My husband Shawn and I believe in romance. We spend intentional quality time alone together every week, and before COVID, took at least one vacation a year without our kids.
And no, we're not newlyweds!
Maybe it’s because we’ve both been divorced and know what can happen when a marriage falls apart, but without a doubt, focusing on our marriage is the top priority for us.
Thirteen years and two kids later, I've come to understand that romance, date nights and trips for two are a huge part of loving your life as a mom.
Although I know no two families are the same, in most, that guy you fall asleep beside, share a bathroom with and whose socks you fold is the guy who made you a mother. In other words?
Your kids only exist because you two got together.
Don’t forget that! Those rascally, adorable, infuriating, loving, snuggly humans who make your heart want to burst with pride came into this world because you and your husband fell in love. That’s something to celebrate over and over.
So I’m gonna say something that might sound kind of radical.
Your relationship with your husband should be the primary relationship in your household—not your relationship with your kids.
Shocking, but true. And you’ll be a better mom for it, believe me. I would even put prioritizing and nurturing your marriage up there with self care.
Think about it. Chances are, if you’re making intentional, quality time for you and your husband, you’ll be happier and feel more fulfilled. You’ll probably also experience more joy, patience and love with him. And do you think that will spill over into your relationship with your kids?
Oh yes, girlfriend.
And you know what else? You’re setting a great example for them. You’re teaching them what a loving, respectful relationship looks like. You only need to look at your own parents (for better or for worse) to understand how important that is.
Having been in a marriage where romance and date nights were not a priority, I know how fatal that lack of attention can be to a relationship. Remember what you love about each other. Remember the reasons you got together, and hold on to those reasons. Celebrate them. Every. Single. Week.
The million-dollar question, of course, is how do you make it happen?
First things first: Talk about it! If regular date nights with your spouse are not a thing in your marriage (yet), start off by having a conversation. I’m no counselor, but I’ve loved enough to know that communication is key when it comes to relationships, and that’s true whether we’re talking about your relationship with your kids, your sister, your parents or your best friend. Without a doubt, being open and up front with your husband is vital to prioritizing your marriage.
Second: Plan! You’ve gotta be intentional. When you’re planning your week, work in alone time for you and your significant other. Involve him in choosing the day of the week that would be best for both of you. Take turns deciding what you’ll do on your date night. Make the process part of your time together.
And lastly, but super importantly, get help if you need it. Before the pandemic, Shawn and I had what we liked to call The Babysitter Optimizer. We had five women on rotation, all different ages and in different stages of their lives so as not to lose everyone when say, it’s time to go to college or time to get married. We were able to call on them any time we wanted to get some alone time.
With COVID still a thing, my husband and I admittedly haven’t used a babysitter in almost a year, but we have been able to rely on our family. I would venture to say the same goes for you. Grandparents love to see their grandkids!
And if even help from family just isn’t an option right now, for whatever reason, don’t let that be your excuse. Sometimes Shawn and I do date nights at home, once our kiddos are in bed—or at the very least, upstairs with a movie (or, yes, a device).
The point is, you can make it happen. You might have to get creative or do a little finagling, but remember why you’re doing it. Prioritizing your relationship is so important.
And I promise you, it’s so worth it.
Nikki Oden is a lawyer turned writer who teaches busy moms how to get a grip on their time so they can go after their goals—without the mom guilt! Click HERE to grab her free Super Mom Starter Guide and learn the three things that all moms who are rocking it know.
This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.