5 Simple Ways I’m Reconnecting with My Husband

There’s this guy who lives in my house.

He’s a great guy. Witty, smart, handsome, caring, loving. And my favorite thing about him is that he makes me laugh like crazy.

But I feel like I barely ever see him.

And that has to change.

Because he’s my husband.

Ever since the kids came on the scene, our relationship has taken a back seat.

I know that’s it natural for kids to pretty much take over our lives while they’re young. Our girls are six and four years old. They need us to do pretty much everything necessary in life for them – or at least help them. The little monkeys are a major time and energy suck, that’s for sure.

Plus, Hubs and I both work. Him full-time, me part-time. He travels for work, too, a few times a month (he claims he’d rather be home, but it’s hard to feel sorry for him when he’s out having a steak dinner and I’m home eating mac and cheese with the kids).

Weekends are busy with kids’ activities, seeing friends and family, and getting chores/errands done. I feel like we haven’t breathed on a weekend since early November.

And on weeknights, we are on opposite schedules. Hubs is tired because he gets up earlier than me to get some stuff done in the morning, so he collapses onto the couch at night. Me? I’m still attacking my to-do list at 9pm.

This all adds up to Hubs and I barely ever having a conversation that isn’t about schedules, kid issues, or something related to the house.

And it worries me.

I think about the friends I have whose parents got divorced when they were older. The biggest reason? The parents had nothing in common anymore. This led to the parents fighting all the time, “falling out of love,” or the worst – someone having an affair.

And scarily enough, I can see how that can happen.

I don’t think anything is drastically wrong with Hubs’ and my relationship. I understand that we can’t focus on each other as much as we did pre-kids.

But if we keep on neglecting our relationship and fall into a major rut, I can see how things could get bad. Really bad. Not unrecoverable, but not fun, either.

So, I’ve been taking some steps to breathe some fun back into Hubs’ and my marriage. Here’s my plan for us to get some quality time together back in our lives:

Eat dinner together – without the kids. Yes, family meals are important. But so is spending time with the Hubs. Once or twice a week, I feed the girls before Hubs gets home. Then we turn on a show for them (the only way to get guaranteed uninterrupted time) and eat, just the two of us, and – gasp – have an actual conversation.

Change up the schedule. Hubs gets stuff done in the morning. I get stuff done after the kids go to bed. This leads to us basically never seeing each other. So I’m going to try to get on Hubs’ schedule. I’m so tired at night, anyway, I’m pretty much sleep-walking through whatever I’m doing.

If I get my butt out of bed in the morning, at least we can drink coffee and (wahoo!) fold laundry together. And this will mean more sleep for me, which is crucial for my mental health.

Go on a date and pledge not to talk about the kids. Easier said than done, I know. But we’ve tried it, and we’ve done it. It’s possible. And it’s more fun than worrying about the kids’ lives while we’re supposed to be chilling out.

I learn more about Hubs’ latest work issues and give him perspective I gained in my last job. He listens to me talk about my work and my blog and gives me post ideas. And we remember – ohhhh, so this is what we talked about before kids!

Take a walk down memory lane. We have a wedding album that we never look at it. I’m going to get that sucker out and we’re going to go through it and relive that day – because we agree, that was the most awesome day EVER. We had so much fun on our wedding day and we used to love to talk about it.

I’m also going to plan to revisit a few favorite places of ours from our pre-kid days. This will take a little planning (like asking Hubs’ parents to babysit) but I think it’ll be worth it. And they won’t be expensive outings – we were poor when we were dating! We had a favorite pub we went to all the time that will be our first stop on the list. And I’m going to get more ideas from Hubs.

Make one night a week tech-free time together. This is hard for me because I’m a bit of a social media addict. And Hubs loves his TV. But once a week, I will step away from the computer. Hubs will turn off the TV. And we will hang out at home together and chill out. No technology. And no chores. It’ll be me, Hubs, some wine, and maybe a board game or something. I have faith it can happen – even if it hasn’t yet.

 

Hubs and I often joke how much fun we’re going to have together when the girls are both in college and out of the house. Well, I don’t want to wait 14 years for that fun to happen. We will have The Fun now, darn it.

Do you need to reconnect with your husband? Do you think these ideas will help? What ideas do you have?

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I’ve partnered with Harvard Pilgrim on this sponsored post and am being compensated for writing it, but as always, the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. You can find more ways to be well at HarvardPilgrim.org/CountUsIn. And if you’d like, you can read my full disclosure policy here.

photo credit: rogiro via photopin cc

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I Told Myself I’d Never Get Fat

When I was in my 20s and early 30s, I’d see disheveled moms around town with their kids. They looked tired and run-down. Hurried and worried. They were carrying kids on their hips and extra pounds around their middles.

Just looking at these moms stressed me out. I didn’t want to end up like that.

I thought to myself, “Ugh. I will NEVER let myself go like she did. I will never be FAT.”

[Insert maniacal laughter of karma here.]

Fast forward 10+ years and here I am, in the same place as those moms whom my 20-something self looked at with a tinge of disgust.

I haven’t intentionally “let myself go” – it just kind of happened.

The combination of natural aging and a slowing metabolism, plus not getting enough sleep and exercise, has really taken its toll.

It’s not like I eat differently than I did two years ago. It’s not like I used to be a fitness nut and now I’m not. The pounds just happened.

It’s SO FRUSTRATING!

And you know what’s more frustrating? That my husband can decide he wants to lose some weight and that instant, two pounds melt off him.

(I bet a whole lot of you are nodding your heads along with me, right?)

Anyway. I’m not technically “fat” – I’m within a healthy BMI. I am at the top of what’s healthy, yet my doc says I’m fine.

But I feel fat. My jeans are way too tight. I don’t like wearing fitted shirts anymore. I have love handles.

I look in the mirror and want to look away.

I definitely want to – need to – lose at least 10 pounds, possibly up to 16.

Where did I go wrong?

I wrote last month about ways I’m trying to reduce stress in my life, and many of those tactics will help with weight loss, too.

I have to admit, though, I haven’t been doing great in the exercise department.

Okay. I’ve been doing terribly.

The place I was doing weight training at is no longer inspiring me. I don’t like training with a man and was promised I’d always work out with a woman. That hasn’t happened and I dreaded going. So I stopped.

I haven’t made time to get on the treadmill. I actually like running. I love pounding away on the treadmill to some loud, kid-inappropriate Beastie Boys. But my schedule is so overloaded, I literally can’t find the time.

What am I going to do about it?

Here’s my new plan:

Try another form of exercise. This week I’m going to Zumba with a friend. I danced for years and the idea of Zumba really appeals to me. And it’s supposed to burn tons of calories.

Find an exercise buddy or two. I am lucky to have an amazing neighborhood. I know other moms in the ‘hood also want to exercise more. If we have exercise dates (like Zumba) I will go.

Have realistic expectations. I am not going to lose two pounds a week without some serious dieting, and I am not motivated to diet right now. If I can do cardo 3x a week, I think I can expect to lose about 3 pounds a month. That would put me in a good place by springtime.

Put exercise in my schedule. This is the ONLY WAY it’ll happen. Treadmill on Tuesday mornings. Zumba on Wednesday nights. Something TBD on the weekend. Put it in my iPhone and DO IT.

Get a dog. Yes, really! We are thinking of getting a dog in the spring. Which means I’ll have an exercise buddy who won’t take “I’m too tired to go for a walk” for an answer – no matter how cold it is. Or how many glasses of wine I had the night before.

Are you in the same boat as me, carrying extra pounds around your middle, thighs, etc.? Do you want to do something about it – and if so, what? If you are fit, what is your secret?

 

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I’ve partnered with Harvard Pilgrim on this sponsored post and am being compensated for writing it, but as always, the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. You can find more ways to be well at HarvardPilgrim.org/CountUsIn. And if you’d like, you can read my full disclosure policy here.

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5 Small Steps I’m Taking to Make Everyday Life Less Stressful

Two months ago I stopped taking antidepressants for my depression and anxiety (which started with postpartum depression almost four years ago). It’s been an interesting few weeks, but all in all I’ve been feeling pretty good being off the SSRIs.

But something I’ve had a hard time managing is my anxiety over the insanity of everyday life. Dealing with the craziness of my family’s schedule has always been difficult for me, even when I was on SSRIs. But since I’ve been off them, it’s been even harder.

And I think – no, I know – that in order for me be off meds and keep feeling good, I need to make some changes – ASAP.

Honestly? Ever since I had kids, I’ve found it a real challenge to achieve a balanced, healthy life. And from my blog reading and seeing what people post on Facebook and Twitter, I can tell a lot of you do, too.

Kids. Spouse. Work. Sports and activities. Volunteering. Laundry. Dishes. House projects. Birthday parties and other events. Cooking. Cleaning.

It’s an awful lot for any mama, and it’s no wonder we’re all so stressed out.

Sure, a major change could slow life down significantly. Moving to, oh, I don’t know, a small town in Montana and living a simpler, slower life sounds pretty appealing at times. But it isn’t practical.

So instead, I’m trying to make small changes to make my life more manageable and less stressful. For some of you healthy moms out there, these things may sound basic. But for me and other wickedly stressed, out-of-whack mamas, these small steps may help a lot.

Here are five ways I am trying to reduce stress in my life

Get more sleep. The last week has been pure insanity and I haven’t slept much. And not only am I exhausted, I have a headache that won’t go away. And I’m grumpy. Very grumpy. Not getting enough sleep = JD on her way to a bad place.

Goal #1: Get 7.5 hours of solid sleep every single night. I think that alone will help me tremendously.

Exercise. Exercising always falls to last on my list. I generally don’t like it. But I have to do it. I have 10 extra pounds hanging around my middle that aren’t pretty or healthy.

Goal #2: Start with weight-training and running on the treadmill once a week. Walk around the block with the kids once or twice. Start small and see what happens.

Get some me-time. Ah, the mythical “me-time.” Such a lovely thing that never seems to happen. But it has to. And for me, it has to be me-time that’s away from the computer. I love social media, but I need to unplug to relax.

Goal #3: Start reading a new book. And when I sit down to read, read far away from anything with a screen!

Make couple-time a priority. So there’s this guy. I share a house with him. We have kids together. And I really like hanging out with him. I did marry him for a reason, after all. But in the chaos of kids, work, and life, it’s easy to forget to spend time together. And that’s something that needs to change.

Goal #4: Two weeknights a week (not including the occasional date night), put the computer away, turn off the TV, and hang out together. Schedule it in our calendars if need be!

Just say no. I just started doing this lately and man, does it feel good. Say it with me, mamas: “No, I can’t start a new monthly school newsletter this year.” “No, I can’t bake three dozen cookies for tomorrow.” “No, I can’t be in charge of the spring school fundraiser.” Doesn’t that sound great?

Goal #5: Don’t lead, coordinate, or be in charge of any major projects this school year. Volunteer here and there when I can – but don’t let myself be guilted into running the show.

Do you feel overwhelmed by day-to-day life? Do my goals sound like goals that could help you, too? Or are you really good at making yourself a priority – and if so, how do you do it?

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I’ve partnered with Harvard Pilgrim on this sponsored post and am being compensated for writing it, but as always, the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. You can find more ways to be well at HarvardPilgrim.org/CountUsIn. And if you’d like, you can read my full disclosure policy here.

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