life better because he is such a happier man when provided for and it really takes so little time.
The other thing we do is a regular date night. With four children, babysitting fees can really add up, so we trade with another family. One Friday I will watch their kids while they go out and the next Friday, they watch our kids while we go out. Since we are trading, there is not the expense of a sitter. We do this every week, so not only are we getting about 2 dates a month with each other, we are helping another tired mom and her man spend some time alone too.
Please don’t think it is impossible to get through this stage, by the grace of God, I have been practicing these thing myself for about 5 years. When my husband’s friends complain about their wives or their sex life it is so great to hear my husband say, “have her talk to my wife”. It lets me know that by following God’s plan for marriage, I’m getting it right and my husband is pleased.
I have three children and the two youngest are a year apart. Time away from the kids can be helpful to rejuvenate together as a couple. I am fortunate to have a mother-in-law that is willing to care for our kids at least twice a month for us to go out to dinner. If we don’t have the convenience of a sitter, we have to improvise. Making sure the kids are in bed early and having a quiet dinner together at home.
I have 3 kids (6, 3 and 9 months) and for several months after the first one I struggled with wanting sex at all – I was so tired and it hurt, etc. My husband said he would be happy for me to just pleasure him and I felt so relieved! It was enough for him for release but also helped him know that I cared about him and wasn’t rejecting him when I didn’t want sex.
I think putting notes – even a sticky on the mirror, etc- around for him to see that tell him how much I respect him for working so I can stay home, or how he’s doing a great job as a father really go along way to loving him without a ton of effort. He knows how tired I am and how much work really goes into being a mom so I think even a little goes a long way.
This one I’ll steal from a friend – they decided that Tuesday evening after the kids were in bed was their in home date night. So on Tuesday they always work extra hard at getting the kids to bed on time and don’t watch TV or schedule anything else – they just spend time together.
I had 3 daughters in just over 3 years. My husband at the time was not helpful to say the least. So I learned to take any help that was offered. I stopped thinking it was a burden and just accepted it. The seven-year-old is old enough to help with some little things. I always made my children clean up their own toys from the time they learned to walk. If you make it fun, then it’s not so much a chore. You need to take care of yourself. It’s easy enough to neglect yourself I know. If you have family or friends willing to take some or all of the children just for a short time even, so you and your spouse can have some time together. A date is always great!
My husband and I work really hard to get the kids to bed consistently by 8 pm. Not only do we feel that it’s good for them because they’re getting enough sleep, but it also provides time for us to spend together. Mostly we take care of the stuff that needs our attention or veg in front of the TV, but on some nights one of us will plan something special. Usually its something as simple as movie night at home where we pop popcorn, buy movie type treats, and rent something we’ve both been waiting to see. Sometimes though I’ll pick up a bottle of sparkling cider while I’m at the grocery store along with some seasonal fruit and while he’s tucking in the girls I’ll light the fire and pour the cider into very pretty wine glasses and prepare the fruit, maybe some cheese and crackers, and we’ll just relax by the fire and talk. It can be very romantic!
I also think it’s very important for moms to take care of themselves. At our house Sunday night is my night off. After dinner I get to do what I want and my husband takes over. I usually will take a nice long bath and do all those beauty things that I don’t have time for during the week. Before I had a bath tub I would close the bedroom door, put on a face mask, and catch up on some reading. Not only do I feel refreshed after my weekly break, but it also reminds me every week how blessed I am to have an understanding husband. It makes me want to live generously!
We have 8 children, 2 married, 6 at home, ages 17-3. Over the years we’ve had many different seasons. Right now we’re in a tough one, as we’ve changed our family business some, and our finances are reflecting that change. Oh fun … not! some of the things we’ve done, especially when we have babies, my dh makes sure he gets up and changes the baby, and brings him/her to bed so I can nurse. My dh realizes that this makes all the difference in the amount of sleep I can get. He knows since I’m going full speed all day, he puts in more at night so I’m not burned out. He also has made allowence to make sure he’s here early morning so I can walk, and shower before he goes to the ranch. Some seasons we change this to us walking at night, with or without children. Because we live in the country, sometimes a nice evening walk is what “blows the stink off” as grandma said. Tempers and attitudes change dramatically just by changing the view. I allow him the chance to play golf, etc. what he needs every couple weeks, and I get together with the girls, as needed. He knows sometimes that means a really really long phone call without disruptions to a girlfriend that lives far away, or my mom, or sisters that also live in other states. Sometimes we’ll go to McDonald’s and let the kids play on the toys for a long time while we talk, and get the hamburgers to go, kids eat on the way home. This allows the kids to run and burn energy so they are really tired and go straight to bed. DH and I used to make sure we had date nights, but at this season we’re both going to school, and life is overly busy so we grab a moment here and there, i.e. go to town to make bank deposit, go to ranch to check things, whatever we can. We live close to a lake so sometimes we go there and watch the sunset. This is reminding me of alot we haven’t done in awhile because life is way too busy! Well, dh just came in and needs me to pay bills! lol! Another date time oh boy! lol! hugs
This is really a suggestion for the husbands with wives and kids. I’m still trying to figure out myself how to balance kids, husband, home and me (I have 2 kids, but want 4). One thing my husband did that really help was that he took my firstborn out of town over night when I had our second child. It was about a week after she was born and we were all exhausted. He had to go out of town and volunteered to take our son. It was so incredible to be able to sleep and take naps with the baby and bond with her without our 2 year old demanding my attention all day and being jealous. It revived me and I was glad to see them back and had so much more love to give after my little reprieve. I told him that that would be his gift for me with each new child that he had to take all the other kids away for a 24 hour period so that I could just be with the newborn, rest and not have to make meals, do house or other child issues.
Take a NAP!
Institute a regular quiet time rule/schedule for 60-90 minutes a day. Kids nap, older kids can quietly read a book. Mom MUST rest too…have a cup of tea, do something relaxing, read a book or magazine but do NOT over exert yourself or try to get chores done in this time. This will refresh mom & reserve energy for DH later.
ALSO: my favorite thing: is my CROCKPOT! Find some good recipes (you can make more than soup) & you can start everything in the morning & forget about it till dinner time. It’s warm & ready to serve. No more dinner time rush & frazzle.
I hid post-it notes in obvious places with messages related to where they were placed. For example he waters “my” dog everyday, so in the water pitcher the note said “my heart thirsts for” on his pillow it said “I’ll be dreaming of you.” You can be very creative with this.
I have 3 kids under 6. One thing that works well for my husband and I is to make Friday night our date night. Occasionally we’ll get a sitter, but usually we date at home. I stay at home with the kids, so on Fridays I try to keep them really active so they’ll go to bed a little early. We’ll feed them dinner early and one of us puts them to bed while the other makes dinner – take out or something I’ve either prepped ahead or is a quick fix.
Once the kids are down, we have a nice adult dinner – candles, adult beverages, nice dishes etc. After dinner we might watch a movie, play a game or go through the book of questions. We take turns planning date night.
Other simple things I do are to send notes in his briefcase or quick one line emails. When he travels for work, I try to have a note or card or picture from the kids for each night he’s away. I’ve been known to tuck a piece of lingerie in his suitcase (in a padded envelope) too. Little things to remind him that I’m thinking of him, love him and miss him.
My husband and I alway traded babysitting with another couple that we really trust. They would keep our kids once a month and then we would switch. It worked out great. We had 4 children and they had 4 children.
I have two young children 5 and almost 2 and one on the way. Some of the things I do are feeding the kids early and then putting them in the tub together while we have dinner. Obviously won’t work with infants but then a little while afterwards the girls go to bed together and we get some more time to ourselves.
When my girls were very young, I would fall asleep on the couch early and my poor husband got no time from me. I learned to take naps with my toddlers so that I could be more receptive to him later in the day. I didn’t always get everything done, but my husband was so thrilled that I wasn’t asleep that he didn’t mind a messy house. I also noticed that I could wake up after 30 minutes or so, slide out of bed without waking my girls and get some chores done while they slept on. A 30 minute nap worked wonders on my attitude and gave me more patience with everyone.
Now that they are older, I still take a nap now and then. I enjoy them. Plus, once in a while, my husband comes home in the afternoon and he “naps” with me!!
I am now a grandma, but when my children were little, one thing that helped everyone tremendously was to have a regular bed time for the children…the same time every night and early enough so you and hubby can have a little quiet time after the kids go to bed. My suggestion is to always read them a few stories before bed and spend quality time with them for about 1/2 to 1 hour before their bedtime. Then hopefully when they go to bed they stay there. I realize this is an ideal and of course it doesn’t always work, but with planning it can do wonders.
A mom’s job is to take care of herself first so she can take care of the others as well as her husband. If he is needing to be “loved” on then use some massage cream and love on him. If he doesn’t like that thought then he can think of something else she CAN do. But she needs to take care of herself or she won’t be able to take care of the others. Two, take a nap when the others nap. Three, you have to let some things go (for instance, the house isn’t as clean as normal or have the two older kids help with the folding of their laundry and have them put it up. They can also help put the clean dishes away – my kids like to do that). Four, he can sit behind her on the bed while she nurses or feeds the baby. That way he gets snuggle time and is part of the process. Fifth, he can take over the bedtime routine and when he is done reading books, brushing teeth, changing diapers, getting pj’s on, getting the kids to pick up their rooms/toys. Also remember he isn’t going to do anything like she does and it is ok. Tell him thanks, give him a big hug and relax. Do a little something special for him, make his favorite dessert, meal, put folded socks in the drawer, something so that he knows you are thinking of him and love him. Write a little note and leave it in a place he will find.
My kids are 2, 4, 6 1/2 and 8 1/2. I had to do it. There wasn’t any choice for me. In some ways there still isn’t. Pregnancy and nursing the last two took sooo much from me energy wise as well as health. Migraines started up more frequent during the last pregnancy as well as during the nursing time (he nursed 17 months). Communication with your mate and letting go of the things you can’t control as well as praying for the strength to do what you need to do that day. There were some days I told my husband that I was sorry for not doing much of anything. The kids were fed, clothed and taken care of, he didn’t care about the rest. My husband is and was very understanding and supportive during the few months after having a baby as well as now.
We are fortunate to have family nearby and they are able to baby sit from time to time. I’ve also noticed that the times that I’ve worked hard to show my husband love and serve him, he responds by serving me. Win-win.
When my boys were little, I often had a sitter come in to help me on Friday afternoons so I could make date night for Friday night. The sitter would play with the boys while I fixed my husband a favorite meal. Usually this was one of his mom’s recipes. The sitter would bathe the boys slightly early and we would feed them a wholesome snack. When my husband came home, the boys would spend some time with Dad, he would tuck them in a little early while I put his dinner on the table, previously set. Then I had a date with my husband as I served him his favorite beer, meal, and candlelight. The boys looked forward to time playing with the sitter and would often ask, “is Friday night date night with Daddy?” I hope they will carry on the same tradition. My boys are grown and gone. One is newly married, the other single but Friday night is still date night with my husband.
Make time for short dates and ask someone to watch the babies for a few hours every two weeks. Take the time to nap together, go out for a simple dinner and a nice evening walk or take in a movie. Find other couples with young children and take turns giving each other a break. Ask friends and family to come help take care of kids at home or ask them to take the kids out so couple can rest, relax or work on projects at home they need to finish together.
If Dad is willing and able, ask him to take the kids for ½ or overnight so mom can rest at girlfriend’s for one night or afternoon of napping at home while dad takes kids out.
I have 4 children ages 11 months to 4 years (and another one on the way). There are a couple of things that we have done. First off, Dad is always top priority and the children are told this. Now I know if you have a hungry baby you need to feed them so there are times when Dad has to wait, but whenever possible he is first and the children know it. It’s important for children to realize that mom is a wife first, mom second. That also makes it so the dh doesn’t feel like he’s lost his wife to his children. A set bedtime is important and it needs to be made early enough that mom and dad can spend some time together before it gets too late. I train our children right from a couple of months old that bedtime is at 8:00. They all go down at the same time and that gives us an hour or two before we go to bed to do whatever we want … whether it’s watching a movie together, talking, reading together, etc. A date now and then is a good idea too. Get a babysitter and go out for a couple of hours. It’s refreshing and builds up your relationship in a valuable way.
My husband and I have found several ways to connect with our now 21 month old bundle of love:
1. Living Room of Love: tea lights all around, all our comforters and pillows on the floor, sweet music, a small plate of chocolates. Even if I am exhausted, I can still light candles, slip into a lacy nightie, and my husband takes it from there!
2. Mornings for myself: I stay at home with our babe, and each morning work in my art studio from 6-9am (ideally). My husband enjoys breakfast with our daughter before work. Having my mind to myself, and my needs considered gives me energy to give back!
3. Dates: we order pizza for our daughter and her (single) uncle, and get dressed up to go see a movie or an exhibition before bed. A quick adult break means so much.
A couple things I have done and still do occassionally to help my husband feel special when life is horrendous…
– I’ll pack his lunch and stick in a love note every once in awhile.
– If I was out running errands or on my way home from the sitter’s I’d run by his work and put a love note on his seat in the car.
– On bedrest I’d have the laptop on my lap all day I’d send him emails reminding him how much I loved him and appreciated his patience with my immobileness.
– When he’d be leaving or coming home without me there I’d write a note with dry erase markers on the mirror in our bathroom.
– Make his favorite dish for suppe.r
– Arrange for a night out or a night in with no kids and allow extra time to pamper yourself with a bath or nail painting to feel pretty.
I have only one daughter right now and there are still many days when I feel overwhelmed. This tip is one I got from someone else. One mom who has several kids checks them into the child care at the YMCA and instead of exercising, finds a quiet place to read and relax. This way, she gets some time to recharge herself while knowing her kids are safe. Of course, exercising is also a great way to recharge and can give us the extra energy we need for our husbands at the end of the day (as well as for our many household tasks).
One thing we do with another family from our church is swap sitting and overnights with our kids, we only have one 15 mo old and one soon to be here, but our friends have 4 under 7, but we keep an extra change of clothes for both our kids at each other’s house, and toothbrushes, and it works great, cause then we don’t have to spend the money that neither of us has for babysitting, and we can just at a moments notice, swap kids for an afternoon, evening, or overnight! We have an extra bed set up at our house, and a few extra crib mattresses in my son’s closet, so they are out of the way, but super easy to pull out, and then a trunk of blankets and extra pillows for the kids. It has been a life saver for both of our marriages, to give us that time. Also, this same girlfriend and I will take 1-2 weeks every other month or so, and spend 1-3 days at one house, then the next 1-3 days at the others house, and get our deep cleaning done that way, so the kids can play, we get our female chat time in, and both of our houses get clean and stay somewhat organized! Also, for another break to rejuvenation we will watch each other’s kids for the other to go grocery shopping, which is the most exhilarating thing to do alone and kidless! I always do my makeup in the car before I enter the store, and wear something I feel cute in, then enjoy my hour of peaceful grocery shopping, and pick out something special to make to bless my husband – ribs, steak, or even a treat like his own ice cream or a package of cookies. I feel so refreshed after my hour, that I’m good to go for my hubby when he gets home, and I can’t wait to share my little gift with him!
I remind my husband that in this season of life, the best “foreplay” is when he takes the kids out, or wrestles with the kids while I rest or shower or whatever.
Babysitting co-ops are good. If you have a couple close neighbors or friends who also have small children, you can make a schedule for the 2 or 3 families. One Friday, you get all the children, while the other 2 couples go out (or do whatever). And the next 2 Fridays, you will have to yourselves. No out of pocket expense, but some quality time alone.
What my husband and I did and still do is to get each of our son’s God parents or someone we truly trust to come in to our home and watch our 4 year old once a month and use that time to get away even if it’s just for water ice (depending on the budget). When we schedule it correctly between the God parents and my sister in law, we can get up to 3 to 4 date nights a month. Not to sound too cheap, but when we get invited to a wedding or birthday or something, we use that as a date night as well. I mean, dinner is not on us and neither is the entertainment and it will only cost us a gift. The idea is to be creative and enjoy a night out without worrying about the kids (if you get the right baby sitter) and the budget.
We have young children (3 yr old and 10 month old). We started putting aside 30 minutes one day a week to spend alone time together. It’s hard since he works 2 jobs and these kids just don’t know when to go to sleep and all the usual drama. During our alone time we may just sit and watch a movie (which is a feat since our tv is usually on Discovery Kids), go to the movies, read, have a romantic dinner at home (trying to save money), or sex (if we both have the energy). It’s hard, but thank God the kids won’t be small forever!
As a mom of 4 young children (ages 1 ½ – 7 ½), my husband and I have had to be creative and adaptive to find ways to spend romantic time together. Since we can’t always afford a babysitter, we often take advantage of our time after the kids go to bed. We have also adjusted their bedtime to be earlier because our time together is a priority. Then we will take this time to prepare a special meal together for just the two of us so we can talk, relax and be adults!
I have three boys, ages 4, 2 and 3 months; we live in a small house and all share one bedroom. I have had to get very creative to find time alone for my husband. I finally realized that sometimes by allowing the children to be entertained by a movie for an hour or so first thing in the morning, I can spend that time with my husband. I’ve had to overcome my hang ups about children being babysit by movies, and use it sometimes so that I can make my husband number one priority. I think sometimes us moms with young kids have to get over our hangups about what will damage our children, and remember that our marriage and husband MUST be number one priority. It is also very important to find the time and money to get a babysitter and get some time alone together.
My husband and I are relief Missionaries cleaning up after Katrina on the Gulf Coast. We coordinate teams of volunteers to repair homes, work with local churches in the community, etc. I also homeschool our two treasures, who are 7 and 5. My husband is gone from home 16 hours a day, and for any of us to see him, we have to go either to the team housing site or the job sites. You see where I’m going with this… One thing we USED to do faithfully (IE: before God sent us here,) and still try to do occasionally is have our Saturday nights designated as date nights. Because church starts early on Sunday, we send our girls to bed early, make popcorn and smoothies, and watch the “Brit-coms” on public broadcasting. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s OURS, we love it, and we’ve seen them over so many times that we wind up talking through half of it anyway. It’s cheap, too, but priceless. We also ride 1 1/2 hours to the airport in New Orleans on a weekly basis, and while the kids drowse away in the back seats of the 16 passenger van, we have some really great conversations. I’m not saying this is anything like enough, but we take what we can get, and recognize that this is only a season of our lives. In short, so long as your geographically together, there is always time if you’re willing to make it.
I have 12 children. When everyone was younger, you had rest time on your bed/bedroom for an hour or two. Reading, CD listening, or sleep! You need to make sure you rest at the same time. One hour can rejuvinate you into the evening.
I can think of a million things that made life difficult when my four children were little: moved often because of husband employment, homeschooled, directed church choir – basically allowed myself to be stressed out. Allowing yourself to be stressed is a major “No, No!” when you are raising little children. If you are doing more than one thing a day (doctor’s appointment, errand, birthday party, grocery shop, etc…), you are doing too much and your relationship with your children will suffer. I would also advise putting the kids to bed early (and making them stay there) so that you can get a bath in the evenings and spend time with the love of your life. For me it was sooo hard to even find time to bathe. Being refreshed in the evenings might help you feel like being intimate. I would also recommend a ridiculously early bed time for the children – 8:00 PM for small children and 9:00 PM for older (well, maybe they just have to be in their rooms until lights out.) That way you have established a time that you are done being a mommy and you are ready to have some time for yourself and your husband. If your husband knows you are getting ready for him, he might help get the kids down or do dishes. By the way, the dishes can wait until morning. I promise they won’t run away. Only problem is that they breed while in the sink.
I have 4 children 7 and under with one more coming in September. Whew! Early in our marriage I had a very hard time taking care of myself or my DH. A few things I learned that have revolutionised my marriage:
Growing up I thought that a Mama’s #1 responsibility was to love and care for the children. Later I learned that God wants me to first be a helpmeet to my husband and then to my children. This has helped me, my children, and my DH.
DH used to be so disappointed that I couldn’t make the home nice and neat and kept up like he grew up (he was like an only child). It took a few years even to talk about it. After we opened up about his feelings I told him that I can’t do it all – all of the time – and I asked him to write down what was most important to him to always be done (I am a stay at home mom). I put most of my effort to those things and then I found that I was able to do more because it created a system for me.
Sexually we had hard times also due to his work hours and the many small children and fluxes of pregnancy. When he started to show that this frustrated him I started to take naps and have a shower before he came home. I tried to think about making love to him in the morning so my mind wouldn’t be full of baby, laundry, and dinner. It was hard at first and I resented that I had to “focus” so hard on it. As our relationship got better I had to think about it less and it became more natural. Then we took a marriage course called Dynamic Marriage that further allowed us to talk about things that were important in our marrige and the closeness that we got from it has us acting like newlyweds even with 4 children 7 and under and my being 32 wks pregnant. Things are better than ever even though we are busier. The course focuses on meeting each other’s needs and is based on the book by Dr. Harley His Needs Her Needs .
Kind deeds and kind words make the burdens of life easier to bear. Reminding each other that we love each other often. Learning to conserve our energies and not over do things to the point where we have no energy left to nourish our marriage.
I am a seasoned wife, almost 32 years that has gone through alot of “seasons”, trials and tribulations LOL. The best advice I can give to any wife of any age … your husband is your first priority after the relationship with the Lord. Give him the basic needs (honor and respect, an enthusiastic sex partner, recreational companionship, domestic support, and be an attractive spouse … that means take care of what you were given and learn to control your tongue and emotions) I failed miserably at all of these at one time or another…and it took a HUGE wake up call to put the priorities back and salvage what was left of a marriage.
It takes a foundation grounded in Christ to make any marriage work because no woman will ever possess the strength or wisdom it takes to build up her house but foolishness will certainly tear it down. There are times that children just need to wait and realize early in life that, yes, they are loved and important and cherished but life does not revolve around them. A strong marriage and parents that love and stay in love are the best gift they could receive as children. Laundry, dust and the endless drudgery will wait … learn to look the other way on the endless stuff that saps the energy. In the grand scheme of things it will matter little.
I have 5 children, the 15 year old is still at home and I raise 3 grandsons under the age of 9. I work part time and am up everyday by 4 a.m. so I can identify with haggard Moms of all ages. I can’t reiterate it enough … a woman MUST depend upon the Lord. Carve out even a few minutes to fill that spiritual tank to keep you going. CD series in the car or while you fix dinner (you’d be amazed what little kids absorb from them too), music is good too. I personally make sure I get a bubble bath at night (even a quick one) to unwind. That “me” time is an investment that pays off for my husband. Alot of women relegate their husband to the to do list rather than holding the place as the love of their life.
I think one of the biggest things was for me to make sure I had the kids dressed and out of their PJ’s and that I was dressed with a little bit of makeup on just so it didn’t look like I just crawled out of bed. Make sure there are NO dishes in the sink clean or dirty and that the main room and kitchen are picked up a bit about 15 minutes before DH arrives home.
NO matter what you are doing, STOP when he comes in the door, unless you are nursing … and give him a hello, welcome home hug and kiss. Also you might be able to leave little flirtatious messages for him on his cell phone. Make it clean but use your code words or whatnot, he will know. :)
Even if you are tired, offer yourself to your DH. He misses you and he doesn’t want to ‘ask’ to be with you. Think about him during the day so when he comes home you will be happy to see him and look to him when the kids are in bed for some adult conversation and time alone, not necessarily sex but just some one on one time.
I have had 2 families, one in my early 20’s, 3 children very close in age, and started again when I was in my later 30’s and have a son with autism, and when my daughter was little she also had some problems so this was very time consuming and, though the children are older now, life still had many demands that take away from that special time with my husband. I have learned that sitting right next to my husband and holding hands gives a moment of oneness, even if only for a moment while watching the news. We work together in the kitchen making dinner, I touch him as I pass him, his waist, a pat on the back, and even pass my hand across his hand as I pass him, for a moment I might even embrace him. When things finally calm down at night, a bowl of ice-cream together, or some fruit just something to sit together for a moment and have a time to talk, or a moment even of silence together, intimate moments don’t always have to include sex. I also like to share something I read with him as we are in the kitchen together.
Sometimes I meet him at his car as he comes home from work, and for a moment I sit in his car with him an talk, it gives us a moment alone before life begins for the afternoon at home. I always ask him how his day was when he walks in the door from work if I haven’t met him outside, even if he doesn’t ask back. I just try to remember “everything as unto the Lord”. If he is out working on the car, I ask him if he needs water to cool him off. If he is doing something in the yard, I just come out and find something to do, without being asked. I love to garden so I help with the weeds, or water the patio, again we are together.
I take those moments when the children are content, fed, relaxing, to make a moment with my husband. So that I can feel like I am still accomplishing something, I might have the washer going and the dryer drying. I might even put a load of laundry next to him on the couch and I fold and talk. Deeper intimacy can be much harder to find time for when you are raising small children, as it is exhausting at the end of a very busy day … I understand, but even if it is just for a quickie it makes our husband feel desired. Now a problem I have found is having older children even makes deep intimacy almost impossible, as children stay up late at night when they get older, and there little ears are very good, so again the momentary moments of physical touch can give deep meaning. I have found after many years of being married, the deepest moment with my husband is as he goes to leave for work, he will gently hug me and he prays with me, that is the deepest moment in our marriage that means so much for me, starting our day with the Lord, no matter what our day holds, we are not alone.
Just ask for what your husband is willing to do to help. Let him tell you what he is able to do and not able to do. Give him choices of what needs to be done and seek out his help with some or all of them. Regardless how the evening duties are divided up, make time for each other. Send the kids to their bedrooms by a certain time each night, every night, so you and dear husband can have 10 or more minutes (preferably 60 minutes) together. Teach the kids that anything past the time they are suppose to be in their bedrooms is now time for mom and dad to have their own quiet talk time together.
Heads up, 30-60 minutes of talk time between husband and wife each evening will result in wonderful together time in other places like the bedroom later. This talk time is essential for a wife to be recharged and grow her desires of wanting to be with her husband in a special way. Share the day and all the events of the day, share a book, tape, etc. – then see what happens later in the day or week in the bedroom. Maybe the time early in the morning before the kids wake for the day can be a special bedroom time for the two of you.
Also, find ways to make a weekly date night. Hire a sitter, get family or friends to help, etc. Take monthly or quarterly overnights with each other for your whole married life together. These are things you have to make happen, they don’t happen by themselves. Be creative and seek out that which keeps you two together.
I have 4 young kids – between 7 years and 8 months. One of the things that has really helped us is making a conscious effort to teach our children from very young that sometimes Mommy and Daddy leave for a little while but we always come back. They need to know that someone else can take care of them for a little while, be it Grandma or a neighbor or a babysitter or the people who work in the church nursery. For moms who are nursing the time away may shorter, but it should still be a priority. We need to sit in church together and enjoy the fellowship of other parents in our adult Sunday School class. We need to go out on dates from time to time – sometimes that means dinner or dessert out. Sometimes it means a walk around the neighborhood. But for us, the key to the dates is making sure that are kids are comfortable with someone else so we can truly relax and enjoy our time together.
Another thing that has helped us is to talk about our priorities. There are times when the end of the day comes and we say to each other, “It is more important to cuddle on the couch and watch a video than to fold another basket of laundry.” The reality is that there will ALWAYS be one more basket of laundry to do. If we were to wait for all the household chores to be “done” before we did anything fun together it would NEVER happen. We need to make “us” a priority. Sometimes that means being spontaneous. Sometimes it means putting it on the calendar and hiring a sitter. And sometimes it means going to bed as soon as the last one is asleep.
I am a “tired” mom, with 6 children ages 9 months to 10 years. I am finding that the things I can do to connect with my husband or spice up our relationship need to be thoughtful but not always time-consuming.
Here are a few simple ideas that fit into our busy schedule: look him in the eye when he talks, and be an active listener; take quiet opportunities to ask him about his day; when I take pictures on the digital camera, be sure to share them with him, so he can see what our day is like (send them via e-mail if it’s more convenient); we have a special time on the clock, when it is 11:11, it has a special meaning to us and it is always nice when I call him to announce: 11:11 … that’s all it takes for one of us to feel special; take a look in the mirror just before he gets home … no matter what it takes, spend 5 minutes using the restroom, freshening up (maybe even finally getting dressed) right before he gets home … put on some lipstick, take a deep breath and smile (or at least regroupJ) … and if time allows, then clean up the little ones – brush their hair and wipe a cheek for him to kiss; when the sheets are fresh, turn them down and fluff the pillows before he comes to bed; write a note on the mirror; sneak out for a quite moment on the back patio together; when he wants to share a kiss or hug and I’m busy … make sure I slow down enough to return the expression; remember that pet name you used for him when you were first married? USE IT!; take a short nap when the baby is down so you can be perky later; buy a special hand soap for the master bathroom – make it smell great; buy a body oil (anything will do -use olive oil if your skin is sensitive) and take turns giving back rubs and foot massages; if you get into a disagreement … let him have the last word once in a while … and don’t let him know; put the laundry away before he runs out of clothes; read a good book together, with no ulterior motive – not a marriage counseling book, just a good novel … My suggestion: “These Is My Words” by Nancy Turner (very romantic without too many “chick flick” qualities); set aside enough money for a baby sitter, or trade sitting with another trusted couple; make a list (maybe mentally as you run errands) of the qualities that attracted you to him … and identify how those qualities shine now in a more mature way … and then tell him about how you admire him for those things; remember through all the chaos and noise … THIS IS WORTH IT!
We have 7 kids (aged 7 months to 13 years old.)
I think I feel better and take better care of dh and dkids when I focus on my own health. I go to bed by 9 pm … eat low-fat healthy meals (get enough fiber and water and take multivitamin/mineral supplement. Watch for absorbability of vitamins etc … especially for the first few months after a birth … digestive tract is out of whack.) Also, I feel better when I exercise — Either do a DVD workout while the kids nap or grab the stroller and walk in the early morning before it is hot out. All these healthy habits work together to boost my energy, so that I am not completely “used-up”.
Another important aspect of having energy for romance etc. is to make an effort to do the things that make you feel pretty … for me that means make-up, hair style, shaving legs and pedicure.
If we want to be romantic at night … I try to make sure the kids all get alot of fresh air and sunshine that day so that the younger kids are sleepy by 7:30 pm. Older ones can be sent to their room with books or games (their room is not close to ours).
We usually find it easier to find romantic time Saturday/Sunday mornings … (this is the time of the day when nobody is cranky, overtired, teething etc. …) We try to keep special DVD movies on hand that we know will keep dkids glued to the TV. Also, we give dkids snacks that are not messy (example = chewy granola bars or teddy-grahams) and we used to use a baby-gate to make sure they stayed in the room we put them in. We have had success with putting the baby in a swing in our bedroom … they will sleep quite a while if they’ve been fed etc. … and they are safe from their siblings.
I also subscribe to flylady.net which is free (online) help/encouragement for home-makers so that they don’t get overwhelmed … When our home is chaotic … I’m frazzled and alot less generous! Plus my husband is alot happier when our home is pretty and meals are on time etc. …
Finally, it may not be as spontaneous, but setting a date/time for romance helps and gives us something to look forward to. Put a lock on your bedroom door, and use it. Stuff pillows around your door for privacy and close off any ventilation-ducts… Nothing kills the mood like feeling that your kids might be listening in!
We are the parents of 5 kids, now ages 11-24. The following have worked for us.
– Set up regular “dates” together – just you two (try not to discuss kids). Set up the dates ahead of time; don’t wait until you have time. It’s not going to happen. My husband always bought season tickets for a local theater, so the dates were set up ahead of time. In our 27 years of marriage, we have only skipped 1 season – when our youngest was nursing every 2 hours around the clock. I confess that I sometimes thought it was stupid, expensive, and just not worth the hassle, as I was dressing to go out with him. However, I usually enjoyed myself once we were out the door, and think very highly of it now.
– Make sure Dad is involved with the everyday stuff with kids. My husband was the one to give baths to the younger children, help them brush their teeth, and read them bedtime stories (they were delighted when he occasionally fell asleep first).
– Make sure each parent gets personal time of some sort. I always went grocery shopping and ran errands by myself, while my husband babysat. It wasn’t a vacation in the Bahamas, but I had a small window of time in which I could focus on only one thing, without interruptions. I was refreshed and felt more affectionate toward our kids when I was home again.
– Even at the beginning of our marriage (before the movie “The Princess Bride”), my husband would frequently respond to a request or change of plans with “As you wish.” or “I’m flexible.”, backed up by a pleasant attitude. I feel those phrases are 2 of the most romantic responses to any request.
– Although I had a career before and for the first 11 years our marriage, I felt uncomfortable asking my husband to do certain things, like housework. I thought he would be unwilling. Meanwhile, he was frustrated because he wanted to help didn’t know how. I eventually found that I just have to ask for small jobs. For larger projects, it’s better if I ask several days ahead, so he has time to think about it.
– Email a special note to your spouse every now and then, if he or she has access to a computer. Mac Seasonal Cards is our favorite site for this. Receiving an e-card usually brings a smile to my face.
– Instead of asking your spouse “Can I help?” ask “What can I do to help?” Smile when you say it. Continue smiling as you change that messy diaper.
I’ve got 3 boys under age 5 and I too often feel too tired for my husband, but my advice would be to make love even when you don’t feel like it. I’ve never regretted it, I always feel better afterwards, and even sleep better!
I am currently the mother of three small boys, ages 4, 2 1/2, and 9 months. Finding time to spend just with my husband can be difficult, but because we are both committed to each other and finding time to spend with one another we find the time. The best thing that we have found is reading a book together. I enjoy it because the books usually become a springboard for other conversations even when the kids are around. Also it is pretty easy to read just one chapter in a book before bed. I know that when we aren’t reading a book together I feel like something is missing and that is the time spent together. Another added bonus is that when we’ve finished the book we’ve not only spent time together we’ve completed something together as well. We’ve read non-fiction books on topics that pertaining to our life at the moment i.e. parenting, sex, special needs children (Our oldest son has learning delays and our youngest son is struggling with weight gain) but we’ve also enjoyed reading fiction books usually Christian romance.
To all parents with small children close together it can be difficult to find one on one time but I find that when my husband and myself our both committed to finding that time we do.
I think praying out loud but intimately for your husband is really dear and precious. Perhaps, end the prayer with some special treat like, mini massage or a punnet of strawberries with whipped cream in bed will look romantic. Fruit is always good because you do not need to cook them. Ready made cream is even way better.
I have 7 children. One thing I did when mine were all little was have a 2 hour quiet time/nap time/rest time every day. This works wonders on a tired mama. I would sleep, read, relax, etc.
But the most important and beneficial change I made was for my health. Eating healthy makes a mama feel so much better, you have more energy, more mental clarity, more patience, etc. Also, my need for so much sleep went down. I dont need naps anymore and can stay up late with hubby and not need to sleep in the next day. Not to mention you loose some extra pounds and feel better about the way you look – hubby will notice too. I eat mostly fruits, vegies, beans and whole grains. Meat, dairy and junk food only a couple times a week.
Also, add exercise in your routine. I know it is very very difficult. I struggle with this. But it is so important to get out that house and get fresh air and just MOVE. I take walks (with the kids – hey, stroll the littles and make the older ones walk. After all, kids have more energy than us parents, right??) Also, I have exercise videos – the kids think they are fun and sometimes I do them when they are awake and can do them too. I enjoy the walking videos and pilates. I also bought a used elyptical machine for cheap. This is a great all body toner. It is fun,too.
When you feel better, you are way more positive and are able to figure out how to love your man better.
I have four kids ages 5 through to 18 and, yes, I gave birth to all of them. I found it extremely exhausting having young children and older girls going through puberty! Some days I felt as if I would go mental … Seriously!
In order to combat this I started taking time for myself and ensuring my needs were taken care of. I started living “Luke 10:27” … I realized that I could not love my husband the way he needed to be loved unless I started getting more rest! And take care of my own needs. This was very challenging with new babies needing to be nursed every three to four hours and the emotional roller coaster of hormones associated with puberty!
#1 tip I would always come home in the afternoon and no matter the state of the house or the bills I took a nap with my kids in my bed. Everyday! I would leave blinds and curtains open so that I wouldn’t fall into to deep a sleep and ruin my evening sleep!
#2 tip I would get some form of daily exercise that wasn’t just a leisurely walk with some friends but some thing strenuous! Exercise is good for your well being on every level! And eat well! Take care of your health.
#3 tip We sat and discussed how many times a week we would have sex realistically and then put it on the calender! Also take turns initiating it too. This way we would get to bed earlier and not let other commitments get in the way ever! Sex must be a priority and if that means you need to be in bed by 7:00 or 8:00 pm then do it! Remove all other commitments so that it happens. It is the best gift you can give one another!
#4 tip Make an online calender that you can both have access to during the day and ensure your date night is on there and scheduled sex! Also when you put in all your other commitments including work, volunteer and appointments you can see how busy you really are! Learn to say “no” to others and “YES” to your husband!
#5 tip Women are not like a light switch and don’t turn on easily … When you know that you are going to be having sex that night think about it and get your room ready … pull out something he likes to see you in and lay it out on your bed for him to when he gets home. Just before he arrives home change into something flattering or just clean, fix your hair and make-up. You will be surprised how well this can help you feel … and trust me when he sees that you look and feel good he will care less of the mess the kids made while you were making yourself look good for him. Also no matter what the kids are doing when he arrives stay calm and relaxed. Men desire peace in their home. He will be more inclined to help clean up the messes too. Teach your kids that when Daddy arrives home the first few minutes are reserved for Mom and Dad. Use this time to kiss and reconnect physically. Don’t use this time to discuss the day’s havoc either of you. Just connect with some loving! We have been encouraged to allow our children to see us kiss and reconnect in front of them. This helps them feel secure.
#6 tip Discuss the need for extra help temporarily to help you get caught up from time to time with housework etc. When you know a house cleaner is coming soon it can be very relaxing to know that your toilets aren’t going to look gross forever! If money is tight go without something else and get your house cleaned!
After several years of marriage with a blended family and many hours of Godly counsel this is what we have come to conclude as what works for us!
Stay connected to resources like [The Generous Wife] and their own church and other forms to stay on track. The most successful people in their fields have several coaches and outside help … goodness know marriages need it too!
I have a unique situation in my family. We have 13 year old twins and then we had a “second family” a little girl who will be 3 in September and a little boy who will be 1. To say the least we learned alot between our twins and our “trailers”. The one thing I have learned that helps my marriage more than anything is to go to bed with a messy house!!! I would love to have a perfect house but I love my husband more! If I use the last of my energy to load the dishwasher, pick up toys and do one more load of laundry, 50 years from now no one will ever remember it, but if I have a wonderful relationship with my husband by giving him some of my time and undivided attention at the end of the day we will be passing on a history that really means something. Someday the babies will be grown, my house will be clean, and I will still have a wonderful marriage!!!
I have 3 from 18mth to 7yrs, a couple of tips that come to mind:
1) We have one room in our house that is kid free for the most part (at least child thing free – no toys, no childrens books, no art projects, etc) this is the room my husband gets to come home to everyday that I know is going to be relatively clean no matter how often I was in there. We are lucky enough to also have our computer in that room and I try to keep his magazines and that day’s newspaper for him in there. This gives him his opportunity to have his “cave time” (after he gives out hugs and kisses, of course) to wind down however he wants whether it be checking his e-mail, reading the newspaper, or whatever. This room is easy to keep clean and gives him the opportunity to cut me a little slack on some of the other rooms of the house when I just don’t have the time or energy.
2) If you’re struggling to find time to be intimate, shower together first thing in the morning – not only do you get your shower done for the day, it automatically puts an end time on your “experience” together – nobody wants to be beaned in the behind with cold water!! Plus it does have the added benefit of waking you up and giving you an energy boost for the morning.
3) Late dinner for grownups. The family dinner table is wonderful, but if it’s been awhile since you’ve had a moment alone with your hubby, make a pan of lasagna (or any kid friendly casserole) the kids can eat at normal time and you can put the dish back in the oven on warm for a couple of hours and you and your husband can sit down to a candle light dinner after the kids are in bed. You might need to have some cheese and crackers or a little something to snack on to tide you over and you can always make the dinner more grown up – throw a couple of baked potatoes in the oven and have your husband grill steaks while you give the kids baths, tuck them in together and then have dinner.
Start a babysitting co-op with friends from church, preferably others who would like to do over-nights, if the kids are old enough. Here’s a link for a “how-to” – there are also for-pay resources on the net that have downloadable stuff such as posters, flyers, coupons, how-to’s, etc. How to Create a Neighborhood Babysitting Cooperative.
By the way, my kids are 21 and 24, and I would give anything short of my salvation to again be a mother of young children, now that I know how swiftly the time flies. Now there’s plenty of time for sex and for romance with my husband, and the time is gone for tossing a ball, feeding ducks, telling stories, flying kites, and most of all, teaching them about Jesus. One “caught it,” one didn’t, and I often wonder, if I’d just made time for devotions every evening, stayed with home-schooling longer, insisted they go with the youth on missions trips, etc., whether the wanderer would have stayed in the fold. I’ll never know. I know children need to make their faith their own, but there’s nothing like the heartache of seeing your beloved child walk away from the Lord. So cherish the time you have while they’re young, beloved young Moms.
I understand being busy. We have 3 children ages 3 and under. One of the biggest helps to us is getting all the kids to bed consistently at the same time every night. This doesn’t practically work out every night but most nights we can get everyone in bed. This gives us a couple hours of alone time to have a date night at home or just talk.
It isn’t much, but every other month or so we have a date night and another couple watches our kids. Then we return the favor. We also occasionally have the kids all go to bed early and just watch a video together while snuggling on the couch.
I have 3 children, an 8 yr old son and 15 month old twins and 1 on the way. On top of that my husband lost his job a year and half ago and has been working 2 jobs to keep the family afloat. I get to see him for a grand total of 2-3 hours a day maximum and often he is sleeping during that time. Spending time with each other is definalty a challenge, but I also knew it was vital to my sanity, my children’s well being and our relationship.
It’s not much but what I did was to get a special box of toys together for the younger ones and for 1/2 an hour at least 3 nights a week I sent all the kids to the nursery and my oldest child would play with the twins for 30 minutes while me and dh just cuddled on the couch. Sometime we talked for 30 minutes, sometimes we watched a tv show together we enjoyed and sometimes we would end up just napping together for 30 minutes. Often times it was the only 30 minutes that we had time to just be next to each other and re-charge.
I bought identical puzzles at the dollar store and had them “race” to get them done–it got us 20 minutes!
I also made a 6 hour video tape of Blues Clues for my insomniac 2 year old.
This has been a very difficult season for “husband loving” so far, but we have had a couple of ideas that have helped us (we have 3 boys). After about 5 years with children, dh said, “I don’t feel like you love me” … and I realized … “I FORGOT TO LOVE HIM!” So busy … but no excuses are allowed because he is more important than the children (That principle is also from the Ezzos who wrote “Growing Kids God’s Way”…very good material).
1. Once our [oldest was mature enough], we started putting them in bed and going on a walk in the neighborhood on Monday nights … it’s a true date and is my favorite time of the week! [Our oldest] stays awake until we get home and calls us with any questions or emergencies. It’s worked out well.
2. We take an annual “husband/wife” vacation … a full week … each year. That can be a stretch with being away from babies and getting sitters and everything, but we have benefited from it greatly. We feel like it communicates to our children, too, that we love each other. That gives them security.
3. We have a date night almost every week.
4. My husband keeps the children one night a week and I have time to rejuvenate with friends, just be alone with God or get errands done, etc. That gives me more energy for him!
5. I text message him a lot just to say I’m thinking about him and love him, etc. Text messaging makes it such that you don’t have to shush children to talk and it doesn’t have to be a long conversation.
We have five children from 12 on down to one. For myself, I started taking a 15 minute bath almost every night, during which I read and wind down from the day. This usually occurs after all the children are settled in for the night, but when we had a baby that didn’t need mom, dad would take over for that short time. This refreshed me for some time with my husband.
For my husband, I make sure I look him in the eye when I say ‘I love you’ as he heads off to work each morning, and when he returns at night. I leave notes or comfort items for him in the bedroom – he always heads there first when he gets home to change out of his work clothes. We plan our intimate times together – we have a special night each week we get together. On that day, I take a nap, make an easy supper, take a good shower, let a lot of house work go (I can always catch up tomorrow!), and mentally prepare myself to enjoy our time together. I also wear the children out that day, so they go to sleep easier and deeper that night.
Our kids are 8, 7, 2.5, and 5 months. I work mostly from home but am in the office one morning a week. This is what works in our house:
~ I belong to a local gym. There are many in our area so I was able to find a womens only gym that understands the needs of good, inexpensive childcare. I am able to leave my children (all four) there for 1 1/2 hours per day. I use this time to exercise, shower, do my makeup and any other primping items that need to be done to care for myself. DH loves that I do all of this and it is much more feasible financially (30 bucks a month) than I originally thought. Other than the obvious health benefits, exercise has also been found through numerous studies to be almost as effective as anti-depressants. I have found that this is true with me also – I have a better outlook on life in general and find it easy to bless my DH when I am good about making it to the gym.
~ My DC have chore boards. We have instituted a plan of action that includes a board that is re-done on a monthly basis. They (between all of them) are in charge of the laundry (not the machines – just the “clothing movement” from place to place), trash, clearing dishes, picking up each floor of our house (since it is RARELY my bike helmet on the kitchen floor, :) making beds, cleaning out the car, feeding the dog, etc. This has multiple effects: A: It helps me out, B: They are picking up there own things, and C: It helps them to be cleaner with their stuff because they know they will ultimately be responsible for it. Even our two year old has responsibilities and loves to be part of the team. My DH has been blessed with the desire to have the house straightened up most of the time so this has been a huge challenge for me to try and maintain all of these years. As a team we now get to “bless Dad” with our abilities to meet this request of his. He sees it as us showing him we love him.
~ My older DC also partner up with their younger DS. Each has a partner that is available to help with shoes, hats, a hand to hold in the grocery store, etc. They are learning to be responsible and the younger siblings are looking to the older ones for help. It builds them both up.
I have had some people question whether or not this is too much pressure on my kids – the chores and partners. My children have plenty of time to play outside after school (usually an hour or two) and the extra responsibility of helping with the sibling is minor to them (they actually love the partnering) but huge to me. All of the little things that they can help out with helps to free my time up to do things they can’t and also to focus on my DH’s needs.
DH and I had to recently change our household from the kids running the show to this system, where DH is more the head and we are all in support of him (and each other). It was a struggle to get to this place and wasn’t always pleasant. All of the activities above help to keep my energy up during the day so that I am not over the top tired or grouchy for DH.
We have also found that good nutrition in our home is paramount to energy and behavior levels. If we are not eating healthy then we are all sluggish, tired, grouchy, and we also have behavior issues with our oldest. Eating well helps to give us more energy and a better mood.
When I’m short on time and energy, I try to bless my hubby in simple quick ways. Here are some examples:
Does your hubby have favorite things? Mine has favorite dishes and cups and such. It doesn’t take much time to pull those particular ones out for him when they are clean. He notices!
Pray for your husband as you put away his clothes when folding laundry.
Make your hubby’s favorite foods for dinner. I do this on Friday and Saturday, sort of as a celebration that he’s home for the weekend.
When time is short and you can’t clean up the whole house, clean the parts that mean the most to your husband. If you don’t know what those are, ask him!
Send him a quick email or leave him a voicemail at work telling him how much you love him and thanking him for working so hard.
Teach your kids to bless your husband. Get excited when he comes home from work. Even if you can’t go meet him at the door, your excitement will spur your kids to meet him.
We have 7 children ages 9 weeks to 10 years.
There are several ideas other ladies have given me that have helped.
1. communicate – Find out what things matter most to your husband. For some men it will be dinner being ready when he gets home. For other men it will be his wife having on makeup and greeting him at the door. For others it will be no dirty laundry or no clean laundry laying about. Find out what it is that matters most to them and focus on making sure that one thing is accomplished. My husband doesn’t care if dinner is ready when he gets home or if I have on make-up. But one of his pet peeves is to come in and have clean laundry folded but not put up yet on our couch or table.
2. make a date night – Every week set aside one night a week that is alone/date night. If there are older children that can help tend to younger ones then put on a movie for them and some popcorn and that will typically entertain them for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. If you don’t have older ones that can help then have that night be early to bed night and everyone goes to bed by 7:30 or 8 pm. I had one wise woman tell me that her husband knew that Sunday night was their quality time together. So no matter what all had gone on during the week and no matter how hard his week had been he knew that on Sunday evening he was going to have some undivided attention from his wife to talk about his week and have a “date”. She said when they implemented this plan that she saw the change in her husband because he knew to expect time with his wife and it wouldn’t get bumped because she was too tired. The wife made sure on Sundays to do whatever was needed to ensure that they had this time together. This also made her husband more understanding during the week if something came up and they couldn’t have time together.
3. Take advantage of any opportunity. There is no light way to put this so just reword it as you feel – but when I was young and first married I thought the only time to have “quiet time” with my dear husband was in the evening when we went to bed for the night. I now know from 14 years of marriage and talking with wiser women that it is beneficial to take advantage of any time you are given.
We live on a tight budget, so spending money on dates just isn’t possible – especially paying for babysitting. I asked a friend if she would want to trade babysitting hours, so we could each get out with our husbands at least once a month. During those times, my husband and I choose activities that don’t cost anything.
I’m a mother of 1 with 1 on the way and here are a few things I do:
I make sure that there is time with just him after our daughter is in bed. Even if we just sit there together and watch TV and talk, I make sure that we have that time together.
The other thing is that my husband is very much into working on his car and his car club. Although the club is mostly guys, a lot of them are married with children as well. I purposely go with him to their events, packing to make sure that our daughter is well provided for. I am there to support him (I help by doing things like wash our truck and keep watch over our daughter) and meet with the other women who are doing the same. For wives whose husbands are into things like playing football or soccer with his friends should purposely make a day of it. Go out and support their husband while he does his things (cheering him on for example). Bring a picnic lunch and eat afterward. The husbands and the kids will both have a great time (our daughter does) and the kids will have a better appreciation of what their father loves.
The best advice I was ever given about parenting is also the best advice on taking care of yourself. Once a week have Dad take care of the kids for an hour or so. If you aren’t used to doing this, it will be really hard at first … and try not to worry too much. It would probaby take him much more than an hour to corrupt the kids for life! In this hour do something that is for you and you alone … go to the spa, read a book, shopping therapy, a long bubble bath … whatever fits into your budget and helps you relax. I would also make sure that either you or hubby (with the kids) leaves the house. It is really hard to relax when you hear the baby crying or the bag of cookies open again. If you leave the house ask hubby not to call you (instead call his mother, sister, aunt, your mother, etc.) with questions. At first, you may feel selfish for taking this time, but afterwards you will understand why. Every mother needs a little time to be more than Mommy. When you get the personal time you need to keep your head on straight you will better be able to handle the challenges of the kids and be more willing to make couple time. Remember the old phrase “Absense makes the heart grow fonder” … it works with your kids too.
P.S. Dad could probably use some time like this as well … take the kids for ice cream after dinner so Dad can watch his favorite TV show in peace.
Plan date nights in advance and set them in your calendar like you had an appointment with the president!! Find a babysitter who is willing to watch the kids on a set date each month (e.g. the second Friday of each month) or more if you can afford it. Then put those dates in your calendar with permanent marker! That way you are not scrambling to find a babysitter at the last moment when you guys really need connect time. The date will become part of your monthly calendar and give you something to look forward to – a night out from the kids!!!
Put the kids to bed early. Take a shower, get dressed up (or down!) and fix your hair and put on some lipstick!! Set a beautiful dinner table for two, including candles (turn off the lights!). Either make dinner or have hubby bring home a favorite and put it on your best dishes. Spend the evening TOGETHER, talking and cuddling. :)
1. First and foremost, remember that everything in life is only for a season. It’s easy to get caught up in how tired you are with a newborn, and sometimes we begin to feel that is the way life is going to stay. But, praise God, its only for a season – and ‘this too shall pass’ and the husband and wife must keep in mind to persevere and better days are ahead! In weeks ahead the baby will start sleeping better, and mom and daddy will have more energy for each other, and mom’s body will recuperate from the birth and she’ll have more energy. In these early weeks, focusing on each other and having romantic time can be obsolete – and that’s understandable when a newborn is in the picture – folks should not be hard on themselves about this! This is a great time for the husband to show how great he is by doing all he can … and mom should be focusing on that little baby – so really I believe these early weeks are for Dad to step up to the plate with everything while Mom takes care of baby … and when Mom gets back her energy she can start ‘thanking’ him.
2. Date night is important! One night a week is great for Mom and Dad – and very needed! Date night does not always have to be kids at home and Mom and Dad out for dinner. One time we sent our kid to the babysitter and WE stayed at home, had a bath with candle lighting, and made dinner and took a NAP!! We can figure out our priorities by looking at how we spend our time….and we generally can see we need more time spent on the marriage!!! Kids are secondary – plus they need to see mom and dad focusing on each other MORE than they need mom and dad putting kids first!
3. If Dad pitches in and helps with bathing kids, dinner clean up, and chores – house hold duties get so SO MUCH faster and then there’s more time for husband and wife to relax together!!!
4. We have to fight the sleep-monster! Sometimes there is time for husbands and wives … but we let tiredness get in the way. So let’s sit up in bed, wait for the other spouse to join us … read together … or have a conversation at the end of the day when you aren’t half asleep but focused on each other. This ‘Quality Time’ goes a long way when we are tending to kids needs all day long!
We have 4 boys!
Tip #1 All the kids – no matter how old all went to bed or to their bedrooms to sleep or quiet time at 8:00. This gave me and my husband time to wind down, relax and enjoy one another. Even as teens/young adults they still tend to retreat to their own rooms around 9:00 or so.
#2. It’s ok to let your children watch a video or children’s TV, so mom and dad can have an hour to relax or talk in the bedroom.
#3. With small kids – you have to be organized! Or you are working ALL the time! Get rid of everything! Only have minimal things, makes clean up easier. Set up a schedule, of find what works best for you. Work smarter – not harder.
#4. Hire a babysitter or get grandma to watch kids for an evening out. It is so rejuvenating to get out to see a movie, etc. without anyone under 3 ft. tall! Even a newborn can be left for a quick 1/2 hour bite to eat.
5. Make sure to look nice. Do your hair and makeup if that is what you like. If you look nice, you will feel nice, and if you feel nice … your husband will notice!
A few years ago, Dr. David Hocking came and spoke at our church, I don’t remember all of what he said, but the jest of it was that your spouse was a gift from God, and your children were offspring. The Bible says that we are to become one, the children are an add on to that “one.” He gave lots of great advice about marriage but the one suggestion he gave that I remember most was that the first 15-30 minutes that both spouses are together in the evening, or whatever time of day worked best for them, was THEIR time, the kids were not allowed to intrude for any reason other then death, Granted the kids miss Daddy while he is off at work, But Momma get the first 15-30 minutes of Dads time, because they were a couple before they were Mom and Dad. We don’t usually get 15 minutes in our house, but I always get the first greeting and kiss and hug, and that means a lot to me when I know we have both had very hectic days.
A little back gound first. I was raising one when we were living with my in-laws and living in one bedroom … Not fun. My second I was raising when my DH was VERY ill … He was in ICU with Respiratory arrest 2 months prior to her being born. Again with Dh’s parents. That meant four of us in one room. I also homeschool so Dh and I have learned to take advantage of our alone times …
These are some of the tips to do with the kids and DH
#1 Put the kids down early and be quiet.
#2 Play in the bedroom with the kids on the weekend. Have the kids pile on your bed while Dh is drinking coffee or reading the paper or whatever.
#3 Read aloud and have cuddle time with the kids before bed then go out to DH.
Here are the tips to do for you.
#1 Have DH play with the kids while you soak in the tub for about 1-2 hrs.
#2 Have about 1/2 hr of private/quiet time before the kids get up if you need to do it before anyone gets up and be quiet. ;)
#3 Have a stash of chocolate (or just for you) treats.
#4 Have Dh take the kids on a date (to the park or whatever) so you can have you-time.
#5 Read the BIBLE.
#6 In the evening do something just for you.
#1 Wake up early to “play.”
#2 Have a best friend/grandparents watch the kids for a few hours.
#3 Take up a weekly hobby together (dh and I both like to camp and hunt so that is what we do togehter).
#4 Have some quiet time after the kids are in bed (another thing make sure they actually have a bed time). Dh and I usually do this when he first gets home we go to the bedroom and relax a bit and visit. Our kids, 10 and 13, are usually down the street playing.
Here’s a way to have couple time when you have small children: Once you put the kids to bed, read a bedtime story to your spouse. It could be as mild as an magazine article that caught your eye or a spicy book … it doesn’t matter so long as you have the time together.
Personal time for Mom: Tell your husband and kids that Mom needs some quiet time. Let him take the kids to the movies, the park or to get some pizza while you create spa time at home. Give yourself a nice bubble bath with scented candles lit all around, nice soft music or a good book. If you want to turn this into couple time, hire a neighborhood teenager or swap time with a neighbor who has children too.
I take care of my 3 kids, 3-years-old and under, and my husband works, so … we just can’t seem to stay awake for a movie any more, so here is what we did this week for a date. We got the kids in bed a little early, grabbed snacks and a board game (we love Monopoly), set a time limit, and had fun. It was great to just be silly and goof off, not having to talk about work, the kids or finances.
My husband and I have a 15 month old son. We try to put him down for the night between 7 and 7:30 so that we have pleny of “just us’ time before we go to bed …
Date night is crucial. I have seven children and we weren’t always perfectly consistent, but time alone as a couple is important weekly if possible. With a nursing baby, baby can come along because baby can’t be left long, but baby is usually cooperative unless he has colic. Not having babies anymore and feeling much more grounded and sane, we can now go more often. But even if it is a 30 minute walk, a visit to the ice cream store or a longer dinner or movie out, connecting with your spouse and making it a priority, helps continue to build the relationship. Also, since time is scarce just find the small things. The best one I can think of is to catch your husband (just like your children) doing something good. Express gratitude for changing the diaper, staying up with the baby, cleaning up the toddler who threw up, or being tender with you.
A MOTHER (in Australia)
I am past that season now, but at the time, we did several things. We hired babysitters at times. We went for walks in the park where the kids would run off and about, or be in the stroller – but it did allow dh and I some time to talk and connect. We made sure the kids were in bed nice and early.
But I think the main thing was that dh trained our children from a young age that he and I needed some space at times, and if we were deep in a conversation, or just needed some time having a cup of tea together, he insisted on the children letting us be – they didn’t have rights to me at all times. Even 1 and 2 year olds can understand this. It was harder for me to let go of mothering and just let the children play in another room when they want my attention – but I am glad dh was so insistent. Kids need attention, but so do husbands. It has given us plenty of time together, and given the kids the gift of parents who make sure each other is a priority.
One of our favorites was a bubble bath for both of us. We would put the kids to bed and light some candles and run a hot bubble bath. Sometimes we would have a hot drink or fresh fruit also. It was relaxing, or more if we wanted it to be, but we spent that time reconnecting and relaxing together. That started when we had a 3 year old, a 2 year old, and 3 month old.
It also went a long way when I took the time to make sure the one chore he wanted done was done, not just the ones that were important to me. And he was much more likely to help me than be frustrated if that one thing was done. For my husband, it is making sure the entry way to our house is picked up so he doesn’t see a mess when he comes home. The rest of the house can be in shambles and he will not care as much. On the flip side, he is so discouraged if he steps into a mess as soon as he gets in the door even of the rest of the house is spotless.
This is something I’ve been struggling with recently. I only have one baby, but I also have a heart condition which leaves me exhausted halfway through the day. Before getting pregnant, I think I was doing OK. I tried to do at _least_ one nice thing a day, and usually succeeded 3-4 times a week. Now … well, I think I’ve just worked out that the nice things just have to be smaller. A quick neck rub instead of a slow full-body massage. An addition of a favourite food to the dinner I was planning to cook anyway. Buying a packet of red foil-covered hearts, hiding them away, and leaving one on the pillow every now and then.
Being a mom of seven we have to find moments of the day to spend together. One of my favorite is when my husband comes home at night we put the kids to bed early and let them read but they have to stay in their rooms. Then we pop some popcorn and pick out a movie both of us would like to see. We have surround sound so it’s the theater experience at home.
We also have had special meals. Like I will cook for the kids and then set them up with a movie downstairs and then turn the house into a gourmet restaurant. Sometimes my husband cooks a meal that is just to die for. We sit together and eat and just talk about our day.
The first thing that pops into my mind for this busy mother is “find a good babysitter, so you can have an evening for yourself and your husband now and then”.
When our kids were that age we had zero extra money. We would crank the music (records in those days, now I guess it is CDs!) and dance, dance, dance in the living room – sometimes the kids would join us, sometimes after they were in bed.
When you hold your honey through a love song, nature takes care of itself. Those nights were the most fun we ever, ever had as a couple and they cost nothing!
Recently I stole my dh for 5 minutes, I had our oldest (6yr) keep an eye on the youngest (8weeks) while the others (1 yr and 4) were asleep. He’s been adding on a south facing nursery for our dc, I took him out there for 5 minutes of “snuggles” under a partial finished roof during a rain fall. My goal was to make him feel really good and special really quick(ie).
What helps me, is planning my time-off as well as my work. Why should you make a schedule of your work and forget that you need rest??
And: ask for help. People understand that you are tired.
Some things that worked for me are:
1. Sleep whenever the baby sleeps – you can always do laundry, dishes and cooking while they are in the play pen or in a stroller beside you.
2. Weather permitting, playing with the kids outside gives them a chance to play, exert some of their endless energy and you a chance to do some indoor work. One partner stays in and cleans – the other is out with the kids.
3. One-dish meals are usually time savers and easier on the kids. Our family favourite is a fried rice (I cheat and put all ingredients in a rice-cooker and let them cook till done). Ingredients usually include some of everyone’s favourites such as carrots, tomatoes, sausage / hamburgers cut into 1 inch pieces, cauliflower, broccoli, leeks). Anything basically that everyone will enjoy. Another favourite is spaghetti with a meat sauce as it cooks very quickly and if you add grated carrot or eggplant to the sauce it then includes vegetables which are good for everyone.
4. Kids love to help with the housework so if you give them small chores to do you will find that they enjoy being a part of your daily routine.
5. Alone time is difficult with the range of ages however it is not impossible. I have struggled with this one but managed to get a routine whereby I return from work at 6 PM. Have a small dinner and my husband and I take my 2 young girls to the beach (4 & 2 years). My husband plays with them for an hour while I walk (3 km) and when I return we head back home. They usually have so much fun running on the beach that they are quite exhausted and have enough energy for their bath before getting into bed at 9. That way we have the rest of the night to ourselves which is quite good considering we used to get them to bed by 11 before.
6. Another tip that works well for me is saving certain household chores for the weekend when I don’t have to wake up early to get kids off to school. This way I can work around the kids at home.
Point # 1 was something my Mum taught me when I was a single-Mum to my son (who is now 15 years old and is very independent) and although I wanted to spend every waking moment doing something I soon learned that she was absolutely right and that it was the best thing I’d ever learned from my Mum (among other wonderful things).
My husband and I just got back from a weekend away (without our little one). What a wonderful break. Although it wasn’t even 48 hours it just gave us (especially me) the strength to go on. This is the first time we have been away since my boy was born 21 months ago and we should have done it sooner!
We have two little ones at home and have struggled with finding time for individually and as a couple. Once a week, we have a date night at home once the kids go to bed. We make a little snack and do something at home – normally it is just a movie but it gives us a chance to cuddle and be together. On the nights we don’t have a date night, hubby comes up bed with me and we will lay together and talk/cuddle for about 20 minutes. He normally gets up after that and does his own thing but those 20 minutes of just us time does us wonders!! For me, I have both kids on the same afternoon nap. I try to make it a priority to do something for myself during that nap time. I usually succeed two times a week but it helps me keep my sanity!
Realize we are not super humans … ask and accept help. It does not make us less of a mom or wife to say, “I am tired and I need help”. The help may come in many forms, parents, in-laws, church, friends, spouse, etc. … just recognize the need and be willing to embrace it.
Also, enforced bedtimes are a life saver. Set a time … and stick to it. Make it early enough that you and your spouse have time together before 11 o’clock at night … I was not good at this and I now regret it.
As a Mom of 6 kids ranging from age 13 to not born yet, I always get a kick out of the suggestion that couples should be sure to get a babysitter once a week and go out for date night. This is simply not practical and very financially taxing during this stage of life. Now that we have an older babysitting age child, we go out for coffee together alone mostly once a week, but when our kids were all little, we had date night at home.
Once a week, when everyone was finally asleep, one of us would be in charge of choosing the activity. We had a previously brainstormed list that we chose from. Sometimes, we’d colour in colouring books, sometimes we’d have foot massages, sometimes we’d make ice cream sundaes. This was just as satisfying and bonding as any out-of-the-house date night and basically free. Both of us have very fond memories of this time.
1) let Dad take on some of the chores so you can have a break … my husband used to take care of bathing and bedtime rituals.
2) Enforce bedtimes for the older children … this will at least give you a time every evening when you two can connect and talk.
3) Ask your husband to let you take a nap on Saturday/Sunday or even in the early evening, so that you will have some energy to bless him.
4) After the new baby is back in bed after a night feeding, wake your husband up with a generous physical act, then both can go back to sleep before it is really time to start the day. Or use a few minutes to write a note for him and leave it where he will find it.
5) If you know any stay at home moms or have relatives or friends who are available in the day (or trustworthy teenagers) see if they will babysit for you to allow you some “YOU” time, then you will feel more like giving to your spouse and your kids.
6) Thank your husband for everything you notice that he does for you and the kids … and do it in front of the kids, the neighbors, the grandparents.
7) When he comes home, stop what you are doing as much as possible and tell him you love him while looking in his eyes. Give him a kiss and tell him how glad you are to have him for a husband.
8) When you buy groceries, or are out running errands, look for some of his favorites (candy, fruit, dinner choices, sodas, whatever) and bring them home just for him. Make sure to state you saw this and knew how much he liked it, so you bought it for him.
9) Tell him you are tired, but want him anyway. At least a couple of nights a week, as soon as the kids are down, focus all attention on him … the laundry, the dishes, the toys in the floor will wait.
10) Have the kids help you as much as possible with chores … they may not do as well as you would, but it is work in progress and be content with what they can do. The younger ones can throw clothes into the washer, carry the bathroom garbage out, pick up toys/books. Have the older ones rinse dishes while you wash, or sweep the floor, clean the mirror in the bath room, dust, … they love to help, let them help you.
11) Be realistic about what you can expect yourself to do at this time. What is going to matter 1 year from now? 10 years from now? 100 years from now? How you invest in your family will last more than having the clean house, the great meals, the hair that is fixed just so. When you make your priorities, ask will this matter next year? 10 years from now? Focus on the things that really matter. Giving your kids a great marriage example will matter, because it teaches them how to have a great marriage and that it is important. Spending time with your kids really matters, because it builds them up and provides teachable moments that will never be repeated. Taking care of you really matters, because it keeps your energy up and teaches your kids that when they grow up, they also need to have some time for themselves to keep their energy, their self esteem, and their relationships growing.
I am the mother of 4 (now mostly grown) children, 3 girls and a boy. When the first was young, I started a habit of always having her in her bed by 8 – 8:30 at the latest. The time after was parent time. I kept this up even when they were older. They didn’t have to go to sleep, but be ready for bed and in their rooms. As they got older this might be homework time or reading time, but still parent time for us. Of course, there were those few exceptions every week, but most generally they all knew the rules and kept to them.
One of the easiest ways for us to spend alone time together was when someone, mostly my mom would take the kids out for a walk or to the playground. We would have a date in our home. You need to take advantage of every chance you get. I also would try to have everything calm at home when he would get in from work. If possible I’d plan movie time or coloring (anything quiet) for right before he’d come home. If things were peaceful when he’d walk I the door, we could have a few minutes to say hi and catch up on the day. If I gave the kids some undivided time before he got home they would sometimes stay content for us to chat. If it wasn’t so peaceful at the time he came home, we would grab a few minutes later that evening. Once again after we played with them we could usually have a moment to chat while they were content. Most of all, when we got stressed due to lack of alone time, we would try to focus on the fact that it was just a season of life, and that the kids would grow so fast that we needed to treasure every moment of when they were small.
When all of my children were small, I tried to make sure to freshen up just before my husband got home from work–maybe a quick shower, definitely clean clothes, freshly-brushed hair, and maybe even a little make-up. It showed him I cared about him and did not just give him the dregs of myself and my day.
I also tried to give him a 20-second hug as he came in the door. It gave us a chance to really feel the hug and to connect. Many times, that awakened us both to the idea that the children are not the only ones that need attention. It also started to set the mood for intimate time later. It actually can energize the tired wife.
Be sure to nap, even if it’s only a cat nap, while the baby sleeps. I used to put in a video for my dd who was four and I’d lay down on the couch in the same room. I’d explain that I was very tired and needed a nap. My four year old didn’t take naps anymore or she’d be up until 10 or 11 pm. I guess it depends on the maturity level of the children too. It was more of a cat nap, but it helped.
Another idea is to prepare more than enough for dinner/supper. Buy and prepare extra ground beef. It freezes nicely in zip lock baggies and cuts prep time down for dinner. If you make more than enough you can freeze left-overs and serve them later. Keep God first. I would pray while I sat with my baby and I don’t know how I’d truly made it with out His help. God will supply all your needs.
Another idea is, if possible, ask both sets of granparents to take two for one evening or one set to take all of them for an afternoon. I never left mine for more than a few hours when they were little. If you don’t live near your parents, maybe there is someone in church that is older and doesn’t see their grandkids as much and wouldn’t mind helping out.
We have a babysitting swap arrangement with two other couples — we rotate who takes the kids, and the other two couples get a date night with free childcare. The kids love being able to play with their friends, and we love getting dates regularly!
I only have 2 children and they are 6 and 7, but the best thing I did was put them on the same nap schedule and even at 6 and 7 they still have rest time where we all get a break from each other. Sometimes its 30 minutes, sometimes its 2 hours. With an infant it might take a few months before you can implement this, but it will help. You can rest during that time or do something that you like to do. You can also have the older children help out more. My 7 year old can make scrambled eggs from start to finish (except lift the cast iron pan). So what if they have scrambled eggs for dinner once a week. The older kids can vacuum and dust and scrub floors. It involves more work in the beginning to train them to do it, but it will also pay off later. Oh, another thing we do is put the kids to bed at the same time every night (8:00) and we do not allow them to come out of their rooms until 7:00 am. (potty and bad dreams are exceptions) I taught them how to read a digital clock when they were 2 and 4. So then we know we have some time in the evenings together.
I have a passion for kids and I only have one but God has been giving me wisdom concerning some of these issues over the years. When you have many kids and are trying to balance and have time for your husband as well, firstly you could get the assistance of a babysitter and have time off for yourself and time for your husband.Once a week you can set a day that you go shopping for yourself and have your hair done, nails etc and one day that you go out with your husband. Secondly if going out is out of the question what of spending quality time together at home, with the baby sitter looking after the children. Thirdly she needs to also include her husband in what she does with the kids, that way, it will also make them spend some time together. When spending quality time with your husband the kids need to know that this is mum and dads time and eventually they will get used to the idea.
I have four children, ages 9, 7, 5, and 9 months. One way that my husband and I have snuck in some alone time is to ask our 7 year old daughter (or our 9 year old son) to watch the baby for us upstairs or downstairs while we sneak away to the bedroom or office and lock the door. It’s definitely not the same as hiring a babysitter, but with four kids, hiring a babysitter is very expensive. We have to save that for special occasions.
[If your children aren’t old enough to watch an infant, you] could put in a video and have the older kids play a game together and keep the sleeping baby with you and your husband in another area of the home.
The benefit of having four kids is that by the time the fourth one comes around, you usually have at least one child that is old enough to help. I say put the older siblings to work for you. Mine are usually happy to do that – at least for short periods of time.
I had a three year old and new born twins. One thing that helped was to load them in the car just before nap time and just drive – the kids would sleep and dh and I got a little bit of uninterrupted time.
We also ate dinner after the kids were in bed – just the two of us. Didn’t have to be gourmet, could even be take out, but at least it was just US.
We also took turns letting the other person sleep in one day on the weekend.
Use your crockpot to simplify meals.
We have … 4 children [right] on top of each other. On my website are some ideas that you are welcome to link to if you do outgoing links. (Thanks, Wendy!)
I just wanted to share that maybe if you have a camera phone ~ you could email pictures of yourself in silly or provocative poses, along with a little note. I bet it would bless both of your days!
1. A non-negotiable, reasonable bedtime for all the children (barring illness or tragedy, of course) leaves the evening quiet for wife and husband.
If this is new for your family, you must be consistent and patient while you train your children to this level of behaviour and OBEDIENCE, but it is not that difficult to achieve and the benefits are peace and rest!. Here is an example based on a standard American work week for husband: Simple supper at 5:30 or 6:00. Special treat after supper is always fun … cookies, tiny bowl of cereal with milk, pudding, warm herb tea and honey, just stay away from super sugary or caffeine! Kitchen cleaned (kids involved to the level of their abilities) by 6:30, simple bedtime routines (during the summer we would have baths before supper). Every child tucked in bed by 7:30 at the latest. This rule holds even during baby-sitters, grandparents, Christmas … we rarely broke that pattern and our kiddos thrived and we cherished our quiet time.
2. A non-negotiable, reasonable get-up time for all the children. In other words, one child rising and rambling about at 4:30, one at 5:30 and another at 7:00 is not acceptable. Again, this is not too difficult to train into your family. It’s driven by the expectation and wisdom of the parents.
3. Respect for mom and dad’s privacy. Install door lock on the master bedroom or at the very least, train your children not to barge into a room without knocking, wait for permission.
4. Nap and/or quiet time during the afternoon, or after lunch, for EVERYONE, mom included. Just 30 minutes of quiet will do wonders for evening energy.
5. Adequate protein intake with breakfast and lunch. Self-control against sweets in the afternoon helps keep evening slump away.
6. Fresh air and exercise at least once a day, even in bad weather. Bicycling, walking, shooting hoops, walking to the mailbox, vigorous porch step sweeping or snow shoveling – Makes energy for momma, makes little ones happy.
7. Adequate medical care for Mom. Have thyroid levels checked, yearly physicals, etc.
When possible, I purchase small things that my husband likes – favorite candies, etc. and I give them to him when he is stressed out from work.
I find that the best time to get “me” time is when our daughter is asleep for the night and hubby is still unwinding from work; I also find time in between dropping my daughter off to daycare. Even though I drop her off earlier than needed each day, I get my own things done and when I am home with her in the evening, she gets my whole attention!
Planning a date night once a week is also ideal; without it we tend to get lax about making time for each other. If it isn’t possible to do THAT, we wait until our daughter’s asleep and then order takeout food and have a relaxing (romantic) dinner together and watch a new movie (or go straight to the bedroom).
Finding the time and energy with 6 or more kids in our home (we are foster parents too) was somewhat challenging for me to find the time to spend with my husband but what helped was my husbands insistence for dates. No matter what it took, in money or favors, we left our house with just the 2 of us and went somewhere, anywhere. A movie, shopping, dinner it did not matter even when we were left with the image of tears streaming from our little ones eyes, we perservered. After 5 minutes they were fine and we were able to enjoy some kid free time with each other. We also manage two vacations, one for us and one for the family. It is rejuvenating.
Ah yes, little ones!! I have a three year old, a two year old, and an 11 month old. So yes, it’s really hard to get in date time. But what we’ll do is get a movie from the library (for free), I’ll make chocolate covered strawberries and have champagne, or we’ll order a pizza, sometimes it’s red vines and popcorn. The idea is something special. Then we’ll put the kids to bed early and have a date night at home (sometimes we will fall asleep during the movie as we’re both exhausted, but at least we had some special time!). I know it’s not much, but it’s all we can do at the present. (as not many people feel they could babysit that many kids at such a young age). The other thing we like to do is put our kids in joggin strollers and go jogging together. That is how we met and fell in love. We both love to run, but hardly find the time on our own. So on a Saturday morning, we’ll all get out for a jog and then go to a cafe afterwards for a coffee or something. It always renews our love for one another to do the little things that remind us of our first days together, and it’s good for our children to see mommy and daddy still so in love with each other and occasionally smooching at the cafe!
1) My husband instituted and enforced that no one got out of bed (except to go to the bathroom) until momma was up and said they could get up. My children were early risers, enforcing this rule, allowed me to rest until 7:30 or 8:00 am … and even have time to read my Bible before facing the day. My 5 now range in age from 6-17, and they still essentially follow this rule, which gives the older ones some quiet time in the morning if they wake before me, and gives me a chance to rest when I need to.
2) When you get the least ones down for a nap, let the older one have a quiet time in their room, coloring, or watching a movie (sorry for all the people against the TV baby-sitting), and then you can catch a nap. It is amazing what 45 minutes-hour can do for your energy level!
I am a mom of 2 boys, ages 4 and 6.
1. Don’t feel guilty about taking naps when the kids nap–DO IT EVERY DAY. I still do!
2. Almost everyday at about 4:00 PM I make myself a cup of tea and have one piece of dark chocolate–good for your heart and gives me a little pick me up to be ready for my husband when he gets home and I can greet him with happy energy.
3. Pick out a couple of outfits WITH your husband. Go shopping together, pick out a sexy pair of jeans together. Then before he gets home, put on a cute outfit, touch up your make up, and spray a bit of his favorite perfume. Ok, this might be too much information, but sometimes I’ll leave off the underwear under my clothes and that drives him crazy to know that. I’ll email him at work to tell him. Then we both can anticipate a fun evening after the kids are in bed!
I have five kids between the ages of 14 and 2. I used to think I did not have “time” for anything for myself. You know, I had too much “responsibility” to my kids to take “me time”. However, after YEARS, I have found that if I do take care of myself , I am better equipped emotionally and physically to care for others!
As for finding time as a couple, well I won’t LIE! It is difficult with young children. However, if you turn off the TV :) – you’ll probably find you have several hours every night to spend alone. We have played games, talked, sat outside, etc. Simple things that don’t require a sitter, but can keep you connected!
My husband and I have been married for 3 1/2 years, and have an 8 year old and a 6 month old. Before our youngest was born, I would have my oldest have a “camp out” in his room, complete with food, drinks, movies, etc. (whatever activity he wanted to do, I made sure he had everything for) … during his special “camp out” nights, he would get to do anything he wanted (within reason) as long as he stayed in his room. He didn’t have a bed time (as long as there was nothing to do early the next morning) so he really had so much fun having his own time. I even gave him incentive that if he behaved and was responsible in what he did, he would get another night to do it again. While he would be busy in his room, it gave my hubby and I some alone time. All day I’d psych myself up to spend quality time with him, just making sure the house was “straightened up” JUST enough so it looked descent when he walked in the door … giving me energy to focus on me for him.
Things changed when I had a baby, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to work it out. I forgot how demanding babies are! But when I’d start pacing myself in what I chose to do and not to do (the laundry could wait til tomorrow, if it meant I was getting even an hour of alone time with my hubby), I found I had the energy for him when he got home. My oldest would still do his “camp out” nights, and the baby would be fed and put down a little early so my hubby and I could have our time that we needed. Of course, if the baby went down early, it usually meant that he would wake up before I had gotten enough sleep to feel enrgized the next day. So, what I do is wake the baby up after we’d have our alone time and feed him again. This gave me a nice chunk of sleep before he woke up again to be fed. If you’re up anyway, might as well wake the baby up so you can get that MUCH NEEDED sleep after his/her belly is full!
We also shared with our oldest how important it is for mom and dad to have alone time … it makes us better parents to him. He loves the idea of giving us our time to be together, and he also sees how happy we are as a couple, and he feels secure. It’s worth it to MAKE the time (even if you fall asleep on the couch together cuddling) to be together as a couple … the kids really do respond very well to your closeness because they get the love they need if the two of you are happy.
My husband and I have a set day during the week that is designated as “date night.” My girlfriends and their husbands have the same. We all have different days for our “dates.” During the week we will watch each other’s children, so we can have that special time w/ our husbands. It’s so important to have a support system in place! If you’re a stay at home mom and have access to a Mother’s Day Out program at your church, you could have a date afternoon or lunch with your husband.
We have 6 and while our youngest is now 3 and we have built in babysitters – it is hard to make it through that time.
One thing that really helped us was our at home dates. We would put the children to bed early (the older ones could read stories quietly or to the others in their rooms), order take out Chinese (or whatever you love), set up candles etc. and had a quiet, romantic dinner at home.
Read the Love Languages book and discover what your spouse’s love language is. Put your very little extra time into speaking that love language to your spouse daily. It is so much easier trying to do one extra thing each day that you know will show your love to your husband and speak directly to his heart then floundering around trying to do more when they might not really be what speaks the most to his heart. This really does matter because of all the needs of your little ones who truly DO need your time, training, nurturing, teaching, etc.
I have 4 kids, I have long realized that we should make time to spend with hubby, recognizing this I looked at the most relaxing thing that I know my hubby enjoyed which in this case was going to movies. So what I have started doing was to ensure that my helper stays in on Tuesdays (every second Tuesday that is) to look after the kids. Thank the Lord she always tries to accommodate me. Therefore hubby and I have our time out for movies, supper, or just walk around to talk about the things that we don’t get to do.
The other option also is, I send the kids to my mums on Saturday and hubby and I get to spend time together on Saturday night and Sunday morning before we go and collect the kids.
Remember that not only do you need a break from the kids to be with hubby but the kids also need timeout from mum and dad.
I currently am a SAHM to an 8 year old boy and 3 girls, 7, 4 and 20 mo. Tired, yes – but inspired – even more! Our love got us where we are today! There is never enough time in the day to get “everything” done – but if we focus on relationships … and be DELIBERATE about showing our love to each and everyone in our house … all will be well! I have learned that this is a season in my life – I am needed by 4 little ones and a wonderful and loving husband. I choose to think that I am “blessed to be this stressed”, and that I will have plenty of time to sleep in the future – at least that is what I pray will happen! This mothering gig is harder that I ever thought it would be, and there are days that leave me just shaking my head – BUT- with the help of my sweetheart, I truly feel like we can get through this, and even enjoy it, together! Bless you, mommies of young children – I am in the same boat, and at times, it’s very loud, crowded and a bit stinky !
Join FlyLady. It will give you a routine and you will have so much more time for your family and especially your husband!! I joined in January … it is FREE!! And WOW what a difference! You won’t believe what you can get done in 15 minutes when you are focused. Set a timer for 15 minutes for your kids … they will get more done in those 15 minutes than they would in a few hours without. FlyLady
I have found that having a set bedtime for ALL of my kids helps a lot. Even the oldest is in his room at the same time as the 2 year old. He is allowed to read until his “lights out” time. It seems to us as though just this little bit of extra time alone, even if we spend it cleaning up the kitchen, helps. Also, curb the TV. It robs SO much conversation time!!
I did an exchange … I knew other women who had kids in the same age groups as mine (I had 4 from Newborn to 71/2 yrs old). I scheduled play dates when the youngest was napping and took a bubble bath with candles or a romantic picnic. It wasn’t a lot of time at first but as the baby got older I was able to add him into the exchange with the older 3. Then I would watch my friends kids so they could have some private time as well.
I kept a routine, early bedtime, so my husband and I could have alone time. The kids did not have to be asleep by 9:00 but in their rooms ready for bed and then lights out at 10:00. I found this also gave the kids a winding down time.
There was a program on TLC (I think) about a family of 10 (if memory serves, they had 2 children and wanted another so the wife underwent fertility assistance resulting in her carrying 6 foetuses). This remarkably strong woman declined the doctor’s suggestion of ‘downsizing’ the pregnancy and she and her husband have been bringing up 8 children. She focuses on creating memories and activities for the children that will strengthen their bonds with each other, her thought being that they they will have each other throughout their lives – she really focuses on the big picture and consequently all the little day-to-day annoyances (that many of us might crumble under with 8 children) are only details. I’m sure she has her moments, but I was really impressed with her maturity and generosity of spirit so thought I’d share this with you.
I would encourage couples to MAKE time for each other … even when it’s hard. This was advise given to us when our kids were young. We did it occasionally and were glad when we did, but now that our kids are grown I look back and see how important it was, especially so that my husband didn’t get left in the dust of the relationship and I wasn’t overly stressed with meeting everyone’s needs. It is so easy to focus on the kids because they are in front of you all the time. They are the urgent, yet couples need time for each other!!
My husband and I are in ministry and because we had no family close while the kids were little, one of the things that I did was trade babysitting with some good friends. They were people that had become “family” and we trusted them totally to take care of our kids … sometimes overnight. It gave my husband and me a time of refreshment.
Something else we did was to rent a movie to watch after we tucked the kids into bed. We planned ahead of time so that the hours together we greatly anticipated. Snuggling on the couch with a bowl of popcorn and watching the movie together would be enough to keep us going for another week.
My husband surprised me for our wedding anniversary once by taking me away to a bed and breakfast and seeing a play. It was wonderful. He had arranged everything … including kid care.
I’m the 29 year old mother of 4 children, ages 8 months to 7 years.
Something that I believe has saved my marriage from becoming stale and impersonal is ‘date night’ where my husband and I take turns planning a date.
Since we have the kids, we have all these dates at home. We’ll go out on the trampoline with a drink and look at the stars, have a reading night where we’ll each read an article from a magazine that we wanted to share with the other, cook a late dinner together, play a sex board game, just whatever we feel like doing together. We try to jealously guard this night from other engagements and distractions, to show each other that we treasure time with each other.
#1 Make sure your kids are in bed on time! My kids ages 2 and 4 are both in bed by 8:30 every night. That gives us a good two hours to be alone with no interference.
#2 If you can’t afford a babysitter find another couple that has kids and set up a schedule to watch their kids every other week one night and they can watch your kids one night every other week.
#3 Take advantage of church programs like AWANA. Many churches view AWANA as a parents date night.
I have a 2 and 6 year old.One thing I try to do once in a while is, when I make supper for the kids, I wait to make it for me and my husband, then after the kids go to bed I set the table with a nice table cloth and dishes and candles. I turn down the lights and we have a nice romantic candlelight dinner without paying a sitter or finding the time to go out. And it really doesn’t matter what we eat.. It has been as simple as grilled cheese to something more detailed. I try to make something I know he has been wanting! It is a nice way to reconnect from the busy and crazy life that can get in the way!
I go to bed earlier than my husband so something we started long before having children – was for him to “tuck me in” at night. He comes & lays with me for 20-30 minutes so we can just talk and spend time together. And it seemed when we had our children – that was the only time we did get to spend together. But it’s always a sweet, quiet, relaxing time together no matter how hectic life had been during the day. It’s a time for us to re-connect.
I have 5 children, ages 10 months to 8 years. Yes, it is a busy season, but whenever someone looks at me and says, “wow, you really have your hands full,” I smile and say, “I wouldn’t have it any other way!” But of course, there are times that I miss being able to spoil my husband as much as I’d like! So here are some things I try to do as often as possible…
*We trade babysitting with another couple who also has children, once a month. It’s free babysitting, and a win-win. ;)
*We plan dates “after hours.” Once the kids are in bed, we sit and watch a storm, a movie, or just talk, but I always try to make it a little “special” by a dessert or drink, alcoholic or non. Some of our best conversations are over milk and cookies (his favorite!)
*”It’s in the little things.” Doing one of his chores, making one of his favorite meals, or having the kids pick up the backyard toys before he mows … letting him know I’m thinking about him and his needs during my day.
*Teaching the kids to honor him is huge too! As much as we moms brag about our kids to our husbands at the dinner table, “Daughter did this today, son learned that …” we need to brag about Daddy to them, and in front of him! He is the “king of the castle” and should feel like it. I’m not talking about false flattery, I’m talking about truly making the kids aware of how hard he works, how accomplished he is, what his job is like. It helps him open up to them too at the end of the day.
*And maybe most important, simply communicating “I miss you” and “I miss being 100% wife.” goes a long way. It is just a season, he knows that too, but actually SAYING that you miss Saturdays spent in bed can bring a smile, and renew hope for that “someday”.when the kids are all grown up. Make sure he knows he isn’t alone in missing the before-children days, and mean it!!
[My husband] and I have 3 children. This year we will celebrate our 30th anniversary and we still have a date night once a week. One thing I am sure has helped us to keep this through the years, was that we taught them from when they were very young, that daddy and mommy are going out. We told them it was our date night. They grew up knowing that dad and mom had a date night and even as they grew and found they had things they wanted to do, they worked them around mom and dad’s date night. Now there have been a few times we postponed it to a later date ([my husband] and I both would agree to it). This has been so helpful to our relationship. I realize this is only a once a week help, but it may be a start for some.
Here are some hopefully helpful tips …
1. Take naps when the little ones do.
2. I know it’s hard, but try to put the little ones to bed an hour before you and your husband.
3. Do your best to make a daily routine to get tasks and chores done. Teach the other children to pick up after themselves immediately when they are through with something. Toddlers can even learn this excellent habit.
4. Use a crock pot to cook meals. It saves time and energy.
5. Try to cook some things a head of time so you can just warm them up to save time later.
6. Communicate with him. Leave him notes, Verbally tell him the things you love about him. Even if you can’t spend a lot of quality time together because you’re so busy with the kids you can let him know how you feel about him without too much effort.
7. Most importantly start your day with a prayer of thanksgiving which includes asking the Lord to direct your paths and to give you the strength you need to be the wonderful Proverbs 31 woman.
I have 5 kids age 10 and under. I have been changing diapers, cleaning poop, wiping faces, and trying to find time for a shower for 10 years. It is hard to find time for yourself let alone for feeling sexual after being “on duty” 24/7. First of all you have to realize a man’s need for sex. Just like you need a nap, your man needs sex. My husband and I talked about things and he would like it often, me? not so much, but after seeing his needs and that the kids would be gone in so many years but we would still be together for the next 60, I really needed to scoot sex up on the priority list. That’s just the first step but half the battle because we women can get caught up in kids/ diapers/ messes and not look around long enough to even THINK about your man’s needs.
The next thing is to ask for time for yourself, tell your man that you need this to feel like a woman, not just a milk machine. Go to the library, read some books in the quiet. Go to the coffee shop with friends. Find a craft that you like and take a class. Do crafts with a friend at a coffee shop. Window shop, whatever it is, try to do this once a week. It may take some work to find sitters or work around job schedules, but IT’S WORTH IT!
Then, try getting your mind ready. There was an idea on this site to write “TS” on a calendar or sticky note and every time you saw it on the bathroom mirror or on the fridge, you would remember to “think sex”. Then allow yourself 10-15 mins in the bathroom after the kids are in bed to prepare your body and mind. Come out of there when you have washed away the day, taken off your husband’s baggy clothes, brushed your teeth minty fresh, shaved your legs (that’s an optional one!) and feel like you are ready for what women are uniquely designed for.
Sorry this is long but I think women need a process to think about during the day so they are mentally prepared for sexual things. This is what has worked for me and I’m right there with you!
I wish I had understood better, when our children were small, how very overwhelmed my husband was. I knew how overwhelmed *I* was, and unfortunately, I took the overwhelm as evidence that my love and life partner just wasn’t pitching in adequately.
Not surprisingly, he felt the same way. So I said a lot of stupid things in an effort to make clear that it was I, not he, who was bearing the larger burden, and he reciprocated, bitterly, in kind.
The truth of the matter was that there was just much more work between running the household, earning a living, and caring for the kids than two people could possibly do.
I wish someone a little older and wiser had straightened me out on this point. It would have changed our evenings into a more “partners in the trenches” mode, if only I’d thought to say “you’re beat, I’m beat, we have to make it to 8 p.m., and we’ve still got dinner/ dishes/ baths/ bedtime/ laundry/ lawnmowing to get through. What should be our attack strategy tonight?”
I do point this out my friends who are in the young-kid stage. I think, in some ways it’s a more practical approach than the oft-quoted, but often very difficult to implement, suggestion to “carve out couple time.” If you can turn the chore time into partners-lovingly-working-together-time, it’s the equivalent of making your job joyful instead of living for vacation.
I don’t remember where I heard this (it may have been [on TGW] actually), two couples with young children got together and planned a date night. One week, one couple keeps all the kids and the other couple goes on a date. The next week they swap. The “date” may be grocery shopping or dinner and a movie, but whatever it is, it is just the two of them for a few hours.
I am a firm believer that a regular date night is part of what has kept my marriage so strong. I don’t have children, but every Friday we have a “date”. It may just be the two of us eating supper and watching TV or renting a movie, but on Friday night, we have a date. We don’t do housework, yard work, or any chores. We just spend the time together.
I have several friends with children who have their date night (pick a night) after the children are in bed. All kids are in bed by 8 (they are mostly toddlers still) and then mom and dad have a few hours “alone”.
We (thus far) only have one baby, but we did have a rough start … I had a breast infection for the first month and a half and the baby had colic, which resulted in 7+ hours straight of crying a day. I was not at my finest. :) Dh was still in school so I had almost no help from him since he was gone most of the days and had to study at night. So we were really in survival mode!! A few things I did to let dh know I was still thinking about him were to make sure that no matter what I made the bed neatly once I got up. I also tried to keep up with the basic cleaning, even though this often meant doing it in 2 minute bursts while the baby was happy since I only had the use of 1 arm (from the infection). The other thing that he especially appreciated was that I kept his dresser neatly stocked so not only did he always have clean socks and underwear, but it was neatly folded and put away instead of “um … look in the dryer maybe??” He knew what I was dealing with and found every little thing to be a blessing because it was something I had done for him. Really, I think the key is to just do a few little things no matter what and they will see that despite what ever else you’re dealing with, you remembered to take care of them during the day. Oh, and the really big part? Pray for them every single day! When you’re having your rough and low moments pray that they wont have to feel that way if you can help it to be avoided! Ask God to help the two of you stay close, even if you don’t have any time for dates or snuggles.
8 AFTER 8 – When the children were young I used to love to have friends over for a meal in the evening. But by the time we had got 3 children in bed, tided up the house and cooked a meal for the guests I was exhausted. So I came up with this idea for an easy way to have a dinner party. We got together with 3 other couples (we all had 3 or 4 children) and started the ‘8 after 8’ club. Couple 1 would cook a starter, couple 2 would do a main course, couple 3 would do a sweet and Couple 4 would host the dinner at their house. We rotated who would do what course and rotated around the houses. It really worked well, now all we had to do was get the children in bed and (if it was at our house) tidy up. Then we would have a lovely evening with good food, wine (you only brought it when you could afford to) and the company of really good friends from our church. Those were such special evenings and now, even though all our children have grown up and most left home, we are still really close to each other.
I have a 1 year old and another on the way. Finding time and energy to do things for my husband is hard! We celebrated our second anniversary last week — and since money is tight the gifts were cheap and thoughtful. I got a bag of Reese’s peanut butter cups — my husband’s favorite — and started putting 2 in his lunch every day, one for each year of our marriage. Since then morning sickness has pushed the lunch making job off to him for a while but I still try to put out his two peanut butter cups so he can pack them himself. He has taken on a lot of the housework and care of our daughter since i’ve been sick with the second baby. And I appreciate it SO much!! So I make sure to tell him how wonderful he is, how glad I am to be married to him, how wonderful a dad he is, and I make sure to tell him that my other mommy friends are jealous that I have such a wonderful husband!
I only have two kids and it sent me to a counselor! I noticed that my zeal for my husband had gone from feeling apathetic to feeling antagonistic, over and beyond anything reasonable for the normal difficulties we faced. That clued me in that more might be going on inside me. God worked the combined stress factors of marriage and parenting to trigger wounds and memories from my past that he wanted to heal. Then he provided a counselor to see me through it when I was at a point I felt like I couldn’t go on.
A few years ago after the birth of my first child, I asked God what I needed to do to follow him more closely and feel better. His response, although I wasn’t sure it was him at the time, was to start getting ready for bed earlier. I’ve struggled for the last three years alternately rebelling against that or attempting to implement it. Recently I’ve surrendered by asking God how he wants me to conduct my life, what patterns in sleeping, eating, exercising, cleaning, etc. … he wants for me and asking for the strength to obey. He has been faithful and the more I try to follow his pattern the better I feel and amazingly, the more time I have for myself, my husband, my children, and my house. The more I rebel against his structure the more we suffer.
When I was searching for an answer to my exhaustion and inability to meet everyone’s needs all the time, I initially asked everyone but God. Pay attention to what he’s doing in your life and seek him first. Your Father knows what you need and will delight to give it to you.
We had our first child about 1 1/2 yrs after we had been married. So adjusting to married life and being pregnant was a huge stress on me, and l know that I was not the wife/lover that I should have been to my dh. During our first pregnancy my dh made a few calls to 900#’s and started looking at porn. Which plagued him for many years, PTL he has been free for a long time. Things between us got a little better between our children but I still never felt adaquate for him and so was not attentive to his needs. During the pregancy of our second child and months following he allowed (and I did too … didn’t see the harm at the time) himself to become “better” friends w/a friend of mine which led to a one time affair. Years have passed now, we are still together, God has worked in our marriage and it is better now than ever, but I tell you all of that to say, that while I know that it wasn’t my fault that he looked at porn and while it wasn’t my fault that he gave into the affair, I believe that I did play a part. I could have been a better lover to him and friend. If you knew my husband you would find that he is one of the most caring, kindest and loving people in the world, one that may have never taken some of the paths that he did if I had been the generous wife I should have been.
Please tell these new moms to press through their tiredness, stresses of the day and to purpose to spend a little time with thier husbands so that somewhere maybe someone won’t have to go through all of what we have been through.
As a working mom, I’ve found that a convenient time for some lovin’ is right after we all get home. The kids are ready for a snack and a little TV time. When we get them set up; we run off to the bedroom for our own “snack time”. If we wait until after the homework, dinner, dishes, bath, bed routine I’m really tired and don’t have a lot of energy left. On the days we do this I’m whistling and floating around the kitchen while preparing dinner and my husband feels content and loved as he goes through his evening duties. Plus the “looks” we give each other the rest of the evening are great. This may not work for those who have infants but then again, there’s always a high chair and cheerios if older siblings are around to make sure no one chokes.
You don’t always have to make love. Sometimes during this snack time; we’ll sit and talk about our day and reconnect.
Let some things go if they aren’t a priority. My husband would prefer to see the housework slide a little if I’m spending more energy focusing on family time. Along the same line, enlist the help of your children whenever possible. Maybe things won’t be perfect the way you would do it, but if you ask the little ones to clean up their toys, or help with the dishes, or sort laundry, it means less work for you – and the bonus of teaching them that everyone contributes and is important in a family!
I am only on my 2nd child and haven’t had the joys and trials of experiencing more on a daily basis. My suggestion is an early bedtime to give you some R&R and some time with hubby before it gets late the real tired state sets in.
When our children were younger, and I was exhausted by bedtime, or ended up in a child’s bed in the night, I asked my husband to wake me in the morning for lovemaking (and I am not even a morning person!). He agreed to this compromise, and it is still something special for us after 10 years!
When my kids were little. I would put on video for them. One that lasted at least 30 mins. Then my husband and I would go in the bedroom for 30 mins of uninterrupted time. It is not long but it does help to know that you can have a little time with each other. You will be surprised what can happen in 30 mins.
My husband and I have two children under the age of two. The best time we have together is after the kids are in bed. My advice, work hard to get the kids on a schedule to be in bed by eight or so. That way there is still a few hours left for you and your husband to find time together.
It almost sounds OT, but giving the older children chores is a wonderful, indirect blessing to a husband. For example, my 7 year old takes out the recycling, puts away the toddler and baby toys each night, cleans the bathroom and clears the table, in addition to keeping his room and personal messes cleaned up. Since he does those things, I don’t spend the time after the kids have gone to bed cleaning up after them, I can be with my husband and still wake up to a clean house.
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