AVOIDING THE “ROOMMATE TRAP”
I was having coffee with some mama friends the other day and, in between chasing our toddlers, I posed a question (in true Carrie Bradshaw fashion) to the group: “How do you avoid becoming "roommates" with your husband after having kids?”
The conversation was rich and prompted me to look more deeply into the subject. Let’s face it, life gets in the way and it can be hard to find the energy to focus on your relationship amidst all the daily stuff that needs to get done. Like many of you, I belong to various “Mom Groups” on social media. I reached out and asked the following three questions:
I must admit I was a bit overwhelmed by the responses. This seems to be a challenge for so many of us! I received a ton of thoughtful and creative answers. Some of my favorites include:
Here are some of the highlights from these wise women:
Laurie: I prefer experiences together, he prefers talking. So we carve out time to talk once per week, uninterrupted. And now we're coaching our son’s soccer team together. It forces us to be on our very best behavior which helps break old patterns and it's proven SO fun.
Bethany: We do a "wish jar" for each other. His jar is filled with things he would like (scary movie night, 30 minute head scratch, etc.) and mine is filled with what I would like. Every week we each pull one wish out of the jar. We have the week to do the wish for the other person.
Laura: Honestly just being nice to each other every day makes a huge difference. It shouldn't be so hard, but it is.
Candice: Spend time together. Also, my attitude is not that our kids come first but that our relationship comes first because it is the foundation of our family and what makes things good for our kids.
Melissa: Go to the gym together almost every night after the kids go to bed. The neighbor comes over so we can go. That gives us some alone time and it's really helpful to have him by my side encouraging me and pushing me!
Marissa: We make each other a priority.
Hillary: Every night after we put the baby down we sit down together (not gonna lie, there is sometimes a beverage or two involved) and talk about our day.
Marissa D.: We do a family date night or we play video games after kids are in bed.
Amber: It's all about making time for what is important and forcing yourself...even if you're tired. If you don't make time for it, no one else will.
Rubina: We talk through our parenting disagreements and neither of us holds grudges. We also go out frequently, mostly with our daughter but also on date nights and anniversary trips.
Nicole: We have the exact same values and major priorities. I find this helps because that means we agree on important things and like to do a lot of the same things.
Kristina: We maximize our limited time together by turning off the technology and trying to be more direct with our needs. I make a point to show affection all day, I think it's good for kids to see their parents in love.
Carrie: We talk to each other all the time. Sometimes it's about our daughter and sometimes it's about a video game we are playing together. Sometimes it's deep meaningful conversations, but we are always laughing and having fun.
Heather: We always are asking “what I can I do to support you.” Being selfless is HUGE. When I'm tired and grumpy I have to recognize that he might be too and one is not more important than the other.
Ashley: We share a daily gratitude with each other: something the other person did that we appreciated. It has definitely shifted my mindset for the positive.
Rae: My husband and I met as teammates on a cycling team. After having our second child, we both became motivated to ride again and ride together. We hired a sitter for every Sunday morning. We've been doing 2-2.5 hours on the bike and then we get coffee afterwards. It gets us active and allows for us to have some time together doing something we both love, doing the thing we did before kids, and some time relaxing and talking over coffee.
Thanks, mamas, for sharing your wisdom. I am off to make a “wish jar” right now!
I’d love to hear your feedback to the three questions. Please share in the comments. Thank you for your input!
Carey Bradshaw, Author (& Nursing Aficionado)
Carey Bradshaw is a working mom just trying to balance it all. She runs Hooter Holster by Carey Bradshaw and Creative Butter. In her (scant) free time, she loves yoga, reading, volunteering with All for Animals, and just being outside in the sunshine. Carey lives in Santa Barbara with her husband and business partner, George, their volunteer therapy dog, Buttercup, and their rambunctious and lovable toddler.