I found that it's easy to revert to "survival mode" when you are sleep-deprived and have mountains of things to keep track and piles and piles to worry about. Things like sleep schedules to worry about, and feeding schedules to think about, and brain development activities or foods to consider, and poop schedules to hash out, and school work to track, and am-I-paying-enough-attention-to-all-my-children to fret about, and allergies, and trimming tiny nails, and bath-time, and am-I-ever-going-to-shower-alone-again, and brushing-teeth-long-enough, and stocking diapers, and packing diaper bags, and packing school bags, and Tylenol micro-dosing, and what-is-that-rash, and teething, and tissues-vs-boogie-wipes, and and lunches, and activities, and are-they-truly-enriching-activities, and work stuff, and volunteering in class, and work-life-balance stuff, and...and....and...
and the last thing you worry about are the other adults in your life. Particularly the other adult who's in-it-to-win-it with you.
Marriage is hard. And Partnership takes work. And it's important that you don't just become ships passing through the night hoping to reconnect on a birthday or Valentine's day. Partners may start on parallel paths together but without continued reconnection, it can be far too easy to find yourselves on divergent paths and eventually you may discover a chasm too large to bring the paths back together.
Having "reconnect" on the to-do list is a no-brainer, but it's often difficult to implement the things that keep us connected when we already feel both ends of the candle are on fire. Here are 5 easy ideas:
Hug for 1 minute and time it. Seriously, set a phone timer, check your watches, even tell Alexa to do it, but set.a.gosh.darned.timer. Otherwise you'll short-change your hug. And while this may sound silly, the actual physical connection does wonders. Your brain's synapses start firing and you reassociate your Luvbunz with warm fuzzies again.
Leave love notes for each other. It doesn't need to be on perfumed stationary or anything fancy, it could even just be a quick note on a napkin in a lunch. This small act of love is a happy surprise that will remind each other that you're still partners in crime.
Ask about each other's day and actually share. Maybe start with "the best part of your day", "the worst part of your day". We ask our kids this each night along with the question "Did you do something to help or be kind today?". This may even become a venting session where you both let off some steam and commiserate together. And we all know that saying where commiserating makes the heart grow fonder or something like that.
Remind each other that this is just a phase. Little-kid season where it's All Hands On Deck is fairly short-lived. Actively see and remind each other of the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
Find a set time each day to sync. My cute parents have been married for nearly 5 decades and they sync up every night while they are lying in bed. It's when the kids are already tucked in and they get a moment to breathe with each other. I've overheard them discuss everything from what's happening with the family schedule the next day to financial planning strategies for retirement.
We're in the thick of it right now with an active toddler and an inquisitive 6-year old. There are moments where we just don't care about screen time or how much chip 'n dip they've had as long as we get to just sit for a sec or go to the bathroom alone. Both the hubbs and I are in critical leadership roles within our work places and so even when we're home, there are many times where we just need the kids to go down so that we can get back to an email that can't wait. It's exhausting, and we've felt frayed and worn. But that is the season we are in. And that's the thing - it's just a season. Much too soon the kids won't need us to cuddle with them for them to fall asleep and they won't ask for "just one more" story. And soon the hubbs and I will have all the time in the world to reconnect till the cows come home. But until then, we're committed to remind each other why we've chosen this life together and that this is just a phase.
With Valentine's Day fast approaching, it's a good milestone when time can be set aside and reconnect, but it's always important to maintain your relationship. I hope that some of the ideas above can be helpful.
What are the ways you stay connected with your partner?