It was about a year ago. I was busy typing away, and I noticed Andrew sort of pacing back and forth. I had noticed this a few times in the week or two prior to this time too. I asked him if everything was okay and he mumbled yeah. I could tell something was up. I closed my computer, left my phone beside it, and went into the kitchen. “What’s going on, babe”, I said. He replied, “you are alwayyyyysssss working.”
I immediately thought to myself “of course! I have so much to do! I just got the kid to bed (at the time I was still pregnant with our second) and I probably only have an hour or two before she wakes up and wants me to come lay with her until she feels back to sleep again. This stuff isn’t going to do itself.
He continued. “I’m happy that you have something that is bringing money in and that you love doing. But I feel like we don’t spend time together anymore. You always have your nose in your phone or you’re on your computer. I’d like to lay with you and watch a movie.“
It hit me like a brick.
While Andrew has always been very outspoken about his feelings, I completely missed cues that he had been giving me for weeks. Begging me to pay more attention to him and spend more quality time together. I completely blew him off and actually recounted a few times that I got mad at him for trying to tickle me or constantly interrupt me while I was focused on some task that could have waited until later.
As mothers, especially those of us running our own businesses, even more especially those of us that solely work from home, we feel the need to constantly “be on” all the time. Our children demand so much of our day time that when we finally get “down time” we try to rush to do all our work during that time. In the blogging world, there’s also FOMO (fear of missing out). Fear that we are going to miss an opportunity for money or not be first to apply for a new sponsored post.
But we have to stop. No matter your occupation, but especially those of us bloggers, we have to unplug to keep our relationship thriving. I promise you that if you do nothing but work and stop paying attention to your relationship, that it will suffer. It’s inevitable. It was hurting our family and our relationship and I had to stop. I had to start doing these three things:
#1 – Get into a mindset that you don’t always have to “be on”. If you do miss out on something, then it wasn’t meant to be. Something greater will come along. I promise, it always does.
#2 – Realize that 9.5 out of 10 times nothing needs to be immediately done. The e-mails can wait. The course that you are taking will still be there. The photos can wait until tomorrow.
#3 – Learn to time block. I’ve been doing this for years now but never knew what it was called until Amiyrah from 4 Hats and Frugal called it that. Make a list of everything you need/want to get done in a day. Set an allotted amount of time. When you have a few spare minutes, set a timer, and do that task. You have more time in your day than you realize, but you have to utilize it to work for you. Work the minutes to YOUR advantage.
So, how did I fix our relationship and get it thriving again? I say fix because I had really caused a strain in our communication and it did need fixing. A piece of having a partnership is that you have to recognize and fix what you’ve done to another person.
#1 – All electronics are off for at least an hour after he gets home. We chat about our days, tell a funny story that we may have heard, make a snack together, etc.
#2 – Date nights. Now, we have two very small children, we are on a strict budget, and we don’t have family nearby. So we are limited right? No! I came up with 26 at-home date night ideas and gave it to him as a Christmas gift. He was so excited. From finding a dessert together on Pinterest and making it, to watching a favorite movie of his that I’ve never seen, to making ice cream together, I came up with fun ideas that we would like doing that would make us be together without electronics involved.
#3 – During the weekends when he is home or days that he is off, I try to limit my phone time to only when the baby is nursing.
#4 – When we go on weekend trips or out of town, we don’t bring electronics. We do bring phones, but we rarely use them unless it’s just during a wind down period. We try to focus on each other, our time with our family, and the experience we are having. I encourage you to do this even for a family function, try leaving your phone in the car. You’ll be amazed at how much you don’t even need it.
We are in such a great place now and I’m so thrilled with it. I highly encourage you to listen and be aware if you are always plugged in to your work. Even if your significant other isn’t expressing it, they are yearning for your attention. Figure out how you can unplug while they are around and get (almost) everything done when they aren’t home. Unplugging work to keep your relationship thriving is vitally important to our families. Let’s make it happen.