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Toronto, Canada

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Toronto, Ontario - M5V 1R2
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How to Find Time for Your Marriage While in the Thick of Parenthood

Written by Margaret Bourne

Parenting takes so much out of us. We want to do the best by our kids, and this can leave someone important at the bottom of our ‘to-do’ list-our partner. Luckily, we found a writer willing to help us find some important time to reconnect.

Do you remember the last time you had time alone with your spouse that didn’t involve sleep? Me neither.

When kids come along, you’re lucky if you can get in a sentence without incessant questions or attention-seeking from children. We’re at the stage that even a phone call with my husband is interrupted by our son trying to get mommy’s attention with calls of “mommy, mommy, mommy!”

It makes any conversation difficult, and sometimes you feel like you aren’t connected with your spouse the way you were before kids. So, it is important to enjoy the five to 10 minutes you have together, whenever you can.

Unexpected dates

There was a time when our son was just turning two and we were doing some home renovations. We dropped him off at our in-laws for a few hours.

Heading into the local home improvement store, my husband grabbed my hand to hold it.

This is something he hadn’t done for a while because normally one of us would be carrying out little guy into the store. It made me realize how much children can change a relationship.

 Find time to be together

The good news is that there are ways you can sneak in one-on-one time with your partner without interruptions from the kids. I like to think we’re like spies, on a top-secret mission to exchange vital information… and perhaps sneak in a bit of romance.

Sometimes you have to make extra time or multi-task to make it happen.

-First thing in the morning when the kids are still asleep can be a good time to connect. Wake up just a bit earlier to share a cup of coffee and chat through the day’s activities. Or get ready in the bathroom together.

-When your child naps, use the time to connect and talk.

-Text messages and phone calls during work breaks and lunch help keep you connected. It’s also the time when you can send a flirty text or whisper something romantic on the phone.

-Use designated TV time for kids wisely. If they are like my little guy, they are glued to the TV for at least 15-20 minutes. There are no interruptions when his favourite TV show is on.

-For older kids, enroll them in programs such as swimming lessons, sports or other courses. Spend time with your spouse while waiting for the class or game to finish.

-Keep yourself in the good standing with in-laws and family members who can babysit when you need some time alone together. This could be anything from a “date night” to something mundane such as going shopping together. We’ve even done this when we needed time to do some home renovations together. At least you can talk without distractions!

-Bedtime is the best time for quiet conversations. As soon as the kids are asleep, take the time to set aside anything else that needs to be done and chat. Or if you need to finish up chores, do them together.

-Bypass girls or guys night out for a night together instead. If you’re like me, your significant other is your best friend for life. Time with my husband takes precedence over girlfriends.

Maximize the time you have together

So you’ve got the opportunity to spend time with your partner. How to maximize it? While sometimes it’s not easy to stop multi-tasking, sometimes it’s best to just focus on him or her.

-Remove distractions such as TV, radio, the phone, and tablet.

-Don’t waste your precious time with your partner. You may need to think about what you’ll say in advance.

-Plan it out – want to do something special with your love? Make it happen by making sure he or she is on the same page in advance.

-If you want to call your spouse while you’re at work, send them a text message in advance to make sure they can talk then.

If you’re doing a date night, choose a restaurant or venue that’s close to your babysitter’s home. This way you can have a longer period of time together doing something nice.

-Have your child doing something that will most likely keep them occupied for a longer than usual with independent play. For example, consider their favourite TV show, a cool toy they love playing with on their own.

Worth the work

By sneaking in alone time to talk and connect with my husband, we’ve made sure we are on the same page. Somedays it’s a brief conversation that lasts five minutes. Other times, we get to enjoy an hour or two together.

At the end of the day, having a good relationship with your partner is the best thing for your family. Acknowledging them, listening and talking things through means you are still into them and meeting their needs.

So even though my son currently considers me his girlfriend, my husband will always be my number one guy.

What do you like to sneak time for with your partner? Let us know in the comments! 

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.