Families are great! They are full of laughter, love, drama, tickles, great memories, and life lessons. We have three beautiful children – 2 girls and a boy. Our home is what we like to call beloved chaos. My eldest is 19 years old, and then two little ones, 4 and 2. The house is loud, busy, sometimes messy, but it is full of love and lots of chatter. For us love and chatter, come hand in hand; my husband and I both have busy jobs, so when we get time to sit down to catch each other up on our day, or talk about things we have been meaning to discuss this happens:
Me: “So we should talk about our trip and what do you want to do?”
Hubby: ” Where do you think we should go? How about …”
4 year old: “Mommy!! What are you doing?”
ME:” Sweetie I am just talking to Daddy”
Hubby: “Yes Sweetie, just give Mommy and Daddy 5 minutes. Go and play”
4 year old: “No … I wanna hear!”
2 year old: “Mama!! I am going to jump on your bed!!”
ME: “No Daniel you will fall!”
Hubby:” Daniel nooo”
4 year old: “Let’s hide under the covers!!”
19 year old: “Hey is my laundry done?”
ME: “Huh what? Wait, your Dad and I just need 5 minutes to talk…everyone out”
19 year old: “Can I go get coffee with my friend later?”
Hubby: “Come on guys, just give Mom and Dad five minutes… so what do you think Myrtle Beach or Naples?”
ME: “What? Where? I can’t hear the kids are loud”
Hubby” This is not working … we should just text each other!”
That’s typical, several times a day! It’s crazy, and at times frustrating. By the time the kids are in bed my husband and I are busy getting things ready for the next morning, too tired to have a real conversation.
A relationship between husband and wife has many different elements: conversation, intimacy, parenting, decision-making, alone time separately, quality time together. In our house it’s about 10 percent us, 90 percent kids. But it’s not all a lost cause – the 10 percent we have is worth its weight in gold! It’s the little things and small efforts we make everyday to keep our sanity, but also to keep the intimacy alive in our relationship!
Just this morning, I had to go to work and the car needed gas, so my hubby woke up early and filled the tank for me. He takes the time to buy me treats from my favourite store, picks up new books for me to read, sends me regular text messages to keep in touch, gives me a spontaneous hug and kiss while making dinner, and of course lots of cuddles whenever we get a chance. It all helps especially when the kids are ALWAYS IN THE MIDDLE!
It is the little extras that allow us to make up for the 90 percent taken up by our children. I know a lot of couples have a monthly date night. Well, we have date nights around birthdays and anniversaries. I know it’s not a lot or as frequent, but we take it beyond just dinner. For the past couple of years my husband’s gift from me has been concert tickets to one of our favourite bands. For my birthday, we went to a movie…our first in 6 years! It was so much fun, it felt like our first date! We make treasured memories, despite all the chaos in the middle!
We have not travelled without the kids yet because we want to make the most of our family time together. But going on a family vacation is also a great way to reconnect with your spouse even though you have 3 monkey’s around you at all times. Kids always seem to tire out faster on vacation which means more alone time for Mom and Dad!
And of course we cannot forget the intimacy part … I know a lot of couples with children often joke they have no time in the bedroom any more. It is true … it is a challenge, but sometimes quality is better that quantity!! Trust me some good quality intimate time goes a very long way!
Soon enough our kids will be grown and that chaos will disappear. It will just be the two of us. Who am I kidding … GRANDCHILDREN! Our family is a very close knit one so I am sure even when our kids are grown and married, that 90 percent will still exist in the form of the pitter patter of little feet constantly coming for a visit.
The bottom line, regardless of the obstacles, making time with your better half is a must. Find what works for you both, for us, we text, we call each other … we figure out how to stay connected despite the challenges, and our beloved chaos!
Remember, it’s a two way street, you both agreed to “for better or worse”. So never give up or get frustrated, just get creative!
Photos by Danielle Guenther Photography