Saturday, April 16, 2011

Stay Home, Stay Happy - Chapter 5: Rekindle your Relationship

We've gotten halfway through the book. I'm hoping we all have benefited from it somehow. This chapter talks about the ways and benefits of rekindling relationships....
It's good for the family!

"If marriage isn't a first priority in your life, you're not married." - Joseph Campbell

"Accustom yourself continually to make many acts of love, for they enkindle and melt the soul." - Teresa of Avila

Time spent rekindling your relationship is not just a gift to you and your spouse, but a gift to your family!

The demands of parenting, especially in the early childhood years, can easily have the effect of overshadowing the relationship between the parents. However, the health of the primary relationship has consequences for the family as a whole.

Kids will be more secure and happy knowing that their parents are in love and actively engaged in making their relationship, and family, strong.

Pull yourself together

Here's the good news: if you're an at-home mom, recent data indicates you are having more sex with your husband than working moms. So why are stay-at-home moms surprised by the findings? Because being home with the kids doesn't always feel so sexy.

It's so easy to get into a routine of doing for others all day as our own needs slip lower and lower on the to-do list. It's a trap, though. Not taking care of ourselves affects our self-esteem. We need the confidence and energy that comes from feeling like we are at the top of our game.

Taking care of myself by pulling myself together everyday in simple, meaningful ways always puts me in a better mood and state of mind. If we understood it for what it really was - a gift to our families - we might not be so passive about putting ourselves last.

Splurging on bath and beauty products that make you feel pampered and sexy is an investment in your relationship.

Remember how well you took care of yourself when you were single? Ask yourself why you are not doing it now. The reason is often because we don't have that motivation of trying to impress a man! In my case though I really didn't have that much interest in dressing up for a man even when I was still single. I didn't wear make up (just a lip gloss). I didn't like wearing perfume (i have sensitive sense of smell). I think I am more motivated to dress up now that I am married.

Make taking care of yourself a top priority.

6 ways to pamper yourself
  1. exfoliate daily with a gentle cleanser
  2. don't skip your haircut and color appointments - there's no substitute for that right-out-of-the-salon hair feeling!
  3. monthly facial (you can do it yourself!)
  4. luxurious bath products
  5. manicure/pedicure
  6. massage
Six Easy Ways to Pull Yourself Together Quickly
  1. A touch of lip gloss, mascara, bronzer, or under-eye concealer
  2. For more coverage, use mineral powder make up (easy and looks natural)
  3. Ponytail or great had for bad-hair days
  4. Splurge on trendy glasses (hides bags and no make up)
  5. Invest in one or two sweat suits or loungy outfits (fitted, not baggy!) for daily wear
  6. Fresh, crisp perfume or cologne

Transitioning from mom to woman

When it comes to romance, the biggest obstacle for at-home moms is that our work doesn't provide  a transition. If you don't create some transition for yourself, it's hard to meet your husband where he's at emotionally or physically. (guilty!)

Find time before your husband comes home to do something relaxing (read a magazine, file your nails, play or color with the kids!).

Your relationship will be much better if you have things to discuss besides your kids, and if you're both reminded why you ever liked each other in the first place!

The whole family will benefit if your love life is in balance. You will be a happier, better mom, and your children will flourish, when your relationship with your partner is loving.

That's why young kids love it so much when their parents kiss and hug each other. It's proof that they are cushioned by a loving family unit. It's the kind of reassurance kids need to feel secure and happy. So if your kids are young, enjoy the PDA while you can!

Schedule Yourselves In

Scheduling regular date nights says "our relationship matters", and by making it a regular affair, you can minimize scheduling conflicts with your partner and your child-care provider. Since hubby and I are not into the idea of a baby-sitter, we don't have a regular date night schedule. What we do have since the start of this year is the breakfast date time since both kids leave early in the morning. Sometimes we go out eat breakfast at a fastfood nearby, or we just make our own breakfast. The thing is that we spend more alone time.

Taking a vacation day during the week while your kids are busy at school is an excellent way for couples to get alone time. You can go out to lunch together, hit a matinee, or just hang out at home and do all the things you can't do when the kids are around. CHECK!

Plan a getaway - without the kids!

Researchers have found that experiencing physical affection and sex on one day predicts a better mood and less stress the next day, which in turn predicts the same the next day. That's why vacations are so great for couples!

Many couples never get away together, especially when the kids are little, because they feel guilty or worried. It's really too bad because, while the kids may miss you (and you will miss them!), they will ultimately benefit from the rejuvenation a trip can give your marriage. When looked at from that perspective, it's actually really good for the kids!

Small gestures make a big difference

The true measure of a marriage is in the small things couples do for each other on a daily basis.

On the occasions we do remember to do something that makes our spouses feel loved and appreciated, too often we end up doing what WE would like our partners to do instead of what they actually want. This is another are where communication is paramount.

Focus on results, not blame. After all, the purpose is to encourage behavior that makes us feel loved, not to guilt your partner out.

After sharing your feelings, take the high road by setting an example. Do something thoughtful for your spouse as soon as possible after your conversation.

Don't wait for your spouse to do something nice for you - lead by example. By being the partner you would want to have, you can begin to take responsibility for your relationship and build a partnership that will strengthen the entire family.

Six Small Gestures that say "I love You"

  1. A love note slipped into a briefcase or coat jacket or onto the mirror in the morning
  2. A favorite meal or beverage waiting when he comes home
  3. An unsolicited foot or neck massage
  4. Letting your spouse sleep in on the weekend (hubby lets me sleep in on weekdays!)
  5. A cup of coffee and the paper by his night table for when he wakes up
  6. A long kiss for no reason

So what are you waiting for??? After reading all the tips from the book (thru my blog), I hope you were inspired, motivated, and will take action. 

Start planning those regular date nights (or mornings) or a short getaway you have been dying to have since you had kids. Have fun!

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