My kids were gone for the weekend, and I didn’t miss them.
I know I’m not supposed to say that. And believe me when I say I was happy to see them again. To hear the tales of their adventurous weekend away from home. To wrap my arms around them. To tuck them into bed with a snuggle and a kiss. To watch them sleep, the sight of it putting my heart at ease.
But I didn’t miss them. Because we’re rarely apart. Their presence is emphasized each day as their needs are brought to my attention minute by minute. And to be honest, it felt good to have some space.
But you know who I have missed?
We spent the weekend talking. Like ACTUALLY talking, in full sentences without interruption. We got dressed in real clothes, and joined the rest of civilization at a number of different restaurants around town. He gave me a lesson in one of his man hobbies, and then willingly sat through the most heartbreaking of chick flicks. And to top it all off, we spent 8 hours leaning against each other on the couch, binging on junk food and the latest season of a popular TV series.
It was quality time at its finest.
And it felt good. I’ve missed that freedom. And I’ve missed HIM. For two days we were able to see each other clearly, a break in the fog of raising children.
I’ve heard the age-old advice about putting one’s spouse first, about making marriage a priority over mothering. And while I completely agree that this would be ideal, I find it an impossible standard to live by as the mother of young kids.
Right now their lives revolve around me – and what they need me to do for them. They are not yet self-sufficient, though I’m working to ensure that one day they will be.
Besides the daily tasks of cleaning and feeding, wiping and scrubbing, rocking and chauffeuring, there are years of teaching and guiding and coaching and challenging ahead of me. When they’re not hungry or hurt, they’re crying or arguing or making a mess. To put it simply, when my kids are at home, chaos is guaranteed.
Mothering doesn’t stop. Not today. Not for a long time.
And I pray that in the midst of motherhood, my marriage won’t stop either, even when it isn’t always a priority.
Now I’m not saying we shouldn’t at least try to make it so. But on a day-to-day basis, I don’t think either my husband or I can say that marriage comes first. Not in this season of life. Not when so many of our days together are simply about surviving the crazy that comes with kids.
Look, I know how important it is to carve out couple time. I know how risky it is to put marriage on hold while raising kids. I know that if a marital relationship isn’t nurtured while the kids are young, there might not be a relationship to come back to when they are grown.
But regularly scheduled couple time isn’t exactly realistic. Not when the calendar is filled with round-the-clock care of children. And the so-called weekly date night? Well, that’s so far off the map, that it’s never even been on my radar.
I’m not sure when we’ll have time to focus solely on each other again. It took 8 years to make this past weekend happen. EIGHT.
And while it went by much too fast, it wasn’t lost on me what I’ve been missing for so long.
Time. With my husband that I so often forget to see.
Now, there won’t likely be major changes that result from our weekend staycation, because, as mentioned previously, kids. But I’ve learned the value of giving a little more time to him and a little less to them.
And maybe that time doesn’t have to happen over the course of a long weekend. Maybe right now, it looks like turning the TV on for the kids so we can catch 10 minutes together while washing the dinner dishes. It isn’t much, but it’s better than the endless hours of crazy we get lost in, right?
And when even that kind of time seems scarce, I’ll remember that he’s worth it. And so is our marriage.
Because maybe one day those short spurts of quality time will add up to a lifetime love.