Parenting and Marriage…the Endless Juggle…and Oh Yeah, Finding that You-Time too..
Be a mom, be a wife, go to work, be a friend, stay fit, read, make time for yourself…it’s all A LOT. I’m fully convinced there’s never a balance. It’s all a juggle and throughout different phases of our life (because yes, its all just a series of phases and ebbs and flows), some things take more of a backseat than others, while others thrive at the forefront. So how do we juggle motherhood and marriage, especially now in 2024 when most two-parent families have equal (or somewhat equal) responsibilities? How do we make time for our partners and ourselves while still being involved parents and try to have a thriving marriage? I don’t have all the answers and I truly believe there is no one-size-fits all response to this, but here’s what works for our marriage, and a few things we’ve learned over the last five years of parenthood.
If you’ve been following along for a while you may have noticed I don’t share as much marriage or couples content anymore. New Darlings started as a personal blog and instagram sharing my move from NY to Arizona with my husband when we were newlyweds. We traveled the world together, we bought and renovated a house, we had a baby…all while sharing it all on the internet. Blogging and creating content wasn’t something we set out to do, but we grew up in the era of LiveJournal days and making home videos on Windows Movie Maker after adding the files from our digital cameras to our desktop. Documenting has always been part of our relationship. It’s always been something fun for us. Creating a career out of it was never something on our radar, but it has been beyond cool to connect with people as we posted photos on the internet, make friends, and form an online community. Rob and I have been together since we were 16 and 17. We grew up together and were basically inseperable since the day we met. We moved across the country away from our families and childhood friends to “try something new”. It’s always been just the two of us. When we had a baby…or rather, right before we had a baby we made a promise to eachother to always put each other first and prioritize our relationship. Easy to say right? Marriage changes after you become parents.
Somewhere along the way, marriage became more precious to us. Our relationship became more precious. We had to be so much more intentional with our time. In the beginning that felt impossible. Like I said, we don’t live near family and I was very protective our fragile, little newborn, so we weren’t grabbing a babysitter as much as we could have. Well actually ever. I don’t say that in a positive way, or a “look at me way…it’s just something we didn’t do. The world was going through a crazy time with a pandemic, so the way we thought we would parent shifted a bit. We fully embraced being a trio and when it was just the two of us, that time felt more sacred than ever. Maybe that’s why there’s not a ton of “couples content”…it feels like it’s just for us these days more than ever.
We’re now five years into parenthood and I can say without a doubt not having other people to rely on all the time, living far from family, has made us stronger, but we didn’t always feel strong. There were times we felt as fragile as that defenseless newborn.
It’s Okay to Change throughout Your Marriage
We’re not the same people we were when we had our son, or when we moved to Arizona, or when we got married, or when we met…and I think that’s ok. I think so often we think things should remain the same, we romanticize the past, but I think it’s been our commitment to growth and our love that has allowed us to find some sort of that marriage/parenthood juggle we all wonder about. We both want to grow. We both want to be better and keep learning about eachother, as well as welcome the changes in our partner. It’s a commitment. It’s something we’re conscious of everyday and that we’re constantly exploring through endless communication. So, here are a few things that work for us, that have helped us continue to feel like partners, outside of being parents together…
How to Keep Your Marriage Strong Throughout Parenthood
Understand Eachother’s Love Languages & Stressors
Try to understand how each other handles stress and work to actively reduce each other’s triggers. Obviously we can’t eliminate everything that may upset ourselves or our partners but if there’s something you’re more comfortable doing than your other half, maybe you take the reins on that one that particular week. You know your partner had a bad week, suggest picking up some take out to lighten the load. Small gestures go a long way.
Put the Devices Down
Get outside together and unplug. This is where the best conversations happen and you can soak in that good energy from the sun together. It’s so easy to get distracted by our other roles and technology. Find a peaceful spot, walk around your neighborhood together, sit on the patio at night while the kids are in bed. It doesn’t have to be anything grand but being outdoors does wonders.
Check-in With Eachother and Prepare to Be Vulnerable
Lastly, but in my opinion the most important: Weekly check-ins. Bonus points if you can do this daily but just checking in and asking your partner how they’re feeling….genuinely feeling. We do this with our toddler chatting about our highs and lows of the day, why shouldn’t we do it as adults? As partners? Something you’re really loving lately? Something weighing on your heart? What’s working for us? What’s not working for us right now? Leave the ego at the door and be open. This goes both ways. You have to be willing to speak and in a respectful way as well, not just ask and ask and ask, because keeping things in can lead to resentment. No matter how connected we may feel none of us are mind readers (although that could be nice at times, ha!) so let your partner know what’s on your mind and keep laughing. Don’t take yourselves too seriously.