I remember the days of bringing home our first child and thinking just how tired and overwhelmed I was. And then we moved across country soon after our second. Then our third came into the world and all I could think about was how fast time had gone by and how I was missing out on time with my husband.
He kept telling me “Pump and we can go somewhere. That’s all it takes.” But that seemed way too oversimplified to my raging mama hormones. Plus, not living near family meant trying to find a babysitter. And there had to be a better way to connect with my spouse if pumping wasn’t really an option or if getting a sitter was too difficult. There had to options when we needed time to decompress or at least have some adult conversation.
So I started brainstorming ideas, including dates, but also for when it just wasn’t going to happen.
How to Make Time for Your Spouse after Kids
Life gets busy after you have kids, there’s no doubt about it. We have three, nearly 4 kids and it’s both exhausting and rewarding. We find ourselves running in several directions at once just trying to keep up with everything and everywhere we have to go.
And this can make it difficult to spend quality time with your spouse.
It’s important to find time to not only reconnect with each other, but to strengthen the bond of your marriage.
1. Have a regular date night if possible.
Hire a babysitter, drop the kids off for quality time with their grandparents, or swap babysit with other parents, but make a regular date to spend time together. And if budget is an issue, with a little imagination, you can plan some great dates at home … pizza and a movie, cooking dinner together, or star gazing on a blanket in the backyard.
2. Try new adventures together even if you have to bring the kids.
Nothing bonds a relationship better than creating memories together. And the adventure doesn’t have to be big and bold like mountain climbing.
It could be learning how to garden or finding a new skill like taking some classes either in person or online. Have you always wanted to go kayaking or white water rafting? How about learning how to do a home improvement project together? Whatever it is team up and learn to do it together.
3. Develop a common interest.
Similar to a new adventure but on a smaller scale. Maybe it’s just cooking a certain type of food or watching the lastest episode of something like Forged in Fire or Chopped.
But it can go further into more of the adventure category. Do enjoy bike riding? Painting? Taking cooking classes? Take up a new hobby together, or learn to do something that your spouse already enjoys so you can do it together.
4. Getaway overnight.
No kids allowed. Yeah, I know. It’s hard. We still actually haven’t done it and it’s been 7 years. But we at least have the goal… and actually we tried but had to come back home because of an emergency.
The possibilities are endless. State parks usually have campsites and lodges. Or enjoy a stay at a bed and breakfast. Check into a hotel, they usually offer weekend getaway packages that include your room, breakfast, and tickets to a local event.
5. Write love letters to each other.
I have what we call my elephant box… we’re really creative because it’s just a wooden box with elephant carvings. Anyways, it has little notes and strips of paper with things my husband has written that he either remembers, loves about me, or wants to do with me in the future. And it makes my heart soar, especially on days I feel more overwhelmed or lonely.
So get out the pen and paper. Writing love letters is a lost art form. But what a great way to express your love, in writing, something that your spouse will treasure for years to come.
6. Have a couple’s book club.
Just the two of you. Take turns picking a book, then read it and discuss it together over coffee. Not only will you strengthen your bond with quality time, you will also expand your mind and imagination.
7. Set aside a regular time to talk.
Make it a regular part of your day to focus on each other and spend some time catching up on the day after the kids are in bed and you’re not distracted. Just 10-15 minutes a day can make all the difference.
More marriage resources for parents
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Kara is an author, wife, and mother of 3 children living in Boston, MA. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and even helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!