What about us?

This post was first featured on Meet Other Mums:

I’ve been thinking lately about the time my husband and I get to spend together. I don’t mean with the kids, or making dinner, eating dinner, clearing up, etc. I mean actual one-to-one, quality time together. If we are being honest it’s not very often at all. We are really lucky that my mum will keep the kids if we want to go out together but as she watches them all day whilst we are at work, we don’t like to ask too often! Mostly when we do its to pop out for a meal and back in time to bring them home for bed. I look at how we started off our lives together and how much things have changed since then.

My husband and I met when we were still at school, we were 17 and were together for over 11 years before he proposed. In that time we had a lot of great experiences; we went backpacking around Europe twice, visited New York, went to Las Vegas and saw the Grand Canyon (what an amazing sight!), enjoyed Florida and all it has to offer, graduated from university, started out in our chosen careers, had a fair few nights out and enjoyed weekends away in various cities across the UK and Europe. It’s fair to say we had a good time and enjoyed what we were doing. When we got married we moved to a Scottish island for a couple of years and our first two children were born whilst we lived there (though not actually on the island.)

When it was just us we had so much free time, lots of time to chat and share our thoughts; talking about what had happened that day. Time to listen to each other and give advice or support when needed. We had a tidy house and cars; enjoyed eating meals out together or watching films at night when we got home. It was fun. We were never really overly romantic but we enjoyed life and spent lots of time doing things together. When I look at our lives now I don’t see any resemblance to how things used to be. No sign of those two people. I’m not saying it’s terrible, just very different.

Nowadays we barely spend an hour or two a week on our own. We’re either at work, the shops, out with the kids, doing things around the house, doing things with/for the kids or putting them to bed. We are in the same place a lot of the time but not really together. So what does this mean for our relationship? I don’t have much time to reflect on this but when I do I see two very different people. We are no longer that carefree couple who laugh and have fun all the time or can set off for a weekend break at the drop of a hat. That’s not to say we never have fun and that we don’t laugh any more, of course we do. It’s just different.

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I know everyone’s relationship changes when they have children. It has to. You are responsible for other little beings and their wellbeing and happiness. They come first and you need to put yourselves to the side for a while, especially while they are so young. I often read about people talking of the importance of still focusing on your relationship and on being a couple. I definitely think I fall short in this area. I’m just so exhausted all the time. By the time the kids are fed and bathed and I’ve sat in their room for ages reading stories, singing songs and waiting for them to fall asleep; I’m worn out. Sometimes I even fall asleep in the boys’ room and waken up a couple of hours later to a house in darkness and silence. My boys are not good sleepers (thank goodness my girl is, for the most part) so I’m also up a few times during the night and early in the morning. Combine this with work and our busy lives and I just have no reserves left. Nothing to give.

So, where does that leave us, my husband and I? For now I would say we are ok, we get by. We love each other and our children. We have been together for a long time and so we keep going. To let this period of hard work and exhaustion beat us would be to give in, to show that our relationship wasn’t built on very strong foundations. We have a lot to contend with in our daily lives; bringing up three young children, both of us working full time and our eldest son’s needs on top of that. I’ve read many stories where less than this has beaten people, where they couldn’t see eye to eye and sadly had to go their separate ways. It worries me. I would be lying if I said it didn’t. However, the important thing is that we both know this is short-lived. Our younger two will grow up and become more independent. We hope J will too, though we need to wait and see.

We live in hope that our lives will become slightly less chaotic and exhausting. That one day we might be able to take that weekend break without relying on my mum to keep the kids and worrying if they will be hard work for her whilst we are gone. We have been very lucky that my mum has kept our kids for a week in April for the past three years, to allow us to go away as a couple. Some people may see this as selfish and may disapprove. I see it as our lifeline. We don’t get the time together that some other couples get (though I know not all). When we are at home the rest of the year we get to spend very little quality time as a couple. We don’t have lots of nights out or overnight stays away every now and then. We need this time; to be together, to rest, to recharge our batteries and to help us to keep going and coping with the ups and downs the following year will bring for us and our little family. This one week helps us to cope with the other 51. I think it’s part of what helps us to see the light at the end of the tunnel, to appreciate each other and what we have. It’s easy to forget sometimes and get worn down by the exhaustion and the relentlessness of some days/weeks. Sometimes we just need that time to reflect, to step back, to take stock and to gear up for the year ahead. I’m so thankful that we are able to do this and have a supportive family who make it possible. This and our awareness of our circumstances and the effect they have on us at the moment, help us to survive.

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How does everyone else cope with the changes having children have made to their relationship?

What do you do to get by, to survive? Is there a better way?

Is it just us who sometimes feel overwhelmed?

Will it be short-lived and will there be the happy ending and light at the end of the tunnel?

Please share your thoughts and experiences with me, I would love to know how other people feel.

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38 thoughts on “What about us?

  1. Key Karin…it was an awesome post. I was drooling over the pics- they are lovely. I have 1 Toddler and still feel we as Couple does not get enough free time. Its only after he is asleep at the night after 11pm that we chit chat a little as I am already into half sleep mode. I feel so exhausted sometimes. Being a full time working mother make the things more difficult. Here through #mg

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is interesting you commented that sometimes people may think we are selfish for having time away, I write post about being selfish the other day you should take a look. But trust me it is not selfish! I spent so many years were my hubby and I never even went out for a dinner because I felt like a bad mum, or like my kids would need me or hubby if at least one of us was not there. After we finally took a night away I wished I had done it sooner. It was a great experience for us as a couple and for the kids to earn we go, but we come back.

    We don’t get much ‘kid free’ time, but I find affection helps. We are always sneaking in a little kiss or hugging, just being side by side on the couch helps to keep that intimacy. I also think it’s important to flirt and laugh. I often text a funny message or a a pic of me blowing a kiss just so he knows I still adore him. #mg

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Will definitely take a look. It’s funny that we all feel guilty for having time when it’s actually an important lifeline a lot of the time. Those are great ideas for keeping close to your partner too. Thank you!

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  3. Great post – we try to get away once a year without the kids but it doesnt seem to always happen. It is very hard to adjust to your new life I think. Off to check out your IG and FB xxx #fortheloveofBLOG

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A really honest post. It’s so hard to find time for each other – tiredness is overwhelming and you can end up getting frustrated with one another. I’m not surprised so many people get divorced when kids are young. I just keep reminding myself we’re both exhausted and it won’t be like this forever #fortheloveofblog

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  5. This post is so honest, and no you’re not the only ones. I’ve actually read this one before, prob on Meet Other Mums. I can related to everything you said really. When I had my third I remember that feeling overwhelming, but then as they got older, things changed again. Now we’ve had a fourth, sometimes it has just felt that things are so relentless and like you said, there is just no time or space for your relationship. Like you said also, I think the only thing to do is to ‘make’ time, and make sure you take breaks together when you can even if not often. Its hard though. Xx #Kcacols

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    1. It is definitely hard. I struggle with my 3, I can’t imagine how difficult it must be with a fourth. I don’t want to wish their lives away but at the same time once they are a little more independent I’m hoping it will be a bit easier! Thanks for reading .

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  6. If I have 3 hours only with my husband is big wow:D I can say that sometimes I miss the time when we were without our son but when we going out somewhere without him I still thinking what he is doing if he is ok etc and…I miss him:D

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  7. My husband and I don’t really get much time for just us. In fact later this month will be our first day to ourselves when we go to Harry Potter Studios and my daughter will be with her grandma – I am so looking forward to a day to chat to my husband and of course Harry Potter!! #KCACOLS

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  8. My sons only 7 months old and we have yet to have any decent alone time, I do miss it, but we know one day we will be able to spend some quality time together! #KCACOLS

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  9. I honestly think that every couple with kids go through the same phase as you. I would not worry too much about it. It looks like you are a lovely couple and you’ve been together for so long. But admittedly, I also miss those times just with me and Grumpy Boyfriend… But when you decide to have children , it’s the sacrifice you decide to make. Lovely pics! Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday.

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  10. It can be a struggle, but we find that our relationship has evolved. We have the occasional movie or take away etc after the kids are in bed, and go out for a meal here or there while a friend babysits, but very rarely have time away. We had maybe two weekends before our second was born, and as he still isn’t sleeping through the night consistency we haven’t left him with anyone overnight yet. I think like you we have just sort of fallen into a ‘this is only temporary’ kinda mentality, but feel we are still going strong. xx #kcacols

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    1. I think it’s all about how you adjust and cope. We knew it would never be easy. The sleep thing is hard. Our oldest isn’t too keen on sleeping elsewhere and can make himself sick as a result. Really hoping that’s a temporary thing! Thanks for reading.

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  11. Hi Sally
    This is such an honest post. I think it is so important to have that quality time for you and your husband. You mustn’t forget about each other in the midst of parenting. My hubby and I go away together once or twice a year for a weekend and it is so precious. It helps us to recharge our parenting batteries and reaquaint ourselves!! Thanks so much for sharing. Lovely pictures too. It’s nice to find our more about you. #Spectrumsunday

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading. I think hoping it’s temporary gets us through! I’m sure most parents, if not all, are in the same boat. It’s a tough gig but worth it. Thank you for your lovely comments too!

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  12. You are definitely not the only one feeling this. I feel this with my husband all the time. When we do have time together, conversation often deviates back to our daughter because we just talk about the here-and-now. It’s only when we have a day or two together that we manage to talk about the stuff we used to. Young kids have to come first for the most part. But if couples don’t invest time in their relationships, then longer term the kids will suffer. So if having a week away in April is needed for you, then you do it! We recently have 2 weeks off and sent our daughter to nursery for her usual 3 days / week. 6 days together was so freeing for us. We talked, we enjoyed lunch. We were us!

    Great post and thanks for sharing such a sensitive topic. #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  13. We often feel overwhelmed. Of course things change after children but I think it’s how you deal with that change that matters. Hubby and I are closer now than we have ever been. We make time for each other even if it’s just once a week when the girls are in bed we open a bottle of wine and just chat. It’s not ideal but it’s what we have and that’s OK for now. Like you say one day they will be all grown up. We like to make plans for this time so we have goals.
    #KCACOLS

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  14. I relate to your feeling of tiredness and the worry about having enough time for your partner. I keep telling myself that we’ll have more time as the kids get older and more independent. I think that you being mindful of your relationship and it’s challenges is half the battle. You are taking care of it just by caring about it. #kcacols

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  15. This is a wonderful post and one that I can resonate with. Having children changes everything about your relationship, there is so little time to do what you did before the baby. I definitely think what you’re doing having a week away in April is amazing, I would love to be able to have that opportunity with my husband. Thanks so much for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Being a couple while being parents is something I think many people discover to be more challenging than at first thought. Throw special needs into the mix and it’s even harder. We struggle sometimes but I think we’re also each others rocks (in different ways) and that keeps us close. Thanks for linking to #spectrumsunday

    Liked by 1 person

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