Before I had kids, I used to say ridiculous and obtuse things like, “When I have kids I’m still going to travel the world!”
“When I have kids, I’m not going to change my lifestyle. I’m just going to bring them along, and it’ll be easy and fabulous!”
Then I had kids and I was all like…
“YOU WANT ME TO TAKE THESE SCREAMING RASCALS TO THE GROCERY STORE? ARE YOU CRAZY?”
Or a someone would call up and invite our family to a party that started at 7 pm, and I was flabbergasted.
Honestly. Just pure and utter shock.
“YOU WANT ME TO LEAVE THE HOUSE PAST 7 PM? THAT’S LIKE MY JAMMIE TIME OR WHEN I PASS OUT FROM EXHAUSTION. WHICH EVER COMES FIRST!”
Clearly, I changed my tune from the days when I thought I’d tour Europe with one kid on my back and another walking beside me.
These days, I sit here brainstorming tricks for independent kids and how to help when my child is afraid to sleep alone.
How to keep a strong marriage after kids.
I’m not sure what my husband and I expected marriage to be like after kids, but somehow, we figured out how to make it work despite our lack of sensational travel and nights on the town.
I could spend hours pontificating about how to keep a strong marriage after kids. You’d probably fall asleep before I finished.
So I’ll give you the short version.
Our marriage strengthened after kids because of three things: routines, schedules and early bedtimes. Here’s why.
Routines breed cooperation.
Routines are beautiful, little sequences of events that happen in a specific order before we leave the house, have a meal or put the kids to bed, and they are pure gold.
These simple routines saved both my husband and me from about five thousand power battles with the kids. I don’t have time to collect scientific parenting data, so I made that up. But you get the idea.
This is especially true once we started using a set of printable routine cards because our oldest now follows routines without much help from either one of us.
And I can’t even begin to tell you the number of fights my husband and I avoided because of routines. When we both know the routine, there is very little to begrudgingly argue about.
He knows the routine. I know the routine. The kids know the routine.
Life is redundant and repetitive, and it’s pretty freakin’ glorious.
- How to Get Your Kids to Follow a Routine Without Reminders
- A quick and easy toddler bedtime routine that works like a charm
Schedules bring clarity.
I never thought I would find so much joy in the monotony of the schedule. Knowing when my kids are going eat, sleep, and play alone (yes, it’s a thing) is the most liberating thing I’ve experienced as a parent
I can’t predict when the next tantrum from my strong willed child is going to happen.
(I’m pretty terrible at it actually, which is why you have probably seen me at the grocery store with a flailing child on the floor. Or why you’ve seen me carrying my kids under arm like wild polish sausages.)
The clarity the schedule helps both my husband and me know exactly how to stave off the hangry, avoid power struggles, and keep the peace in our home
It also helps us switch off with the kids like ninjas. No explanation required. My husband takes over when I need him too (the same goes for me) and it is the loveliest thing about him.
Early bedtimes deliver sanity.
Part of keeping a strong marriage—at least for us—is putting the kids to bed as early as possible. We love them whole heartedly and unconditionally, but my husband and I also know that we are the glue that holds this family together.
If we don’t take time to keep a sturdy foundation, then everything above is going to start crumbling downward.
Early bedtimes give us time to stabilize the foundation.
To make this happen, we don’t require the kids to go to sleep at bedtime, they just need to be in their beds. Both kids go to bed with quiet toys each night, and we welcome them to play quietly until they are ready to fall asleep.
But my husband and I?
We desperately need this time to re-connect and have adult conversations that are not coupled with one kid screaming about itchy socks and the other attempting to put rice up my nostril.
The 2-3 hours of quiet time each night is probably the single most important thing that contributed to the health of our marriage. Without it, who knows where we would be!
It’s not fancy, but it works.
I might not have the glamourous parenting lifestyle my childless-self envisioned many years ago, but I’m happier than I’ve ever been.
I’m surrounded by loud noises, spilled milk, piles of LEGO bricks, sloppy kisses, and superfluous giggles.
Without the routines, schedules and early bedtimes, I’d probably go insane.
But with them?
I’m ready for whatever comes next, even if it’s a tantrum in the grocery store instead of a fancy European vacation.
More posts on parenting…
- 7 Foods That Will Support Better Behavior in Kids – According to Science
- The Uncomfortable Truth About Positive Parenting
- 6 Positive Toddler Discipline Tips That Will Keep Your Home Peaceful
- Tired of Power Struggles? Try This Weird Noise Tip
I've created a free email series just for you! If you are struggling with finding a routine, rhythm or schedule, this email series will help you find one that will work for YOUR family. Yes, really. I've seen my sample routines work time and time again for parents. I know it can work for you too.
This free email series will help you:
- Free sample routines for your child
- Best morning routine tips and tricks your kids will actually follow
- All-time favorite parenting hacks for getting more cooperation at bedtime
- Step-by-step guide for using a printable daily schedule with kids