Day Number Four of 20 Days Toward Being a More Mindful Mother

(This post is directed toward day-to-day marital issues, not marital issues where physical or emotional abuse is taking place.)

Yes, we are back to one of my favorite soapbox issues:  your relationship with your spouse, partner or significant other (and to my single mommies, I am sorry that this post today probably won’t have a lot of challenging information for you!  :)  )

Here are some old posts I have written  regarding challenges in marriage and working toward better relationships in the home:

http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/07/27/more-on-marriage-how-do-you-work-with-the-differences/

The Stages of Marriage here:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2009/03/19/inspirations-from-tapestries-the-stages-of-marriage/

Here:  http://theparentingpassageway.com/2008/11/17/using-your-first-year-of-parenting-to-fall-deeper-in-love-with-your-spouse/

And here: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2008/10/08/parenting-as-partners/

Please, please think about what your home will look like in twenty years when your children are gone and you and your husband are left alone.  What will your relationship look like?  I have a friend who has asked me in addition to that question, “And how can you prepare for that day now?”

Many of you know I am a proponent of an early bedtime for children past infancy and nap stages so Mom and Dad can have time for their  relationship at night.  I know that does not resonate with everyone out there, but I am throwing it out there again because I have seen it work personally with quite a few parents in my area.  Just being able to have some time to finish sentences together and be, well, adults, often seems to put a spark back into the relationship.

Some parents do arrange dates for lunch, coffee, or dinner and take along a sling-able baby or a toddler who would be distressed by the separation but leave the older children at home with a trusted relative or friend.  For some families this works well.

Other families choose to have dates “in” and have books, games, movies, take -out food or a romantic dinner ready to go after the kids fall asleep.  This is another very viable alternative.

Intimacy can be a difficult subject to discuss, but I personally believe that physical intimacy is very important to the spousal relationship.  Many men will open up to emotional intimacy after the physical intimacy has been fulfilled.  Physical intimacy can be emotionally fulfilling for them.   Women tend to want the emotional intimacy first.  Work together in these areas to make things fulfilling for both of you!

Other important areas toward improving marital intimacy includes having respect for your husband.  Do you talk about him negatively in front of your children?  Karol Ladd in her book, “The Power of a Positive Mother” writes on page 193 (and I LOVE this!):  “Our kids pick up on the kindness and respect we show to other people, beginning in our own homes.  When we speak with respect to our husbands, our kids learn how to speak with respect to one another.”  Don’t you all love that, or is it just me?!

Often as an attached parent, it is easy to put your children ahead of your marriage (and indeed many times this HAS  to be the case for infants, older infants and even toddlers who need help at bedtime and such – these early years won’t last forever!).  However, once you have multiple children, one can only put the marriage on the back burner  for so long before  I think one has to come back to a balance that includes the adults’ relationship in the house.

The Gesell Institute book “Your Eight-Year-Old” talks about how the eight-year-old is acutely interested and aware  of the quality of the relationships of the adults in the house and is watching intensely.  I would say this starts well before the age of eight!  You are modeling for your children what a healthy relationship looks like, the roles of  not only a mother and a father but of a husband and a wife.  What are you modeling for your children?

This topic of focusing on your spouse is important, so very important!

Perhaps today you can meditate on ways to communicate better, consider the needs of the whole family (not only the children!) and your role not only as a mother and as a homeschooling mother/teacher, but your role as a wife as well.

Many blessings,

Carrie

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5 thoughts on “Day Number Four of 20 Days Toward Being a More Mindful Mother

  1. This is one area where I’ve found my husband’s second shift job comes in handy. When he gets home the kids are already in bed and have been asleep for a few hours. We get time just for the two of us, although we do have to be mindful of how early our little ones get up.

    I think you had some fantastic suggestions!

  2. You make an important point that I think is often overlooked. Most parents realize that they are their childrens primary role model in most areas yet they choose to speak harshly of their spouse in front of their children. Maybe they are discussing an situation with a friend on the phone and fail to realize what the kids are hearing.

    We are in a perfect position on a daily basis to have our children witness kindness and respect towards everyone, especially our spouse. Be careful what you say and how you say it. Your children will benefit from your doing so.

  3. Carrie,

    First, thank you for your wise and inspiring blog. I saw in a recent entry that you are getting many hits to your blog daily. How wonderful that your reflections on positive and attachment-based parenting are reaching so many.

    A friend of mine has been encouraging the moms in my moms’ group to read your “20 days” series. Today we are on this post. Overall, I agree with what you have written and believe that what is modeled in relationships at home is profoundly influential for children.

    I wanted to offer a piece of feedback, though. I really struggled with the heterosexist language in this post. You described the findings that 8-year-olds (and younger!) are keenly aware of what is modeled for them in relationships, especially how partners talk to each other. I found myself thinking, “hmm… when we use language that is not inclusive, or that describes reality just one way, our children draw certain messages from that as well.” I get that your posts mirror your reality, and that you may be speaking to a particular audience (heterosexual women?). But I believe that it’s important for all of us to model inclusive ways of thinking and talking about families because that’s how children pick up on values and are socialized. Whether my child grows up to be gay or straight, I hope that he has received messages all along that families can be moms and dads, moms and moms, dads and dads, single parents, and so forth.

    Ashley

  4. Pingback: Mindful Mothering Challenge # 3 – The Results AND The Next Challenge: Relationships Hybrid Rasta Mama

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