I think it’s safe to say that we are all busy, and as mothers we have to prioritize accordingly.
This means things that once were important to us, are now at the bottom of our lists (if on them at all!). And that is ok, because they no longer fit with our lives today.
Other times, things that are still important to us also get moved, forgotten, and ignored. Many times this can also translate to the other people in our lives who are not our children.
In the name of being busy, we might put off pursuing our interests, and even enjoying the company of our significant others. We are both tired, why bother planning something together, right?
However, over time this can have a damaging effect on your relationship. You might find yourself feeling disconnected from your partner, and even resentful.
So what is a busy mama to do?
Below are 5 steps you can take, with your partner, to communicate your needs and wants, and do a little digging to find out what you really need your relationship to be in this stage of your life, based on the book Babyproofing Your Marriage: How to Laugh More and Argue Less As Your Family Grows, by Stacie Cockrell, Cathy O’Neill, Julia Stone and Rosario Camacho-Koppel.
- Make a happiness short list
What do you need to have in your life in order to be happy? What are the things that really matter to you?
Take your time with this list. You might need to tweak it a couple times, but trust that what comes to mind without much thinking is usually true!
- Have your significant other make their happiness short list
Have your partner work on this list on their own. You’ll compare notes later!
- Avoid relationship neglect
Find a time when you will not be interrupted, such as when the kids are in bed, and go over your lists. This can be an opening experience, because your partner might have added things to their list that you never knew made them happy!
After comparing lists, it’s time to figure out a plan of action.
- What should give?
Come up with a list of low value activities that don’t contribute to your happiness list, and do your best to delegate, find help, or eliminate them all together. Your partner does the same. This exercise should free up some time on your schedules so you can do more of the things that make you happy and thrive.
- Eliminate score-keeping
Put together a list of everything that needs to be done in the home on a weekly and monthly basis. This includes everything from household chores to kids activities, vacation planning and date nights.
Figure out with your partner who will do what, and assign each person that task.
Focus on what you have on your list and trust that your partner will take care of theirs.
I personally find that this list can be tweaked over time as you might get tired of doing the same activity after a prolonged amount of time, and might be ready to switch things up. Either way, keep communications open with your partner so they also know they can come to you if they feel the same way.
I hope you find these tips helpful! This is a great exercise, especially if you love creating lists, like the achiever mom in me does.
Best of all, you will be creating some honest conversations with your partner, and developing a more intimate relationship in the process.