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If you commonly refer to your spouse as “Daddy” or “Mommy,” then you may want to keep reading. As mothers and spouses we all have those moments when we look at our significant other and we don’t recognize them. Sure, we know their name, that they married us at some point, helped us conceive a baby and have become our permanent roommate. We are also very aware that we do their laundry, we put the toilet seat back where we prefer it and we rinse tiny little facial hairs down the sink drain.
At some point, we lose touch as a spouse, because that parental part of us becomes priority when our children are first becoming a part of our lives, and then we continue this habit with more children, and more parental priorities. We are all guilty of it, so don’t feel bad. Recognize it.
As a new mom last year, I joined a new mommy group offered by a hospital to help me learn a lot of basics in childcare, and to really learn what my expectations should be, and to meet new moms going through the same “woahs” and asking the same “is that the color their poop should be?” questions. In this class, I had a chance to talk to other women about their marriages. From these half-hour talks, I was able to learn about marital problems I am having, and marital problems I may have sometime in the future.
I learned that many people struggle keeping their marriage together once their children are older because they don’t know one another anymore. I also learned that as moms, using two sides of our brains, most of the time during the day we try to be super mom, and do everything, all the time. You know who you are! You are the person who grabs an article of dirty clothing off the bathroom floor, while brushing your teeth, and then grab that toy you stepped on, while trying to take that article of clothing to the laundry hamper, where you then learn the hamper is in the laundry room, so you inevitably, have to go to the laundry room and switch the loads over, all while you are still brushing your teeth. Oh, was that a huge run-on sentence? That is because we, as women, have huge run-on days, which means we are on the run all day.
How do you strengthen your relationship with your spouse? You stop running, momma. You just stop running. Below is a short list of things to consider trying, if you relate at all to this article today, and would like to begin strengthening that relationship with that person whose name you don’t remember.
Once you have stopped running-on…
Call your spouse by their name: Or their love name (babe, sweetie, mister love pants, etc.) By any means, don’t refer to them as Daddy (unless that is your pet name, meow) or refer to him as a pet name you also have for your children. One reason you may not recognize that person you fell in love with is because you forgot to call them by their name. They are a person first, and every person needs to be recognized for who they are, even when they are a parent and a husband.
Talk to your spouse: Communication is the greatest gift between two people. It brings you together, and reminds you that your spouse is there, even when the days get so busy, you forget to look each other in the eye. Touch base during the day, even if you know your spouse’s plans or schedule like you know every other plan and schedule, catch up with them at some point. This reminds them that you care about where they are during the day and you care about how their day is going. It’s a small thing, but it means the world when you know you are missed and wondered about by the people you live your life for each day.
Pillow talk: An easy way to reconnect with your spouse is when you just spend those first moments in bed each night, laughing about the day, or recapping about the big parts, and just share that time together. It can also lead to some intimate conversation. Are you not going to bed at the same time as your spouse?
>> Read more: Box of Tricks: 6 Ways to Spice Things Up in the Bedroom
Go to bed together, even if you aren’t tired: If you are too tired to talk, then just cuddle together and share in that moment. Sleeping together is a bonding all in itself.
Don’t forget to praise your spouse: Show them that you respect the things they are doing. Everyone needs to feel like what they do is respected and appreciated. Praise and respect fuel us as human beings to keep going and keep trying, and it lets us know that we matter, which is all we really want to know at the end of the day anyways, right?
>> Read more: 21 Pieces of Advice From People in Long Marriages
Choose two things to be good at today, and then every day: Choose to be a great wife and a great mom. Schedule everything else for another time. Everything else you must do, will get done, but it doesn’t have to get done right now.
Serving your family can and will be exhausting, but it is less so when you aren’t trying to run while doing it. You can enjoy the moments, with your spouse and with your children, together and separate. You just need to stop running-on now.