Here is a strategy that alleviates stress in marriage and family. It’s a simple compromise that allows mom and dad a little “me time”.
Responsibilities in families have evened out in the 21st century compared to years past. Fathers are more involved with children and household duties more than ever. But a strain on a marriage, due to caring for children, remains. Besides the lack of money, raising children is one of the most stressful factors in a marriage.
What Causes Marital Stress?
Parents don’t make time for themselves. If a couple isn’t mindful about making time for each other and for themselves, not only will their marriage suffer considerably, but so will the children. If a parent is unhappy, everyone in the family feels the tension.
Everyone in the family benefits if mom comes back from a break feeling more patient and energetic. This goes for dads, too.
A Balancing Act for Parents
Many families go through the same routine. The husband doesn’t tackle any of his projects, thinking that his wife will get upset if he isn’t helping out with the kids. If the wife tries to sneak away and work on her list of “to-do’s,” then she feels guilty. Parents get stuck in a vicious cycle.
Needless to say, tension spreads in the home like wildfire. There’s an entourage of feelings that couples struggle with, including frustration, stress, guilt, and resentment. Trying to squeeze in a little “me time” is a tug of war that stifles happiness in many homes.
Parents Making Time for Themselves
Everyone needs time to themselves. And receiving regular “me time” is not only healthy for the parent, but for the marriage and family. Here is a compromise that couples can make that is beneficial for everyone.
Each spouse picks two days a week (Monday through Thursday) to take time off from parenting. That time can be used to do extra chores, start new projects, visit friends or family, enjoy hobbies, soak in the tub, read a book, or anything else that the spouse wants to do.
Leave the weekend, Friday through Sunday, open for family time, family chores, and other commitments. Weekends can be unpredictable, so it’s easier to tag those days as “anything goes.”
Personal time begins from the time that dinner is over until the kids are in bed.
The spouse who doesn’t have the “me time” for that evening is res
ponsible for dinner clean up, entertaining the kids, filling snack requests, diaper changes, bath time, story time, and bedtime routine. If the spouse, who does have the personal privilege for that evening, wants to enjoy family time and be involved with the kids, he/she doesn’t have to be responsible for any parenting. He/she can just enjoy the “play” time with the kids.
If something comes up in the schedule, such as an important meeting, appointment, or event that can’t be missed, then compromise and switch nights for that week.
Families who don’t have a nine to five work schedule, and families where both spouses work outside the home can use this strategy. It’s simply a matter of figuring out what time in their days (or weeks) that are open for compromise.