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Quality Time

Quality Time


Dear Rachel,

My husband and I have three adorable kids who are pretty close in age. There is nothing that I love more than being a mother and if I had it my way, I would stay with my kids around the clock. I even miss my kids when they go to school and feel so content being home with them whenever we can. My husband also loves the kids, but he feels that since we had them, we no longer do anything as a couple, only as a family. I agree but have no problem with this. He wants to go away for a few nights without the kids but I feel like I just couldn't leave them. The truth is that I could leave them, I just don't want to (our youngest just turned three). At the same time it is really important to him; what do you suggest?


Dear Mommy,

It is beautiful to hear how passionate you are in your role as a mother and how deeply you love your children. They are very lucky to have you as a mother. At the same time, being a great mother and being a great wife are not mutually exclusive. And it appears that while you have been investing your time, energy, emotions and self in the parenting department, your investment as a wife has dwindled in the past number of years.

There is no question that when a couple has children, their lives change significantly. A spontaneity that was once there is no longer, and many of the activities that you shared may have to change. But, that does not mean that a couple cannot and should not take time out just for each other.

No two couples are alike, and truthfully, all that really matters is what works for the two of you. If you both felt the same way, then if you never spent a night away from your kids, or a dinner alone, that would be fine, as long as you both wanted that. But from what you are describing, it doesn't sound like you are on the same page here, and you must remember that your relationship with your husband is vital. In many ways, it should come first, for if you are not happy as a couple, it will affect your children. One of the most stable and healthy things for a child is to see the love that the parents share and to know that they are happy.

Since going away for a few days sounds like a big move for you, why don't you see about a compromise? Perhaps start by spending one night away together. Make arrangements so that the kids are well-taken care of, and plan to go somewhere nice, but close enough to home so that if you had to get back, you are only a few hours away. But make sure when you are away, you focus on your relationship with your husband and that you don't just speak about the children. It is one thing if you call once to make sure everything is OK, but do not spend your time away with your head truly back at home.

Furthermore, I highly suggest adding special time together on a consistent basis but in smaller doses. Try having a weekly date, just two hours once a week, where you get a babysitter, and go out to dinner, or even take a long walk. It is imperative that you not only build your family but also build your relationship as husband and wife. Because the last thing you want is a situation where your husband resents the time you are with the kids as opposed to admiring and respecting it.

So make plans for a short get-away but more importantly, start scheduling alone time into your weekly schedule. As much as you love being with your children, short spurts away from them and quality time spent alone with your hubby will undoubtedly be good for you and him, and you may be surprised to find that they will be just as good for your kids!

Enjoy your marriage and your family!


"Dear Rachel" is a bi-weekly column that is answered by a rotating group of experts. This question was answered by Sara Esther Crispe.

Sara Esther Crispe, a writer, inspirational speaker and mother of four, is the Co-Director of Interinclusion, a non-profit multi-layered educational initiative celebrating the convergence between contemporary arts and sciences and timeless Jewish wisdom. Prior to that she was the editor of and wrote the popular weekly blog, Musing for Meaning. To book Sara Esther for a speaking engagement, please click here.
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Anonymous May 5, 2008

wife and mommy Remember that the kids will grow up and move on to their own lives. That is what you are working towards. When they are gone, it will be you and your husband. Your role as wife and his a husband should be the most important with mommy and daddy being a close 2nd.

I was in the opposite role. We were looking at taking a vacation (the first in many years for either of us and our first together). A week some place warm. Got part way through planning a romantic vacation and he decided that we should do a family thing. Take his kids from a previous marriage. Spend the time as a "family." Share a room together as a family.
Great way to show who matters in life.

Start small and work up to it if you need to. Just don't ignore your husband. He needs to know that he is the most important relationship you have. Once the damage is done, it is difficult (impossible?) to repair.

Maybe start by surprising him with a romantic dinner out. Make it a weekly date. Move on to a weekend away. Reply

Lisa Providence, RI July 12, 2007

Quality Time I was once told that in marriage, spouses come first and children come second. Even in the most loving families, BOTH parents sometimes "forget" to put each other first and their children second!

Parents and children sometimes need "vacations" from each other, and there's nothing wrong with that. Can friends and family members help babysit your children while the two of you take a few long weekends and even a few nights out together?

No matter how busy you are, quality time is ALWAYS important - it strengthens marriages!


Mr Cohen West Harbour, CA via July 10, 2007

Excellent This is an excellent article. Well written and gives a helpful and meaningful answer. Thank you. Reply

Anonymous Brooklyn, NY July 1, 2007

It is so important to spend time as a couple, and not get absorbed in the role of parent and spouse second. I made the mistake of putting my role as wife second to the "Mommy Role"which came first! And this helpled cause my divorce. Because I feel both my ex husband and I took one another for granted, and used our parenting roles to ignore the problems that we had, and to ignore each other. It is important to have an equal balance of the roles of spouse and parent. Aliittle time away from the kids help to rejunivate the marriage... Reply

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