Melbourne & Spending Time With Your Spouse

My husband and I make it a priority to invest in our relationship.  But it’s hard work! Finding time to go on a date, let alone eat dinner together, is difficult.  I would say that our family isn’t child-centred.  While a lot of our life revolves around our children, the relationship between Matt and I is very important for our family.  You see, if Matt and I are on the same page, the kids benefit greatly from this.   So, we try (but don’t always succeed) to find some time each week to be a couple. We call it “Together Time”.

In May, I had an opportunity to go down Melbourne for a Bloggers Brunch run by Kids Business and Room to Grow TV.  My husband and I decided to take the opportunity to make a childless weekend of it. Oh, and I ADORE Melbourne. Just saying.

Bloggers Brunch Melbourne

I always enjoy meeting with other bloggers who understand that sometimes, Twittering while people are speaking is not impolite, but actually the opposite! I also enjoy talking to people about their products and why they are passionate about them. 

{twittering snippets of the morning}

bloggers brunch melbourne twitter

{meeting bloggers and contacts}

bloggers brunch melbourne 1

Christie Kids Business – Me — Nic Planning With Kids Marthese Romantic Flair Original – Lovely Lady in Red Top – Renee Bra Queen

{love Bruder}

bloggers brunch melbour bruder

I was especially impressed with the attention to detail in the Bruder products. They really are just like a real life version, right down to the number plates. My son adores his Bruder truck.

Photos courtsey of Little Red Photography

I also enjoyed looking at the clever Playskool products, smart MegaBlocks, gorgeous Pink Poppy pretties, and finding out that Disney on Ice will be in Brisbane for the school holidays (which I’m taking the kids to see).

I also want to thank KleenexMums, Zap Creation and Little Tikes who supported this event.

Photos courtesy of Little Red Photography

Remember Why I Married This Man

After the Bloggers brunch, the husband and I enjoyed the rest of the weekend together.  It was beyond fantastic to spend dedicated time with the man I married. Here are some snaps:

Bloggers Brunch Melbourne Holiday

I loved reacquainting myself with why I married this man. Images (left to right):

I love this man because…

1. he knows how much I like red, so booked a hotel with based on what I love.

2. he makes me laugh.

3. I think he’s uber handsome.

4. he’s always happy to carry my things for me. Yes, even my handbag (what a man!)

5. he loves trains and trams, and navigated me around Melbourne like a pro!

6. he’s patient and happy for me to look at every second hand bookshop we walk past.

Finding time to be a couple

Matt and I are always looking for creative ways to have time together.  What works (and what doesn’t) varies very much to where we are at in our lives, but here are some of the things that are worth a try:

1. Have a regular babysitter

My friend has a regular babysitting come on the same night every week. This hasn’t worked for us as my husband’s schedule is always changing, but if you can arrange regular dates like this, it’s brilliant!

2. Stay in date

You don’t necessarily have to go out of the house to have a date. Blue and I often feed the kids early and have a special dinner together, followed by a movie. The only trick here is to make sure you treat it like a date and don’t run around doing housework.

3. Day dates

Last year, I had a day during the week without any children at home. I made use of this time during the day to have lunch with Blu at his work.  It worked surprisingly well because we both weren’t dead tired.

4. Weekend getaway

We’ve only just began to enjoy weekends away, and it’s nothing short of BRILLIANT! Having a weekend away without children is almost impossible when you have a baby to care for, but for those of you who are in the baby stage, just know it does happen — eventually.

5. Weekend brunch

A weekend brunch is another fun time to try. The tricky thing is finding a babysitter but it’s worth the effort.

In our experience, raising children brings such joy to a family, but it also can put a lot of strain on a couple’s relationship.  Matt and I make it a priority to enjoy each other’s company without the children. Just as we also make it a priority to spend time with the children as a family. It’s hard work to make it happen but so very worth it.

When was the last time you went on a date with your spouse?

What Together Time ideas work for you?

Other Links

See Where I’ve Been With Blogging

Do You Argue In Front of The Kids?

Do You Argue In Front of the Kids?

When I say argue, I don’t mean the ugly I-never-want-to-see-you-again variety.  What I’m talking about is in the just-ask-for-directions category.  I guess this amounts to a discussion rather than an argument?  Do you think? I like to call it fight-fair.  You see, my husband and I are so different, and not just in the gender department, so — ah — conversations are bound to happen. Here’s a very small snapshot:

My husband and I have talked about this and we figure it’s better to show the children that two peole who love each other, still have discussions rather than model a we-never-disagree persona. 

An example

As you see from the table above, I’m a risk taker.  This can be a good thing and a bad thing.  One Sunday morning, we bundled the children into the car to go to church.  Blu (the husband) turned the key in the ignition. Nothing.  With his hands resting on the steering wheel, he leaned forward slightly and turned his head to look at me.  The car was out of petrol.  Now you might say, “That’s an easy mistake to make.” Yes — true — but this was the 3rd time in a matter of 2 weeks that I had run out of petrol (I’m deadly serious).  Blu was cross with me.  On my part, I was SURE I could make that last leg — and of course the next one.  This is the conversation we had while the children were sitting in the car.

         

Blu: It’s not good enough Kelly. You HAVE to fill the car with petrol when the orange light comes on.

Me:I know but I couldn’t stop on the way to school because I would have been late for the children.  And then on the way home from school Cossie was crying and the thought of stopping for petrol was just too much. I only had to run out for milk yesterday and there was no petrol station nearby.  I thought I would have enough… you know, for the next leg of the trip.

Blu: I’m not happy.

Me: I can see that.

Blu: What if next time you’re stuck somewhere on the road?

[Blu gets out of the car and just stands there.]

Me: Hon, look, I’m really sorry.  Just take the other car to the petrol station and fill up the can and bring it back. It won’t take long.

Blu: I shouldn’t have to. Drives away.

Cossie: Is Daddy cross at you Mummy?

Me: Yes darling.

Scottie: Daddy shouldn’t be cross at you Mum.

Me: No, actually, he should.  Daddy needs to get cross at Mummy sometimes. And Mummy needs to get cross at Daddy sometimes.

Flossie: I don’t like it when Daddy is cross at you Mum.

Me: I know baby but it’s like you and Scottie.  When you are angry at each other, does that mean you don’t love each other?

Flossie: No.

Me: So it’s the same with Mummy and Daddy.  Mummy didn’t do the best thing and Daddy is allowed to get cross at me sometimes.  It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love me.

Son: Oh no. The car’s broken. Daddy will fix it.

Me: Yes mate, Dad will come back and fix the car.

[We wait.  Blu comes back.  He fills the car with petrol and gets back in the car.]

Blu: Sorry I flew off the handle darling.  I know you, and love you.  I acted like a boofhead.

Me: You have every right to be angry at me but thank you for understanding me.  I love you. 

Blu: [Laughs].  I do understand you.  You drive me nuts but I love you.

Me: [I smile]

Different roads

This conversation could have easily gone in a different direction.

1. Silent treatment

I can see it now, tension building. Oh fun. (Risk here of not growing and learning).

2. Blu saying, “We’re not going to church kids because your mother keeps forgetting things.”

Defaming and bringing the other down with words in front of the children. (Not a good course to take).

3. Me saying, “You don’t know what it is like being home with the children all the time.”

Tit for tat.  Plus basically telling the children they are such a hassle. How sweet. (NOT!)

4. Blu saying, “That’s fine dear. No problem.”

While this might be a sweet approach, I probably wouldn’t have so much respect for my husband if he didn’t pull me up on anything.  But then, if he was unkind and picked at everything I did, I probably wouldn’t respond well to that either.

5. Take it elsewhere

Many may think this a better course.  I’m not sure if I agree.  Sure, there are times we need to talk about things without the children being there (and we do) but discussion is big part of life in our house.  We talk things through. We discuss.  We work things out.  We are all in this together.

Reflection

We are coming up to our 11th year wedding anniversary and we’ve learnt, not only to discuss things, but to truly understand and love each other.  It takes work though, and  trust me, we are still learning.  I didn’t analyse the above conversation at the time but now I’m reflecting, I can see four principals we may have taught the children.

1. Differences

People have differences and this is a normal part of a loving relationship.

2. Acknowledge

When you stuff up, own up.

3. Unconditional Love

Blu could decide that he will stop loving me if run out of petrol again. HA!  But no.  He ended the conversation with a demonstration of unconditional love.

4. Reconciliation

Reconciliation is so vital in a relationship.  Not only for adults but for children too.  I believe deep resentment grows when reconciliation is not administered after an argument or discipline.

Our family had a lovley day and the morning mishap was forgotten.

You know what? Blu now keeps a full can of petrol in the garage for the “next time” I’m sure I can do the last leg of a journey.  Now that’s real love.

Is there a difference between arguing and discussing?  Should healthy discussions be modeled? Some people may disagree with me here.  I know many people believe all discussion should be done away from children but I tend to disagree.  What do you think?

* I checked with  my husband before I posted the conversation.

Be A Fun Mum Links

I Didn’t Clean the Kitchen Last Night

Let Dad Have His Way

Daddy Tax

Chronic Multi-tasker Woman vs One-task-at-a-time Man

External Links

Love this verse: “Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry.” Ephesians 4:26

I Didn’t Clean The Kitchen Last Night

This is the sight I woke to this morning. 

The Husband had been on-call for 60 hours and he stumbled home last night, absolutely exhausted. He fell into the chair, and I could tell, he just couldn’t move, let alone talk.  I felt like dropping myself; however, seeing him in such a state gave me a little extra energy to put his needs above mine. (I know that sounds sickeningly like the perfect wife, and I’m far from that, but I felt so much compassion for him and he’s usually helpful around dinner).  I placed food in-front of the children and then gave a plate to my husband, still in the chair, with a glass of milk.  A glass of milk?  I don’t know why I gave him a glass of milk; but it felt like the nurturing thing to do. 

The children took their plates to the kitchen sink. I don’t remember telling them a story. Did I?   I certainly had no energy left to clean the kitchen.  So there it was, sitting patiently for me this morning.  Today as I write this, I feel fresher, and I can tackle the mess. I don’t like leaving the kitchen a mess but in a way, I feel good about it.  I feel good about it because I was able to prioritise what was important for our family in the moment, and — stuff the rest. It was important, for the moment that has now past, to invest in my husband — I know it.

Sometimes, when my husband comes home I say this:

“I didn’t do very well in the house today, but I loved the children.”

He smiles. And then I smile.

Other Be A Fun Mum Links

Hurry! Finding the Play Button

Bloom Where You Are Planted

What is Love?

I’m not into Valentine’s Day (a quality my husband really loves, hehe).  However, it’s prompted me to ask this questions: what is love? In my opinion, the media has done love no favours.  In fact, I would go as far to say the concept of love has been butchered.  The media often promotes the love ‘highs’ and the love ‘lows’ and the love ‘highs’ again.  It seems to be about what you can get out of love rather than what you can give.

Why, why, why is the divorce rate so high?  And this figure doesn’t include break downs in long standing relationships. Why, why, why is love so messy?  Shouldn’t it be a simple thing?  I know, I know, we don’t live in a simple or perfect world. And I don’t have any illusions how hard it can be to love.  That brings me to my story.

People look at me, at my children, and at my marriage, and think I have the perfect life.  My husband is successful, I have four beautiful children and an extended family who love me.  Indeed, I feel very blessed, but the journey hasn’t been all smooth sailing for me. Indeed, there have been times where I’ve just lay on the ground, unable to move, feeling the burden of despair.

Despair: loss of hope.  Often, when you get to the point of despair, things become clear because everything is taken away; bones stripped bare. In my second year of marriage, after our first child was born, my husband suffered a total break down.  I was in a new city, with a new baby, knew no one and my other half stopped functioning – literally.  It’s hard to see someone you love reduced to a shell; so very hard.  The breakdown was followed by 6 years of major depression.

I was raised to just-get-on-with-it, so, at first, I just couldn’t get my head around the situation.  Overtime, I have truly come to appreciate the affects of mental illness. For years, I was flying solo, trying to look after the children the best I could with nothing in the tank and this is when I discovered something truly wonderful.

God taught me something truly wonderful.  I had the opportunity to learn what real love is all about. It’s not about romance or sex; it’s not about roses or chocolate (but they certainly help, especially chocolate); it’s not about feeling emotional or being fulfilled; it’s about giving when you get nothing back.  Yep, that’s what real love is about, loving unconditionally. Love is a choice, not a feeling.

This truth is sometimes hard to comprehend. Isn’t love all about the beautiful feeling of connection with another person?  I agree, emotions and attraction have a huge part to play in love; however, you can’t base love on feelings.  Feelings are so transient and changeable.  Love is a choice.

This love is powerful; it never fails. I’m happy to say that my husband is well and our marriage is stronger than ever.  We feel more ‘in love’ than ever too. I can say that I’m grateful for the hard times because I’ve had the opportunity to learn real love.  When I talk to any couple who obviously have a strong relationship, I discover they’ve ALL gone through a crisis of some type.  It’s the hard times that make us stronger.

Don’t be fooled by what the media says, that you need to pursue your own needs and that it’s all about your own fulfillment; how terribly boring.  That sort of love doesn’t last. The love that gives lasts forever, like the love gifted to Mothers. What is love? Love is unconditional and free but it costs you everything.

Note:  I ackowledge there are some situations where there is no solution to a relationship.  I would hate to seem preachy.  I’m just telling of my story and of the love I’ve found. Be encouraged.

Further Reading

Read my Love Story

I love SquiggleMums recent post, Marriage First

The ultimate guide to real love: 1 Corinthians 13 

Why hard times make you strong: James 1:2-4