Time has become the most important yet scarce commodity. We are so busy doing ‘God knows what’ that we have no time left to eat properly, exercise well, or take our kids to park to relax and play. If I may speak in software parlance, all that we address these days are Severity Levels 1 and 2 tasks. We all live out of Airbnb accommodation (erstwhile Home) and otherwise stuck in the routine of Work, Take care of family, Sleep and Repeat! So, you may ask- when we already are so hard pressed on time how can we take out some time for ourselves? We read, talk and hear so much about the importance of taking out time for ourselves but do we make any changes in our routine to squeeze it out? Yes we do! Only when all other doors are closed. When the doctor gives that last warning about stress. Or when the dissatisfaction breaks the ceiling… In short, why do we take out time for ourselves only when the shit hits the fan?
Don’t take me wrong! I might sound rude but that’s the truth. After spending 15 years in corporate, juggling that with managing 2 kids and home, I’m telling it to you out of my experience. So my point is, you realize the importance of “special time” before things go out of hands and we start taking out some time from our routine, then whether it should be a ‘Me Time’ or ‘Us Time’?
‘Me Time’ needs no fancy introductions. We all know that ‘Me Time’ is just time for myself, but the context here is ‘Us Time’. I don’t mean ‘Us Time’ is what is spent with kids, in-laws or family. By US time, I mean the time spent between just you and your spouse.
Hope that doesn’t sound hypothetical. Because if it does, then the road sign yells ‘Road Bumps Ahead!!’
We hear from a lot of friends that after kids are born, they hardly get time for their spouse or there is no spark in the relationship. Why not? After all, isn’t motherhood beautiful and engrossing yet exhausting?
When a new love enters our life in the form of our baby, we get a little too carried away with our new Mommy avatar and all other relationships get reprioritized. And one person that most of us take for granted is our husband. We think they should not just listen. In fact, they must understand and cooperate too.
All that we speak is about baby’s health, burping, feeding, clothing, bathing etc etc etc… Off course, Motherhood is a blessing and a life long journey but what about the first love of our life? The person that we fall in love with? The person we exchanged vows with? The person who then was ‘The One we forever waited for’? When we are busy with nursing the baby, what is he going through? When was the last time we sat and tried to hear their problems rather than whining about the baby and how tired we are? Husband also need and deserve our attention, we are human and have physical limitations. However, resetting priorities don’t mean archiving everything else. I’m sure we also miss the sweet time spent together pampering each other. In fact, Dads too love their kids but no one else can replace the void created by our absence- except us.
Spending quality time together is very important, and that ‘Us Time’ can be as less as half an hour, but that should be just ours. Talking just about each other! And strictly nothing else under the sky. This will have positive effect on both the partners and in turn, on our child(ren). The best gift we can give our child is a healthy relationship between parents. The relationship between husband and wife should be that of the closest friendship. Let’s work upon it and figure out how we can take out that time. May be a morning tea together and some exclusive alone time can be an excellent start for the day? Or some time in evening after settling the kids with in-laws, our mom, nanny, and sibling or may be just his toys which can keep him busy for 30 minutes. No one would mind taking care of the baby for half an hour. For a new or first time mom in a nuclear setup, this can be tough. I understand this as I too have traversed that path, so we can take out the ‘Us Time’ once the kids are asleep. Don’t just doze of everyday with the baby because you are tired. Every relationship needs nurturing and to nurture anything it requires dedication and efforts. Happiness doesn’t come just like that. We can spend some ‘Us Time’ during late evening too.
Let’s talk about 3 magic A’s that immensely helps ‘tenured couples’ or ‘new parents’ reclaim the glimmer.
While we were busy spinning our wheels at our respective work, and ‘doing quite good’, the value of the relationship had started weaning slowly. Attention is a very important trait in relationship. As we start getting successful in other facets of life, slowly, we try to replace our ability to spend time with our spouses by buying them gift. Flowers, Cufflinks, Diamond. It all looks so good initially. But, as an old proverb goes- “I don’t need presents, all I need is your presence”. Be a thief! Steal the half an hour from our daily, murderous schedule that Modi ji draws an inspiration from. And spend that with our spouse.
Appreciation is a very miscued word these days. The husband hits gym and loses 4kgs in a month. We say, “Wow! You look 5 years younger.” The wife colors her hair and she looks quite a dazzler. The husband says, “Baby, you look so hot!” Is that appreciation? I’m afraid! That’s doting! So, should we stop doting completely? Not at all! It is very important. Appreciation is doing small things. Doing what our spouse is not naturally inclined or programmed to do. Like, getting the electrical fixtures done. Like as simple as dusting the furniture. Embrace those activities and free up some time from your partner’s schedule. That’s the time we could enjoy together! Appreciation in Totality is very important.
Now, there’s a catch! Adoration does not come from an effort in isolation. It is an outcome of Attention and Appreciation. Adoring is when the spouse gets home from work and starts telling how did the day go? All we have to say is, “Hey, That sounds interesting! Tell me more!!” And that’s when the person realizes they are being empathized with, they feel connected! And that’s when two people start vibing together. Psst!! Sneak advice for all Men- Grab a copy of a wonderfully ignored book- Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. Read it! And you’ll start seeing the wonderful traits in your wife that you forever ignored! Like the way she claps thrice when she arches back while a heartful of laughter. Adoration is about giving wings. To your spouse’s long term goals. Adoration is simpler too. It’s like touching your partner’s soul.
With us showing interest and taking initiative in strengthening the relationship even husbands stop bringing work to home, will be more active in participating towards baby’s day to day growth and journey, and they’ll also help us get free from our chores quicker and both can l spend that ‘Us Time’ together.