respect

5 Ways To Focus On Love (Everyday)

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Ah, Valentine's Day! The one day a year we're expected to show our love and appreciation for our partners....the ONE DAY. I'm all for hearts and flowers, believe me! But, I l try to show my love and appreciation every day. Look, if you're not putting some kind of effort into your relationship for the other 364 days a year, then don't be shocked when your foundation starts to show cracks. Now, I'm by no means saying you do this but...I've been with my husband for 20 years, I know how easy it is to allow your relationship to slip to the the back burner. We're all busy - between kids, jobs, obligations, activities, and whatever else you have going on, it's of no surprise that you have very little time to devote to yourself and your partner. I get it, I've been there, hell, sometimes I'm back there and have to make a conscious effort to shift gears.

It's hard to stay focused on your relationship when so many other "important" things come up - at least we prioritize them as important, but are they really? It's overwhelming sometimes, all of the items on the to-do list piling up and in the back of your head you're trying to remember the last time you saw your partner naked. When that started happening in my marriage, we decided to make a few changes and you know what? No one got hurt, no one suffered...everything got better. You see, when your partner knows you care, when they know you're thinking about them and appreciate them, they are more likely to return the sentiment.

If you're trying to figure out how to make time to focus on your relationship, here are 5 things we do to continually work on ours:

Listening Listening Ears (as my 5 year old would say) - Put the device down! Make an effort to listen to your partner, ask engaging questions and participate in meaningful conversations. Don't make it about the kids or yourself, make it about something your partner is interested in - you never know, you could learn something too!

Touch Me - Intimacy is important! It's also non-existant in some of our relationships. Alone time may seem impossible but making an effort to have some kind of connection on a daily basis is essential. A kiss, a hug, an unexpected touch are all indicators to your partner that you're still interested. Who knows...maybe you'll get lucky after the kids go to bed!

Take Five - Make time for selfcare. Say what? I know, it's not easy, but trust me, even if it's five minutes, it will change your outlook. Try to find time in every day for yourself - have a cup of tea, take a bath, read a book - do something that doesn't involve a "to-do" and is something that you enjoy. Having a few minutes to unwind, decompress and focus on literally nothing allows you to clear your mind and will help you better focus when you need it.

Consideration - Be aware of one another's needs and goals and try to work them into your relationship goals. Showing that you care about your partners plans and including them in yours (and vice versa) will encourage communication on a higher level.

Thank You - Appreciating your partner is a sign that your respect your relationship. Unsolicited recognition for the smallest thing will not go unnoticed. Say thank you, use kind words, be thoughtful. It goes a long way!

Every relationship takes work - Having a healthy one with your partner shows you have the stamina to be in it for the long haul, and it helps create a standard for your children to respect and admire. Working together as a team will solidify your love and appreciation for one another as you continue on your journey!!

Happy Love Day!!

R-E-S-P-E-C-T...your kids.

[et_pb_section admin_label="section"][et_pb_row admin_label="row"][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text admin_label="Text"] You guys, one of my favorite things is people watching. I can't get enough. I can remember when we were kid free and we would just go to random places throughout the city and sit, grab a drink and watch. Human interaction is fascinating. This morning, after I dropped the boys at school, I was heading to the gym (my now regular routine) and as I passed another mom walking her kids to school, I was drawn to the tone of her voice, it was a little condescending mixed with baby talk and she was directing it toward one of her kids who, if I had to guess is in second grade. I paused for a minute before continuing in my direction (the opposite, thank goodness), because her tone of voice was one I did not want to have to hear for any additional amount of time. BUT, it was her tone that got me thinking...does she think it's effective to communicate with her kids while using baby talk? Don't get me wrong, I'm not against baby talk, under the right circumstances, like when it's with a BABY. But I do have an issue with it when it's with a school aged child who is able to comprehend inflection and perhaps, would be more affected by the appropriate tone.

I can remember being pregnant and having to take every single decision about myself and my kids into consideration. Just about every conversation with my husband centered around the fact that childhood is quick, so we should consider that as a small part of our decision and we should take into account that what we are actually doing is not having a "baby" but a person. I think that perspective is lost on some and it can change the experience entirely. For example, take naming your child, no, it's not easy but once you get the idea that you're naming a person that has to carry this name for THEIR WHOLE LIFE, you might ditch a name that sounds great for a baby but not so great for an adult.

I can also remember deciding that when they arrived we would always (mostly) treat them respectfully until they deserved otherwise. That includes talking to them like they're adults, of course that does not mean allowing them to be privy to adult conversations they're not ready for, but it does mean using the same tone of voice we use with each other as adults. I think it's been beneficial in our home with regard to being respectful and considerate with one another.  Our kids are just like everyone else's...they can be the best thing since sliced bread one minute and the worst things on the planet the next. They are constantly going in and out of phases that everyone has to learn to navigate, they're expressing independence on completely different levels and they're pushing every button imaginable. Sometimes, when they do it, yelling ensues from all parties involved but it always (mostly) ends peacefully...or with a glass of wine if you're me. Talking with your kids and not at them is the way to go.

I'm also one of those mom's who doesn't believe everyone deserves a trophy at the end of the season, or a prize for losing the game. This precedent we've set for our children is hurting them, not helping them. They have to know what real life is like regardless of whether it's good or bad. Keeping them sheltered, coddled and helicoptered is hindering their growth and not allowing them to fully experience their own lives for themselves. I get the reservation in this...none of us wants our child to suffer in any way, shape or form...except that's not real life and if we don't allow it from an early age, it will be really hard for them later on. No one is immune from life, and you trying to make it easier on them is only going to make it harder on you in the long run. When my kids fall down on the playground or get injured during a sporting event, I sit and watch for a minute to assess the situation, I never immediately run to their aid. Most of the time, from my spot on the park bench,  I tell them to get up, dust off and continue on and they're fine. My rule is: if there's no blood and they have all of their limbs in the right places, then they're good to go. Play on!!

We teach our children to live by the golden rule (it's my favorite), and if we can't as their parents treat them as we would want to be treated, how can we expect them to do the same to us or worse, others? Food for thought...speak to your kids the way you want to be spoken to and respect them the way you want them to respect you. Makes it easier, trust me.

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