For those that don't know me well, I travel for work. And its hard to balance working and being a momma. I used to travel every week and took a role for the current year where I travel about 1-2 times a month instead. My husband also travels for work 100% of the week. Needless to say, we have spent the past few months figuring out a new routine and balancing crazy travel, airplanes, nap times, family time, bedtime, and trying to find time for friends and romance. I looked around and realized a lot of my momma friends work and figured I'd share some of the best tips I've learned from them and my time so far.
This week I'm talking about being a momma but also a wifey and friend. I'll do some additional posts on: toddler snacks, keeping a convenient nursery, my "go-live" checklist for new mommas on the countdown for their new babe AND my downloadable baby registry checklist throughout this month, too! Everything to help make new working mommas live's easier!!
I remember the first week postpartum when I realized my life had completely changed. Not just in that week...but forever. I remember going through my house and thinking to myself that I had no idea when I'd get "me" time again, let alone time with the hubby. Granted, I was being a bit dramatic, but I also realized my husband and I would need to create and carve out specific time for each other. This week is our 3rd anniversary and I wanted to share some things we have learned as new parents to keep the romance alive, our friendship close, and our partnership strong...especially with us travelling and working hard during the week and running after a toddler when we're together.
1. Date Night In - A lot of Friday nights we spend at home, ordering pizza, opening a bottle of wine and playing gin rummy out on our patio with the baby monitor on. Sometimes though, it's fun to do something special and we order Date Night In Box. Date Night in a Box is great because it is everything you need - food, drinks, games and usually it comes with a fun theme (i.e., Parisian cafe night) - to give you a little adventure without the stress OR cost of hiring a babysitter or going out to eat and uber-ing somewhere.
2. Neighborhood Babysitting Exchange - our neighborhood parent group had this great idea to exchange a night out for a night of watching each other's kiddos. We switch off everyone one or two months and it's been an affordable way to go out and also a way to continue to build friendships and bonds with our friends' families. Also, its a play date so all the babies go to bed tired: WOHOO. We usually agree on the dates a month or so in advance, discuss timing and who will drop off who, and then enjoy. It's a win-win for everyone.
3. Gifts of Experience - we decided early in our marriage that for our anniversaries or celebrations, we wanted to give each other memories, not stuff. So that means we divert funds to a fun adventure, or plan a trip, and don't really celebrate with big gifts in the traditional sense. We also agreed that these experiences do not have to be just for the two of us, but rather experiences for our family. Travel is important to us and this is one of the ways we plan to share that love, passion and curiousity with our children. This year, we planned a wine day for our anniversary and a trip to LBJ Ranch with the baby and next year we're planning a trip to Greece or Morocco to celebrate our 4th anniversary (yes, I plan that far out LOL!) Though we do not give each other traditional gifts, we do usually make our own cards that we write to each other. Last year, the hubby wrote a poem in calligraphy that I framed and put into our bedroom. For us, its the little things - handmade and experience driven - that draw us closer to each other
4. Couples Book Club - my husband and I both like to read. To be honest, him more than I, but I humour him here! Sometimes we both pick out a book we want to read, read it on the road and use our Friday wine nights to catch up and discuss the book. I know it's cheesy, but the act of doing the same thing together, regardless of how far we are from each other during the week, makes all the difference.
5. Financial Saturday Brunches & New Bank Apps - okay, in writing this it sounds awful. LOL. But when you're all over the place throughout the week, budgeting to pay off student loans and paying a ton for diapers and formula, you gotta be careful with planning, am I right? We made a promise early in our marriage to never discuss finances at night (we are too tired) or over drinks (it's too hard! lol). So we decided that every Saturday after breakfast we will spend ~30 minutes going our budget for the past week, the upcoming week, any big goals to save for and then to plan for it. It's made a HUGE difference. Also, we started using a new bank, Simple, where you can store "goals" within your own bank account and see how much discretionary money you actually have while also saving. It's also made our journey to being debt free a lot FASTER, too. I highly recommend trying it out if you are interested. Here's a promo link here to get $20 when you sign up.
6. Family Prayer time- finally, I'm going to be honest here, it's been really hard for us to prioritize going to bible study, MOPs, church and so many of our other very important activities on the weekends because we have SO little time together and a lot of that time when we are together, my hubby is working long hours and/or we're packing for our next trip. You can read some of my ways to outsource to make the most of our time together in my post "Working Momma Diaries: Outsourcing and Help," but that doesn't mean we haven't had to be creative in other ways, too. We have also had to bring church into our home. Every Sunday we turn on church via Facebook live to watch the sermon over a family breakfast, and do a family prayer. Most of the time this is during nap-time, so it is just Tyler and I. It lets us open up what's on our hearts and also spend time with God and has made our marriage much stronger for it
Every marriage is different, but these 6 things have helped our romance, friendship and partnership grow over the last 3 years. It doesn't mean there are not bumps and "downs" but it highlights and enhances the highs. My father-in-law once said marriage is about "peaks and valleys" and I'll say these things have helped our journey up those peaks, on those peaks and through the valleys, be an adventure where we grow stronger with each other by our side(s).
I'm curious, what do you do to stay close to your spouse?