Thanks Gina for this guest post! Connecting with your spouse is an area that often goes overlooked until it’s a problem. It is easy to get caught up in the day to day work of raising a family and forget to put some effort into your marriage also. These 5 ways are very easy and can definitely make a big difference.
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5 Shockingly Simple Ways to Stay Connected With Your Partner Despite a Busy Family Schedule
Guest post by Gina from the Steps to Self blog
Do you ever go days at a time feeling like you barely see your partner despite living in the same house and sharing children? Crazy family schedules can make it hard to maintain the connection points that are vital to your relationship.
As a mom of four, I’ve experienced this first hand. Parenting duties can feel all-encompassing, not to mention when you add in work and other commitments. After 15 years of marriage, my husband and I have found a few things that help us stay connected despite our busy family schedule.
I’m sharing these surprisingly simple tips and tricks in the hopes that they may help other parent couples. Don’t let your relationship suffer due to lack of time together. Get creative and give these a try.
1. Use your cell phone
What a novel idea – using your phone to stay connected. So often our smartphones are devices of distraction, but when put to good use, they can actually help strengthen connections.
You might be surprised how sending quick texts a few times a day with your partner can bring back the feeling of connectedness. Even something as simple as “thinking of you” or “can’t wait to see you” can bring a smile and warm the heart. (Note: Things like “we’re out of diapers” don’t count.)
My husband stays home with our baby and will frequently send me a picture of what she’s up to during the day. I’m in a lot of meetings for work, so there’s never any obligation to respond. But it really brightens my day to receive his notes.
I’ve never asked him to do this. Just the fact that he’s thinking of me and wanting to make me smile reminds me how much he cares.
I’ve also made it a habit to call him every day on my way home from work. It’s a quick check in, but I ask about how things are going and get a few moments to chat before we’re bombarded with kid duties at home. This could also work well if you’re both commuting.
You don’t have to be physically in the same location to show that you care.
When moms are asked what makes them feel loved by their partner, the most common answer is the small everyday acts rather than big displays of affection. Making a small regular effort goes a long way.
2. Try shared chauffeuring
Once kids reach school age, there is so much driving them around—extracurriculars, birthday parties, sporting events, just to name a few. Even though we maintain a one extracurricular activity per child limit for our family, it still adds up to a lot of driving.
During the busiest times of year, we may only have one weeknight that doesn’t have a kid activity. Something I’ve found helpful is, when possible, finding a way for my husband and I to ride together when taking the kids to an activity.
The goal is to gain a few extra minutes where we can see each other and check in about our day.
This may not always be feasible, but it’s a good strategy to throw into the mix. Being together and going to the same places can help you feel like you’re on the same parenting team. You may not get as much done at home, so it’s about finding a balance.
If you’re feeling really stretched, also consider whether you can declutter your family schedule to create more time together.
3. Capture kid-free time
I understand getting a babysitter isn’t always an option. For us, cost and availability present problems. Don’t wait for once a month date night. You can find other ways to extend your regular days and get some alone time with your partner.
At my house, this often comes in the form of mornings or evenings when the kids are in bed. Grab an extra 10 minutes to chat or snuggle with your partner before you have to get up. Talk about the day ahead or reflect on the previous day.
Watch a show together or enjoy a shared hobby after the kids are in bed at night. Laugh about something the kids did or make time for more serious conversations.
If you’re ready to fall asleep right after you get the kids down, you might try putting the kids to bed a bit earlier. They can have some quiet time for reading if they’re not quite ready for sleep yet.
(For a great date night in you can get a Redbox movie. Here is a link for 1 free Redbox Movie)
Try meeting up for lunch with your partner during the work week, using school or daycare as a babysitter if you’ve got them. You can even take a day off to spend together while the kids are in school.
If you care for your kids during the day, could you trade a couple hours of kid watching with a mom friend to get some time to meet your partner on occasion?
Every so often, see if you can fit in a day or weekend away with your partner. Small getaways can be very restorative for a relationship and help with connecting with your spouse.
4. Start a conversation
Ask “how was your day?”and really listen to the answer. Yes, every day. It shows you care and is just a good habit. You’ll know more about what is going on in each other’s world and be able to provide love and support.
You don’t want to be in a situation where you learn a surprising piece of information about your partner’s life, remarking, “I had no idea that was happening,” only to be met with, “you never asked.”
Show genuine interest. It doesn’t have to be that time consuming, but it will make a difference.
I find this simple prompt is enough to get us talking, but if you get bored with this standard question, you can mix it up with things like, “anything interesting happen today?” or other variations.
You can also have a conversation with touch. Greet each other with a kiss or hug. Place a hand on your partner’s arm or shoulder and give them a smile. Take the extra few seconds to pause and make a more genuine connection. You’ll be glad you did.
5. Work on something together
I find that working towards a common goal together can help deepen the bond with my husband. It may be rearranging our bedroom, doing a jigsaw puzzle, researching an upcoming family trip, or planning meals for the week. It could even be something as simple as doing the dishes together.
The task or goal varies and is really up to you. The point is that working on something together makes us be in the same location, invites an opportunity for conversation, and makes us feel supported by each other.
It helps remind me of how we used to do things together before we had kids. You can even try creating a bucket list together.
When life is feeling overwhelming, I know my husband is there for me and we can work through things together. These small exercises help strengthen our bond.
Strengthen Your Connection
Are you ready to give some of these strategies a try? If you’re feeling a bit distant from your partner or worrying that you never have time together, make it a goal to try one of these next week.
I hope these tips will give you a few options for strengthening your bond with your partner while juggling hectic family life. Be more intentional about working on your connections, realizing that it is often those small steps that can add up over time.
Pin this list to keep yourself accountable.
Find more from Gina on the Steps to Self blog. As a working mom of four, she’s learned the hard way the importance of self-care. Her passion is helping other moms attend to themselves and live their best life. A professional writer by day, Gina is a southern girl who loves the beach and has a serious weak spot for gummy bears.
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