Friday, March 27, 2009

The Person on the Other Side of the Bed

As we meander through life, busy in our daily tasks of chores and work and kids, we tend to forget that at the end of the day after the dishes are done and the homework checked, the laundry folded and put away, we've forgotten something. 

Forgotten someone. 

Most of the time we've likely forgotten ourselves and we haven’t paid any attention to what our needs are.  A cup of tea, reading a book or paper, watching our favorite show on tv; however we unwind and relax at the end of the day.

But that isn't the thing I'm talking about. 

I'm talking about the person on the other side of the bed. 

Now, not everyone reading here may have anyone on that side of the bed, but chances are someday you might.  I think we tend to forget about our spouse or significant other more than we realize.  To be fair, they forget about us too. 

It's important to try to stay connected (and I'm not talking about blackberrys and blogs this time).  Spending time together, alone away from kids when possible, is so vital to keeping a connection strong.  Everyday gestures and thoughts are important.  Making dinner together, talking about your day, relaxing and watching a movie together, these things can be significant too. 

Hence why I’ve hired a sitter for Saturday night.  So we can go be with other grown-ups at a REAL grown-up party. 

We both tend to work after the kids go to bed.  I'm at my desk on the computer with my earphones on and he's on the couch with his laptop watching tv.  There's probably a call for us to do that a bit less but within the limits of the day, neither of us can accomplish everything that needs to be done.  So our evenings are one of those 'in the same room but separate worlds' kinds of things. 

We usually catch up at night once we turn out the lights.  My husband would say I am his soundtrack to sleep.  I talk when I am in bed waiting for dreams. There’s all this stuff up in my head that I have to get out before I can attempt to sleep.  Anyone else like that? Generally, I’m not expecting him to comment with more than a grunt.  That’s usually what I get.  He may object to that but it’s my post, I can say what I want.

It took a long time to find a balance between work and life and all the rest.  And I wouldn’t say we’ve gotten it down exactly more like we’re limping through it.  It's always far more complicated than you think it's going to be.

How about you?  Are you finding a work/life balance?  What’s your secret to staying connected?  I want to hear your thoughts!  (and seriously, I need tips!)

Blogging Mama Andrea


vailian said...

Nice post! My girlfriend likes to be read to, it helps her go to sleep-- I guess that means my voice is especially soporific!
Good luck with the new blog project-- I would be happy to contribute but I can't figure out how.

Anonymous said...

Vailian - Please send me an email - and I can give you the information. You'd be our first male poster!

For now we are full of regular contributors for women's posts but if others would like to they may submit their names for future guest post spots.

K said...

My husband works late, so when he comes home we only have a couple of hours to cram in dinner, bath time and bed time routines for our daughter, and a short glimpse of a movie or a read of a book before we too are in bed. But I look forward to that time in bed, because that's when we talk on a deeper level. At dinner we hear about each other's day, but at night when it's just the two of us is when we can talk about things that involve our emotions. Our secret to staying connected... it's always been being open and honest and good listeners. We try to hear each other but also put each other first in our thoughts.

Great post Andrea! I'll be back for more :)

natasha the exile on Mom Street said...

I wish that I had a good suggestion. JR and I struggle with this a lot.

I find myself making a list during the day of things that I *have* to talk to him about during the time between him getting home from work and going upstairs to the home office to work after Grasshopper is in bed.

So very often our "time" is spent discussing bills, that email from his mother (she always writes me, not him), the issue I had with the kid today and how best to handle it, etc. etc. Feelings and the like seldom make the list these days.

Cajoh said...

My wife and I will typically cock our heads to one side while saying "Wait a minute, who are you… oh yea" in a gesture that means we know each other as we do when we wake up together.

I'm always reading bedtime stories to my wife who always falls asleep mid-stream and never knows what happens. She's always surprised whenever I quote a part of the story and will comment: "when did that happen?"

Great idea for a blog, I'm going to follow now.

Susan said...

They say the rest of your evening will follow the mood of the first four minutes your spouse walks in the front door from work. We have four minutes to make out even if the kids scream "EW, GROSS!!!". But that's our first rule. Second, no tv in our room. Well, we have a tv, but no tv until after we've settled in, talked, had sex or no sex but just connected.

Third, we totally sleep naked. Just our rule and I always have my tank and sweats on the bottom of the bed in case the kids need me.

Fourth, we date. Each other. All the time. We text about what we want to do to each other later at night. We lite candles. We lite incense.

And now, we're off to Philly for a weekend to recharge without the kids. Pricelss.

Great post by the way!!!

Missty said...

Ditto to Susan - we do all the above, and it works, we just had our 26 yr anniversary!

Spouse first, kids second, and everyone and everything - whatever number you want to assign. Those kids grow up way to fast, and it will be the two of you, by yourselves... with nothing in common, unless you make each other important.

Anonymous said...

I'm a single dad, not currently in a relationship. When I was married, my wife and I would catch up over dinner, and after the kids went to sleep. Sex was always instigated by me, and not always embraced by her. How come some women are like that? Huh?

In my best post-divorce relationship, we spent most of our time together when my kids were at their mom's. So my girlfriend and I could connect like crazy. We talked forever. And we had tons of sex.

Yeah, sex is important to us men.

The Blonde Duck said...

This is so true. A couple months ago I had to cut down on doing stuff for my blog because I was neglecting Ben. When you work all day and then cook dinner and take care of the dogs and all you want to do is write, you lose part of yourself. You lose the laughter and fun of being in love. And I don't even have kids yet! I can't imagine how moms do it.

Anonymous said...

Kimberly - good thoughts and ideas.

Natasha - I hear myself going Yep! That's us! (though not the mil thing, she knows better than to call me ;)

CaJoh - Cute story.

Susan - hello! It sounds like things are great in your house! Have a great time alone.

Missty - Congrats!

Dadshouse - Well, umm, cause women are different and its harder for us to let go of all the other stuff we're thinking about to get in the mood. (did you watch the brain box video in the post below?) I can't and don't speak for anyone but me but I think hubby and I do alright in the give and take (he asks and I don't always say no, lol)

Blonde Duck - We trade SuperMom Capes on a weekly basis. We'll induct you one day. ;)

The Crazy Coxes said...

I like this post!

We grab time together whenever we can. We have teenagers, so our schedules may be different than those with small children.

We have a lot of breakfast dates. We have a lot of time when the kids are gone on the weekends and we're home alone.
And we go out (always have) at least twice a week. That was a lot of money spent on babysitters, but it was worth it.

I agree with those who said - Spouse FIRST! You can't forget where "this" all started!

Anonymous said...

It's a little different for me because my hubby's hours are very, very long. So on his days off I just pretty much give up the day for him. We don't have those side by side evenings like most couples cuz he's still at work.

shannon said...

I have no suggestions...other than to totally admit that I'm in a rut!--I love my husband, but my list of things to do gets in the way of other "things"--If it's not on my LIST--than it makes me nuts to veer off the path of being productive!--

I'm working on this people!--In fact, I'm going to put this on my list!

Things were oh so different before kids!

Kate said...

My husband works nights, so we rarely have a night to ourselves. We usually have breakfast together and make a point to get out of the apartment a few times a month without the kid - as a date.

Communication really is the key for us since we have opposite schedules and very little one on one time, if you will. :)

I will totally stay tuned!

MakingChanges said...

Brilliance to the suggestions I have seen. This is a hard one for hubby and me because I leave for work after he gets home and he is in bed when I get home from work. We do this so we don't have to put our youngins in daycare. We made 'em, we raise 'em.

So, our weekends are mucho important. We really try to cut back on other things on the weekend nights and just be together. Saturday nights we watch a movie after bed time and usually end up talking until 3 or 4 Sunday morning.

We also don't have a tv in our room. Crazy, I know. But this is where we get away from the world. This is our little sanctuary. We like it that way. If we feel the overwhelming feeling to watch a movie in bed we bust out the laptop but that is a rarity. We like our room to be our room. It is used for other, wholesome marital activities.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

For my guy and me...communication isn't necessary!!!

Totally kidding...we are working on that STILL after 9 years of marriage!

What we do...

Date night on time to go to a movie theatre! No pesky kids buggin ya and you can find a great seat in the back and not be disturbed. be gets in the way and I really need to remember my man more...I'll be honest!

Dadhouse--it's complete TIMING on the guys part. I don't mind my husband lovin up on me at night if I'm not already HALF asleep!

If I'm half asleep? Forget about it!

Susan---I LOVE your ideas...I think I need to do a little more MAKING OUT when he gets home! lol!

Melinda said...

I gotta be honest, so I will. I hate the suggestion to have a date night atleast once a week. Not that I wouldn't LOVE a date every week, but for those of us that can't afford it, I refuse to believe that my relationship can't still be amazing if I can't afford a date night. How about a guest post on that? (Man I'm feeling snarky today, sorry!) :)

April said...

Talk, definitely put away the electronics and talk. Nothing deep either, just how it went that week at work or home or just whatever comes to mind. Just make sure to make eye contact.

MakingChanges said...

Melinda, that was a bit snippy! Although I secretly agree. That is why we put the chillins to bed early (before midnight) and we have an at-home date night.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

You know what I love Melinda...that you USE the word Snarky!!! :)

There are many ways to have a date night without spending money. I think what is vital is getting alone time with your spouse.

Cause you have to continue to learn about them as they "grow up"...I mean...I would HATE to be the same person I was when I got married!

Seriously...I'd be in big trouble! lol!

Thanks for being honest...I love that!

Anjeny said...

Blogging Mama, thanks for posting this. You've expressed most of my thoughts on this subject. My husband and I are always interrupted when we try to get a moment alone just to talk so we are trying out this just walking across the street to the beach to take walks and talk and of course we have a dog that we walk at the same time. This is still a work in progress for us.

It's weird though because we talk more on the phone when he's on his lunch break than when he's sitting in the same room as I am..crazy uh?

Anonymous said...

Wow! I just got up and saw this morning there were so many more comments! Wonderful everyone thanks for all the idea and thoughts! And thanks for making the site so awesome!

Melinda said...

I'm just saying going out once a week without the kids isn't always realistic, and I don't want to be told my relationship won't be good for it. We still spend time together, we still talk, we still laugh and be silly and think of each other. We just don't get to be alone alot, and for now, thats okay. I think we as people are pretty selfish most of the time (uh, duh right?), we think about what we need/want/MUST HAVE only right now and forget that, hello, we have the rest of our lives to do this or that, make plans, etc. Does that make any sense? (Of course, I understand you have to take care of what you have now, or you won't have it later, I'm just saying things don't happen perfectly right now or when and how I want them too. I may want to go on a cruise tomorrow, but its okay to save up and do that later, maybe even better that way.) This is probably not making sense, and its long, and it's late and I'm tired. My husband's asleep, and I'm on the computer, I guess I missed out on my date time! hehehe (man, I'm so snotty! Somebody make it stop...)

Anonymous said...

Melinda...I can't BELIEVE you would think it isn't REALISTIC, that you have a life or something? That's CRAZY talk! :)

I'm kidding, I totally picked up what you put down...I understand.

There are definitely stages in our lives where we can't have the one-on-one...

But I LOVE your suggestions on how to work around that!

Anonymous said...'s ME Shelle who made that last comment! I'm obviously in the Venus vs. Mars account!

Kritta22 said...

I soooooo need to work on this! I have NO suggestions as I totally suck in this area.

wendy said...

It is easy to find a million things to interfere with "your time" together. Get home from work, I go exercise, he is coaching baseball (now) football in the fall ---he goes downstairs and watches the things HE wants on tv and I am upstairs watching the things I like (with my laptop handy, gotta multi task) and then by the time we get to bed we are so tired we can't see straight.
Gotta find a way to not let CUDDLE time go by the wayside.

DGB said...

This is something that my wife and I talk about all of the time. Actually, she tells me that she feels shitty for neglecting me as a wife. But she's busy with both kids. I'm busy with a demanding job. There's just not enough time to do everything, so our relationship gets fed last out of everything. We're both kind of frustrated by it. But the fact that we're both frustrated means we're both thinking and talking about it. We both care.

The answer isn't clear to us yet, but we both know that our relationship isn't in any kind of real danger. It's just kind of on pause.