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Here They Come with a Baby Carriage

So, first comes love, then comes marriage, then here they come with a baby carriage...

Finding the time to focus on your relationship when you have children becomes increasingly harder as the children get older. The preschool and elementary years bring you to a place where life revolves around the little people in our homes, but it really shouldn't. I may ruffle some feathers here, but your spouse should take priority over your children (unless you are in an abusive relationship - then ignore everything I say here and reach out for help!). In a healthy marriage, priorities are God first, Spouse second, Children third.

But babies, babies have to be at the center. Having a baby in your home can bring you closer together as a team, or tear you apart. Be careful. Nighttime duties should not be the sole responsibility of either parent. Take turns or make a plan to support your spouse. My husband and I set up our schedule so that he always got up with the baby, changed his diaper, and then brought the baby to me to nurse, and I would put the baby back to bed.

After the babies were no longer nursing in the night, we would take turns. Sometimes he would stay up with them, sometimes I would. This would often depend on our particular schedules for next day - but even if I wasn't working, it didn't mean that I stayed up every night with a cranky baby for days on end. Parenting should be done as a team. It took two to make the baby, it takes two to take care of the baby!

During these times when it can be tricky to make concrete plans, be ready to have an impromptu date night or talk time. Once the baby is on a regular schedule, do your best to plan around that. Steal the little moments that you can. Those little moments are important. And, if possible, try to get a sitter at least once a month to give both of you a little break.

After the children are older, preschool and elementary age, they should be on a pretty set schedule. This makes it much easier to plan for time together. After the kids go to bed (if they have a fairly early bedtime), is a great time to have a "date night" together. Remember simple is good. Store some frozen desserts in the freezer that you can pull out any time to enjoy. Maybe order dinner in for the two of you to enjoy, after feeding the kids and sending them to bed. Play a game, do a puzzle, read a book. Use that window between the time the kids go to bed and the time you go to bed wisely.

And remember your priorties: God first, spouse second, children third.


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