On top of that, my amazing husband has been plugging away at work in what has been his busiest year ever, and days off have become a very rare commodity.
It has become very easy to slip into comfortable clothes as soon as my daughter goes to sleep, surround myself with pregnancy munchies, and park myself on the couch with a book or my laptop for the night. And while I know this is just a season in my life, I cannot help but feel that my husband and my marriage deserve so much more from me.
So as of the last few weeks, I have been making a real effort to find time and energy for romance with my man. Because it can become so easy when you are both exhausted to simply zone-out as soon as the house quiets down at night. To combat that takes lots of intentionality, and that, again, can be tough.
One thing we have started doing again is going back to one of our favorite things to do together: playing games! We love playing card games and board games, and we enjoy talking while we sip sleepytime tea and play a game after Victoria is in bed. Just recently my husband and I spent an entire evening playing games, and it was honestly the best night I've had in months. MONTHS! So we have made it more of a regular part of our lives again.
|The "game closet" in our basement is no joke|
I've also found that a very important part of keeping romance alive with my husband is making sure I have taken care of as much of the "house stuff" as possible before he comes home. This is, for me, the hardest thing EVER. I simply do not have energy these days, so I've had to become very organized and intentional about finishing and maintaining projects throughout the day.
Some things that have helped me in this are:
--Teaching Miss Victoria to clean up her own toys and keep her things tidy. This took a lot of reminding (read: nagging) and time to show her how to clean up her things properly ("no, we don't dump everything into the toy chest without organizing it"), but the result is that she isn't quite 2 years old yet, and she will clean up her own toys (for the most part).
--Making sure my kitchen is clean first thing in the morning. This usually means I try to have it clean before I go to bed, but if that doesn't happen, I make sure it is the first thing I tackle as soon as I wake up.
--Run the dishwasher every night and do at least 1 load of laundry per day start to finish. My washing machine died and we bought a new one that is huge (for all those babies clothes and cloth diapers!), so I sometimes can get away with doing a load every other day instead.
--10 minute tidies. Seriously, I'm not sure if this is a thing or if I made it up, but I set the timer on my phone for 10 minutes a couple times per day, tell myself I can muster enough energy to do ANYTHING for 10 minutes, and then tidy up the house as fast as I can until the timer goes off. It is amazing how much can be cleaned in such a short amount of time.
--I ask for help. My husband normally has 2 "jobs" around our house: Trash/recycling and lawn mowing. But recently he asked how he could help me out and I gave him 1 more job that often overwhelms me: hand-washing dishes. I am great with keeping the dishwasher loaded and unloaded, but the items that need to be hand-washed, like our pots and pans, often stack up and can become overwhelming. My husband does a quick 10 minute wash of all the hand-washing items in the evening and it has taken a huge weight off my shoulders.
Another way I have been able to find more energy for romance in my life has been to find more energy in general! This means I give myself permission to take naps if I need them (I am getting better these days, but for a while there I was napping every. single. day.). I also have started taking a Raw Iron supplement and the It Works Greens supplement. These have done wonders for my energy levels and have helped me to be less of a lifeless blob by the time my husband comes home.
I've also been loosely beginning to follow the Trim Healthy Mama diet (with whole food and pregnancy modifications) and have noticed a big difference in my energy levels on the days I follow the diet more closely.
And the last thing we have done to be more intentional about romance is to hire a babysitter now and again. We finally took the time to scout out an amazing teen at our church who our daughter adores. Yes, it costs money, and sometimes it hurts to pay someone for something I could be doing perfectly easily on my own, but it has been SO worth it for our marriage. $50 in babysitting every month has given us time to go out and feel like a normal couple. It gives me an excuse to get dressed up and take the time to forget I am mommy and remember I am Andrew's wife. And while we could just as well do more dates at home (we do those, too), there is something really, really wonderful about stepping out with your man to put you in the romantic mood.
The results of all of these little things have been so nice in our home, and have helped to keep us connected when the pressures of life mount.
What are some of your favorite ways to stay connected with your spouse when life gets busy (or your energy lags)???