12.04.19

Genuine Friday: Your partnership after having kids

partnership after kids

Today is the 2nd round for Genuine Friday (the last week really just flew by) and I have another topic that comes up very regularly: Your partnership after having kids.

Between your job and being a mum, you are a woman too. And most likely a partner. So how do we keep our relationship alive? Interesting, romantic and fresh? I agree the crazy part is over. You decided to have kids and moved on to the next stage. The very serious stage. The one that changes you, your life and your future.

I know my husband (and even so I always call him my husband we are not even married. But after four kids together it does not sound right to call him a boyfriend either) for 20 years now. (we just had our anniversary this March) That is a very long time – I agree.

We know each other like nobody else. We share everything and yet we need to pay attention to not loose ourselves in our daily, busy, lives. It is easy. Getting up. Preparing the kids, breakfast, yourself. Out the door. Work. Collecting kids. Catching up about school, homework, friends, events. Making food. Eat, wash, bed. Done. Sounds familiar?

What we do? We are lucky. I am working from home and that means I am very flexible. And Eric manages to work one day a week from home as well. (or at least that is the plan and often it works out)

On that day we go out for lunch. Always. Only very special circumstances will make us change this ritual.

Other couples try to manage diners without kids, we do a nice lunch every week. When it is the school holidays and we cannot go, especially if it is more than once or twice, we really miss it.

And the days we are not both working from home we call each other at least once a day. Just to say hi and a little chat. Usually nothing fancy but definitely a ritual.

Is it something you could implement as well? If you both have office jobs – could you meet for lunch in the middle?

What else do we do? Once the kids (all of them) are in bed we will have a tea on the sofa. Every evening. And talk a little. And we enjoy the silence. I literally sit on the sofa every evening and appreciate the moment when they are all in bed. It feels so good, haha.

But not so long ago I added something else to our evenings. Twice a week – Monday and Thursday for us – we have a Talk Talk evening. No Netflix, but talking. You may say now, well… if you need to talk, you talk. Why having special days for that. True, these are not the only days we are actually talking to each other (no worries) but the days we actually discuss more heavy topics. And I felt it would be good to fix time for that. Because in that way we both know that we cannot plan to work that evening.

Like I said, we just started this recently but it is good. And, good old German list loving woman I am, actually make little lists of things I have in my mind and do not want to forget. Examples: Holiday planning 2019, childcare, home security, work schedules for the next 14 days (also to find lunch date days) and so on…

We hug. A lot. And whenever we need a hug we hug. Physical touching is important to both of us. Therefore we ask each other regularly how we feel. And if we cope or we feel like we are running a marathon that we can’t win. Because once somebody feels worn out it is too late. We try to be on top of it as good as we can and check in with each other. If necessary we make a plan on how to shift workloads to give a little more space to the person in need.

And yes, there are periods when things are a bit shaky. Re-connecting is not always easy but possible. And you can do it. And when you think about it – those crazy years with newborns, two year old’s testing you and kids approaching the tween years – they make you strong and a really good couple. There is so much JOY in parenthood.

And never forget: You are not alone. No couple is perfect. Do not ever think they are. Do not judge by perfect Instagram images. They all have ups and downs. This is life and normal. (which also means: do not compare!)

And one more tip from me – let it go. Sometimes all I can do is laugh (because the other option would be crying). And then I might throw a piece of cucumber at my husband and everyone has to laugh too. Or we decide to put the music on and dance after diner. It helps. It really does.

Go to playgrounds together. Just tell the kids that playground means PLAY if necessary and have your moment to talk to each other. We do this too.

Find your ways to be a couple and not just parents. See what fits for you, your life and surroundings. But do it!

 

Image: Thomas Leuthard
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