I am not good at balancing.
Or I guess I should say, I’m not naturally good at balancing.
I mean this in both the literal and figurative sense. I struggle to not fall over for most of my Barre workout; and I want to finish any project that I start as soon as possible, even if that means skipping dinner and going to bed at 3 a.m.
But this mentality doesn’t really work in most of life.
You can’t decide to clean out a closet and focus so intently on seeing that project through to completion that you neglect to feed your family or sleep.
This is true for relationships as well, and a lot of people get it really wrong.
Here are three ways I’ve found to balance my marriage and my kids:
1. Make Time
It’s easy for parents, especially moms, to get so caught up in doing life with kids that they forget to make time for their spouse.
Because you have to make time.
If you don’t make a deliberate effort to make time to nurture your marriage, it won’t get done.
There won’t ever just be free time lying around for you to scoop up and put towards your marriage.
You don’t have to make time for your kids.
If you don’t pay enough attention to your kids, they will let you know. They will follow you to the bathroom, sneak into your bed at night, sit in your lap while you’re eating, or climb into the dryer while you’re doing the laundry. If they’re old enough to verbalize it, they’ll tell you. They’ll ask you to read to them or snuggle them or hug and kiss them.
Adults don’t do that.
Adults don’t just say they need some quality time with their spouse. No, we are way too cool to just say what we need. Instead we start fights, nag, bicker, and complain which leads to more of the same.
This is why we have to plan time to be together as husband and wife – not dad and mom.
You should do this at least once month, if not more often.
Plan an actual date night where you go out to dinner and a movie. Or plan to get the kids in bed early and eat a fancy dinner at home. Or go big and plan a weekend getaway.
It’s very hard for a marriage to thrive when no one is putting effort into it.
Relationships take work, but it’s always worth it to love your spouse well.
2. One Kind Thing
Commit to doing one kind thing for your spouse each day.
It doesn’t have to be anything grand. You could simply make their favorite meal, pick them up a treat at the grocery store, or take care of a task for them.
Every couple of days I ask my husband, “what can I do for you today?” Sometimes he will ask me to take something off of his to-do list. Sometimes he says, “nothing.” Either way, he knows that he is important to me, and that I want to help him. We are partners.
Sometimes he asks me the same question!
The point is simply to let them know you are thinking about them and that you love them.
As a bonus, the act of doing kind things for them is good for you too.
Psychologists who study generosity have found that when you do something good for someone else, your brain’s pleasure center lights up and releases endorphins. Endorphins are also know as “feel good chemicals,” so doing kind things for others actually makes you happier.
3. Actually Talk
It’s really easy to get caught up in the bustle of life and forget to just talk to your spouse.
When my husband I were dating, we talked all the time. I went over my cell phone minutes every month and was sleep deprived my entire sophomore year of college because we’d stay up so late talking.
Life was obviously simpler then because we weren’t burdened with bills, kids, ball schedules, bedtimes routines, and all the other adult stuff that consumes our time.
So, make time to reconnect with your spouse.
Talk about what his dreams are.
What does he want to be doing in five years?
What do you want to be doing in five years?
How can you work together to make those dreams a reality?
Or if you don’t want to get too heavy, check out this list from Quirky Bohemian Mama of 100 Funny and Random Questions to ask your husband.
Marriage is hard work.
When you throw in kids, it can seem impossible some days.
But with effort and commitment, you can find a way to balance the demands of motherhood and the dreams of marriage.
It’s like my husband always says, “Why would you love the golden egg more than the goose that gave it to you?”
Obviously, I’m the goose in this analogy (and I’m pretty sure he means it as a compliment), and I’m lucky to have a husband that treasures me more than the four little golden eggs I’ve given him.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?” – Ecclesiastes 4:9