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!