This past Thursday, I drove my kids 4 hours to my mother-in-law, who met me about an hour from her house and kept my girls until Sunday. Now, if this is your first time reading my blog (hey,girl!) you might not know my girls are four years old and 17 months. I’m a Realtor who works from home with my girls since I lost my childcare (although my grandmother keeps them once or twice a week so I can go into the office. Grandmas for the win!!). I’ve also been married to my Superman for over five years.
Many of you cannot fathom having your kids, especially kids so young, away for days at a time, but this is not the first time this has happened. About a year ago, my mother-in-law kept them for four days and about six months ago, my aunt had them for a week. Many of you wonder how I manage to make it through. Many of you may not have family who could/would help you like this, but I’ve found that for our family, it’s vital.
Allow me to explain: my husband often works 60 hours a week. That means that our time together is sparse. Sometimes, at the end of day we are both so exhausted when he gets home that we end up sitting in front of a tv in a silent daze of no communication. I’ve been training babies and cleaning and fielding phone calls from clients and trying to keep the baby off the laptop and the dining room table all day. He’s been working hard providing for our family all day. Dealing with people who can be so ungrateful and so demanding and so unrelenting, yet he still does his job (and loves it!) to provide for us. And it takes a toll on a marriage to spend so little time together, to spend the time you are together in silence and exhaustion. Now, don’t get me wrong. We have a great marriage. I’ve never doubted his love for me, nor him mine. But after a while, it became kind of distant. It got a little hard for a while. Sometime in marriage it gets that way. It’s times like this that we have to know we love each other. It’s times like this we realize that love was never a feeling: it was a choice.
I was exhausted. I know he was, too. I was tired from doing seemingly everything for everyone and being on a new medicine that makes me sleepy, well, all the time. And cleaning and cleaning to no avail. And working. And round and round. And so I asked my mother-in-law to take the girls for a couple days. Just so I could rest. I honestly did it selfishly. I just wanted to sleep and watch TV and be alone in the quiet (which by the way never happened between business meetings). But here is what did happen: after work, my husband and I got to talk. Alone. Without anyone else needing anything. We got to really focus on each other and what we needed for three nights. (And my girls got to spend time with family they ADORE!) We got to really just be married to each other and enjoy each other without any distractions.
(Before you go getting all up in arms because I called my girls “distractions,” you should know that 1. I’m real and sometimes they can distract us from each other and 2. I’m an awesome mama who loves her kids. So booyah!)
And it was amazing. Just a couple nights alone did something for us that we needed. And I can’t even explain it. It was just an amazing reconnection. Now, we do take regular date nights, but dinner and a movie every other week becomes pretty mundane after five years. And It gets expensive paying for a sitter on top of that.
But ladies, we HAVE to invest in our marriages. If what you need is a date night, plan one. If you can’t afford a sitter, ask a family member or switch off date nights with a friend. If you cAnt afford a date night out (no shame! Sometimes we can’t afford it either!), take a night after the kids are in bed and shut off the TVs. Pull up “questions to ask your spouse” on a phone and talk to each other. Answer the questions. Enjoy it. Talk.
And if you have someone you trust to keep your kids for a couple days, LET THEM. Show your husband he is important and take time for just the two of you. Sleep naked. Lay in bed in the morning just snuggling. Talk. Go on a date with no curfew and no babysitter to get back to. This man and your relationship is what will get you through some of the hardest times of your life. He has been there for the most joyous. God gave you each other for a reason. TAKE THE TIME for your marriage.
Love to my loves,