Prevent parenting burn-out, step 3: Make time for US.
When we start having kids, the first thing to go is Me Time. The second thing to go is Us Time. How quickly we forget that we used to do other things together besides buying diapers, changing diapers, and debating who has to take the next bag of dirty diapers out to the trash can! I say this NOT as a guilt trip, but as an Emancipation Proclamation, Setting You Free to Enjoy Your Post-Baby Life Without Guilt: Keep dating your spouse after you have kids. Every penny you pay a babysitter will be worth it. Every tearful “Don’t leeeeave me Mommyyyyy” moment will be worth it. (Two seconds after you leave, they’ll probably be running around the house laughing anyway.) At first, just try driving half a mile away for half an hour of baby-free coffee. Then work your way up to dinner. If you’re blessed with a spouse, giving your kids the gift of happily married parents is a priceless inheritance, one they will treasure for a lifetime. And hey—after a while, your kids may do what mine do: They BEG me to get babysitters, because babysitters are more fun than I am. Which only hurts my feelings a tiny bit.
Want some great insights about keeping the romantic fires burning in your marriage after babies come? I’m a huge fan of Sheila Wray Gregoire’s blog, and this post in particular: Sex After Kids: 17 Ways to Make It Happen. I posted more ideas for keeping your marriage healthy here.
Missed the other posts on preventing parenting burn-out? Click here to check out step one, the importance of making time for yourself. (I hear you laughing out there in cyberspace . . . but you can do it!) And click here for step two, about quieting the insidious, NOT-TRUE voice of our inner critic that insists we’re not good enough.
Photo credit: Sara Engel Photography.
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Elizabeth works from home as a writer, editor, diaper changer, baby snuggler, laundry slayer, not-so-gourmet chef, kid chauffeur, floor mopper, dog groomer, and tantrum tamer. She is always tired, but it's mostly the good kind.