My little girl Rosanne is now 3 years old. I remember holding her in my arms for the first time as if it was yesterday. Time really goes fast and she is now a gorgeous, happy toddler whom enriched my live in many ways: I enjoy every single moment with her. She keeps me young and is in many ways my teacher, see feel like a child, be a child. Sigrid, my wife, and I love her very much, however, as most parents we soon discovered that having children has its impact on our free time and especially our relationship. Parenting is hard work, at the end of the day we often feel tired, worn-out and sometimes feel guilty we didn’t spend time together.
Before Rosanne was born we could pretty much do whatever we wanted and spend time with each other without any serious planning. If we wanted to go out for dinner or go to the movies, we went. All we had to do was get in the car and go out. If we felt like sleeping a little longer during the weekends, there was no one to wake us at 6 am. Nowadays, with a little girl running around the house, this is much more difficult. Parenting means more responsibility and we need to plan almost everything. If we want to go out, together, we need to plan for it well in advance and need to rely on grandparents and friends to babysit.
Especially when kids are young you run the risk they take over your life completely. If you don’t watch out they become the center of your attention without room for anything else. All the time and energy you have is spent on them, not on yourself or on your spouse. That’s why it’s so important to plan enough time together; otherwise you run the risk of losing each other along the way. You not only need to invest in your family, but you need to keep investing in yourself and your relationship as well.
I must admit this was a little difficult at first, but my wife and I learned to deal with it and we now plan as much time together as possible. We also make sure we plan time for ourselves. This means doing fun things together, with friends or alone, just like it was before Rosanne came into our lives. This keeps our relationship alive and fresh.
Last weekend we spent 2 nights in a little bed & breakfast in the southern part of The Netherlands. This gorgeous part of our country, southern Limburg, is close to the Belgium and German border and famous for its hospitality, good food and friendly people. As my wife’s parents had a bunch of activities planned for Rosanne we were assured Rosanne had a good time as well. If we have a good time, Rosanne deserves one too.
As with my previous vacation, see living a simple life is living a stress free life, we used this weekend to relax, do some hiking, recharge and get the stress out of our systems. The main goal of the trip was to spend time together. This was a vacation well deserved and a great success, for me and for my wife. It’s surprising how much you can recharge in just a couple of days.
Spending time as a family is important. Parenting is important. But we will continue spending time together as well, as we feel this is important too. This way we can recharge from being parents, from parenthood. This is good for us, our relationship, but for Rosanne as well as we feel she will be a happier kid when her parents are not always tired and are happy too. Sometimes being a good parent means you need to do a little less parenting. So take this parenting advice to keep your relationship alive. Make sure you have time for your children but also for each other.
My little girl is now 3 days old… and I can easily see how I could spend all my time just pouring my attention into her.
My wife and I are currently reading “Baby Wise”. The first section of the book talks about how valuable it is to maintain the loving relationship between the parents. It is of critical importance in many areas of later life for the child to have grown up seeing Mom and Dad maintaining an affectionate love for one another.
Or as you put it: “Sometimes being a good parent means you need to do a little less parenting.”
Thank you for an interesting and useful post!
Three years old, what a great age-and the best is yet to come! This is wonderful advice for a couple with a young child. You need to get completely away sometimes, alone and with your partner, and breathe the heady air of freedom. The place you two chose sounds like the perfect spot.