Though there are a great many options and variations available today in the way in which people live out their lives, for the most part, the norm is still to get married and have children. I don’t think that the old rhyme of “First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes ____ with the baby carriage,” is yet totally out-of-date.
What’s changed, however, is the style in which children are raised. Mostly as a result of the economy and the women’s movement, more moms are in the work force rather than staying home in the role of the traditional homemaker. As a result, there’s also a difference in the attention that’s given to children.
Presuming Mom’s working, she’ll have less time to spend with the kids. Of course, the good news is that today’s Dads are more involved than they were years ago. However, research has indicated that the involvement of Dad is very important for a child’s healthy development.
Overall, our society is far more stressed. So even if Mom is able to stay home, there’s a lot to do. Much of it may even be the hectic schedule that the kids, themselves, have.
One of the messages that seems to have infiltrated our belief system (and rightfully so) is the importance of how one raises their child. Certainly, it’s a well-known fact that there’s great devastation to children when parents divorce. Even when there’s no divorce, the early developmental years are very significant to later healthy personalities and the forming of relationships. So, the early care-taking experiences and styles of parenting are very important.
I think that a byproduct of all of this awareness combined with the reality of the limitation of time, has resulted in an unexpected negative consequence: the couple suffers. As parents, you want the best for your children. You want to make sure you offer them love, time, and activities. But with all else that is going on, how much energy and time is leftover for you individually or as a couple?
Recent research has indicated that a couple who’s child-centric is harming their relationship. Additionally, it’s better for your children if you pay attention to your relationship. It’s important for children to see the two of you offering a role model of what a good relationship looks like.
Many Moms feel guilty when they take some time for themselves; they feel as if they’re being selfish. This is absolutely not the case! Rather, this is a necessary thing to do to refuel so that they can continue to do their parenting job well. The same is true as a couple.
Then, of course, there are the practical concerns: how do you leave the children to get out and with the costs of babysitters these days, how do you afford it? Good news: to have quality time with one another, you don’t have to vacate the property nor spend a fortune. All it takes is allocating 15 minutes once or twice a week. At first, that may seem like a strain; if so, start with 10 minutes one time a week and build up.
To help you out with some ideas, here are a few suggestions:
- Watch a movie & eat popcorn
- Put on some music and dance
- Prepare a meal together
- Eat pizza over candlelight
- Play a board game or cards
- Bring out old pictures and get ready for some nostalgia
- Talk about anything — however, the kids, finances, and problems are “off limits”
By doing these small simple things, you will be gaining large advantages to your relationship. You’ll even be preventing one of the major factors in the empty nest syndrome. Though this may seem a bit odd at first, it really is good for you — and your children!