This past week, I confessed that time away from my kids makes me a better mom. Talk about unpopular opinion. Apparently we're supposed to want to be around our kids all the time -- otherwise, we're terrible mothers.
But the more I thought about it, especially since I'm headed out of town this week, the more I realized the same principle applies to spouses. Absence may make the heart grow fonder. But I think it also makes it a lot more tolerant.
In my piece that was published earlier this week here at The Stir, I wrote that I really wish I had worked more when my kids were babies because so many of the memories I have of their babydom are jumbled together. That's mostly because I was with them almost nonstop, and when that happens, you often don't have the opportunity to enjoy quality, individual time with them.
And no, I don't count changing poopy diapers as quality time. Sorry.
But now that I have a more regular work schedule and they are in school or (sometimes) with a babysitter, the moments we have are quality time -- not just me doing laundry while the kids are playing in their room.
The same goes in a marriage or any other relationship. If you're always together, doing the same exact stuff, sleeping in the same exact bed, well, things can just get really old. And I'm not just talking about your sex life, though it can certainly apply to that, too.
In my own case, I'm talking about those little quirks and habits that get on our nerves when we're around each other all the time. Like when my husband puts perfectly clean sippy cups IN THE SINK for no reason other than to get them off the table. Heck, I'm not even sure why he does it, but it drives me bonkers.
And his bedtime quirks, like sleeping with ear plugs, and needing the covers a certain way ... well, let's just say I really like when I'm able to sleep in my own bed for a little while.
What I've learned is that these things aren't going to change, really, because they're just a part of who he is, sort of like his gift-giving strategy. But when I'm around it every single day, it can be a bit taxing on us.
And don't worry. I know that I've got my fair share of quirks too. But he gets to travel for a living, so it's not like he doesn't get a break from me.
But what I've found is that when I get the chance to travel myself, I also get the chance to regroup, and it makes a huge difference in our relationship. Not only do I generally get to see friends and have fun, which is good for the psyche and the soul, but I come back thankful, appreciative, and a bit more empathetic, all of which are really important in keeping our marriage healthy.
What are your tricks for being a better wife/partner?
Image via Sean MacEntee/Flickr
Going to baseball games
Riding bike rides in the nice weather
Playing outside after work/school
Going for walks outside