Connecting With Your Spouse in the Baby Years
I think it was in Januaryish of 2016 when the tour dates for Hamilton were announced . . . and it was going to be in LA on my birthday . . . in September 2017. Wow that was a long way away. Oh well. I immediately marched to my bedroom where my husband was watching tv and announced, “My 35th birthday party is going to be in LA at the Pantages. We’re going to go see Hamilton.”
Well, time flies when you’re super busy and you have a newborn (we found out I was pregnant with Harrison a couple weeks after I made my announcement about the birthday after next.) 34 came and went and FINALLY it was Hamilton day, I mean, my birthday, again.
I had no idea back in January 2016 how badly I would need this break and short getaway with just my husband and I, even just for 24 hours. We went through so much in that time period. We found out about baby #3 (we had just decided that two kids was perfect, oops), we bought and moved into a new house, Reagan started kindergarten, Harrison was born, I was now working a 30 minute drive away from home, I started grad school, my mom and I started our education business Learning Artistically, I started writing here, and somewhere in all of it I was supposed to still find time to be a wife and mother.
If I’m being really honest, and that’s what I do here, I haven’t been a great wife for awhile. I’m tired and I’m busy and my husband, well he can take care of himself for the most part. I have so many things that I’m trying to manage all at once, that being a good wife gets pushed down to the bottom of the list. I’m up and out of the house before my husband is even out of bed and by the time I’ve made dinner, cleaned up, helped the kids with whatever they need, gotten the kids to bed, and finished my homework for grad school, he’s already in bed asleep. (He does stuff to, I don’t want it to sound like all my husband does is sleep!) When we went to dinner on his birthday, just us, I told him, “I miss you. I miss talking to you.”
Based on my first two kids, I know that things will ease up just a bit very soon. The baby is almost a toddler; he is more easily entertained and doesn’t need to be fed and held around the clock. But still, sometimes it feels like we barely live in the same world because my world is going a million miles a minute in 40 different directions. Connecting with your spouse, especially during the baby years, doesn’t come naturally. It’s something you need to do with intention and determination. Waiting for the right time isn’t going to cut it; there are a thousand reasons to put it off, but if you value your relationship, you will find the time.
The last time we had gone anywhere overnight together alone was over three years ago (read about our cheap Vegas getaway here) and we were definitely feeling it. Before kids, we loved to travel. even if it was just a quick trip to the beach and back. Going to a musical had also been my default birthday present for several years . . . until we had kids. See the thing is, when you have three kids, getting people to watch all of them for an extended period of time while you gallivant around the world, well, at least in my family, it’s pretty unlikely. We do travel with our kids and love taking them places. Now that they are a bit older, we’re starting to really have fun showing them the world – or at least California for now. But sometimes, you NEED the one on one time.
So, this brings me to our quick 24 hour getaway to LA to see Hamilton. If you have never heard of the show, Hamilton is a rap/hip-hop musical mega hit based on the life of founding father Alexander Hamilton. Crazy right? But for a theatre teacher and her history teacher husband, it made for a great point of connection. We could both get something out of it and it spoke to both of our interests. I think this is important. Sure, we would have had a good time going to a different play or a football game, but choosing an activity that spoke to both of our interests gave us more to talk about and engage in. We dropped the kids off with my mother-in-law and made the 2 hour drive down to LA.
It was nice to have even that 2 hours just to talk. We could finally just be ourselves for a little while and talk about politics, teaching, the various goings on of people we know, plans for the next year. It was quite a different drive than the 2 hour drive to the beach just two months before with all three kids crammed into the back seat and our trunk full to the brim. There was no crying, no whining, no fighting, no complaining, no begging. Huh, was this what our life had been before kids?
We checked into the beautiful Hollywood Hotel (read my review here) and settled in. Since it was Sunday afternoon, Jimmy had to check in with all things football, before getting ready. We made our way to the Pantages, enjoyed a drink, and found our seats for a night at the theatre. I seriously could not have asked for a better birthday present. Everything about the show was phenomenal and I actually got to sit and enjoy it. The next morning, we discussed the show and its historical accuracy over breakfast, and believe me, the Hollywood Hotel knows how to do breakfast. Since LA is my husband’s least favorite city in the world, we didn’t stick around or do anything touristy, we just loaded up the car and headed home. As we put our stuff in the back, my husband remarked, “This car is perfect for just the two of us.” And it is. In fact, I recently got a minivan because I just couldn’t take having the kids smushed in the backseat anymore!
Since that trip, I think we’ve talked more than we have in a long time. Our discussions don’t have to consist merely of schedules and disciplining children. These years are hard years. They are full of sleeplessness, diaper changes, searching for lost shoes, and endless loads of laundry. It is easy to get lost is the everyday work and forget about the relationship at the foundation of the family. Take time, whenever possible to invest in your marriage and keep that foundation strong.