11:30pm – In bed, wide awake and running down the mental list of “to-dos” for the next day. My mind is preoccupied with a mix of kids’ schedules, homework, work deadlines, what will the kids and husband eat for breakfast, while anxiety kicks in with the things I did not get a chance to get to today. I didn’t have time to pack extra clothes for my son’s PE class, buy that extra set of supplies his teacher already reminded parents twice to provide, and darn, the dishes! I forgot about the last two plates that were left in the sink.
Pushing the comforter to the side and get myself out of bed for what feels like the 5th time since I’ve laid down, my
husband is still laughing at the latest Netflix movie he’s watching. He asks if everything is okay and I simply let him know I needed to get something done. He offered to help but I decline, thank him for the offer, and go about my business.
This has become routine. Day in and day out doting on my family – starting my day with them and their needs and ending my day with thinking about them. This my reality of being a working mom and wife. I absolutely love my family and wouldn’t want to have it any other way. But there are days where I feel like my husband and I haven’t had any fun or real time for ourselves. “Where did it all start” I think, as I’m scrubbing off the grime left over on one of the dishes in the sink.
The other day, while scrolling through one of my social media accounts, a few memories and past posts were shared and it was a photo of my husband and I - we looked younger and we were having fun. I vaguely remember the night the photo was taken because it was 9 years ago. We were in our 20’s, newly married and no kids. Even while dating, he was my comic relief, my eye candy, and the person I wanted to hang out with every single day.
Throughout the years, we have traded our nights out with nights in with the kids. Our worlds as individuals changed from ‘just the two of us’ to ‘party of 5’. We traded sporadic dates and couple adventures for structured and often chaotic work schedules. We swapped deep, thought-provoking late night conversations with short recaps of our work days, kids’ needs, and upcoming family and school events.
There is nothing wrong with that. It’s a part of life, a part of being in a committed relationships with kids. The passion and fire dwindle here and there and the butterflies in your stomach aren’t as active as they were in the relationship honeymoon phase. Often times, what becomes neglected is our sense and care for our individual selves and the relationship with each other. Why? We became busy- busy and preoccupied with everyone else needs and putting ourselves dead last with the fear of being perceived as selfish.
Communication and love styles evolve, responsibilities increase, all the while time seems to never be on your side.
So what can you do for yourself and as a couple? Be aware of your needs without being selfish – read a book, take a nap, get a new haircut. Set aside time for yourself and time with each other. It does not have to cost money, be extravagant or time consuming. Use this time to get to know each other again – to find your true self again. In a world of modern day scramble and trending needs, what we need to get back to is the foundations of happiness. It’s never too late to start – make 2018 the year to get the Spark back!
For more tips on how to improve your relationship see this article here "7 New Year’s Resolutions for a Healthier Marriage in 2018".
Leslie E. Gatan, BSW, MSLS, PMBA. – Leslie is a full-time working mother of 3. She and her husband have been married for 9 years. She is passionate about the SPARK program, its mission, and has been a part of the team since October 2016. Leslie is a social worker and has been working in the non-profit, human services field for about 10 years to date.