It’s no secret that life as a new mom is busy.
No one understands how busy “mom-life” is until they’re actually in it.
As a new mom, it can be challenging to find time for the little things like brushing your teeth, washing your hair, running to Target for diapers (thank God for Amazon!), cooking dinner, exercising, seeing a friend, or carving out time to hang out with your husband.
I FELT UNPRODUCTIVE AND RESENTFUL
When I became a new mom, I struggled with feeling unproductive. I was overwhelmed, tired, not getting enough “me-time,” and resentful when my husband played basketball or golf.
I felt like his life continued on, and my life had come to a screeching halt!
To start gaining some control over my life and decrease the building resentment, I turned to my favorite graduate school tool, the calendar.
I knew that if we could just make a plan, life would start to feel less chaotic and I’d be able to start taking better care of myself.
MY SECRET MARRIAGE MUST FOR NEW MOMS
One afternoon in the early months of my son’s life, I ran out to an office supply store and purchased a large whiteboard calendar. That night, I sat down with my husband and started talking about the next two weeks. We discussed work schedules, time with friends and family, date nights, and self-care. We started plotting out all of our different needs on the calendar and committed to “holding our appointments.”
As I had hoped, the calendar made a big difference!
I was soon exercising again, I didn’t hate my husband every time he left for basketball, and we were enjoying some much-needed dates!
A JOINT CALENDAR BROUGHT ORDER TO OUR MARRIAGE
Having a joint calendar with my husband provided a framework for planning. We were able to see who was taking care of the baby, when we would have some alone time, when we’d have a little adult fun together, and when we could do something special as a family.
WE STILL USE THE CALENDAR TO PROTECT OUR MARRIAGE
Our oldest son is almost 7-years-old, and we STILL use this calendar!
It helps us manage the busy schedule of a family of 5 and continue to prioritize our needs, our relationship, and our family.
Below are some tips for getting started with a joint marriage calendar. I promise this is a very simple marriage-saving tool that you will use again and again!
Remember that it may take a few weeks to get into the habit of using the calendar. That’s ok. Keep the conversation going and don’t give up!
HOW TO USE A JOINT MARRIAGE CALENDAR:
STEP 1: Identify Your Needs – Make a list of your needs and encourage your husband to do the same. For example, your needs may include – exercise 3x/week, manicure, lunch with friends, shopping, daily walks by yourself, time to read, time to focus on your hobby, one nap per week, etc. His needs may include golf, work happy hours, time at the gym, staying late at the office one night per week, etc.
STEP 2: Identify Your Preferred Calendar System – Pick the best calendar system for you and your husband. You can use Google Calendar, iPhone calendars, Outlook, a whiteboard, etc. It should be something that you are both comfortable utilizing.
STEP 3: Start the conversation – Pick a night during the week to discuss your schedules. We like to talk about the upcoming week on Sundays. Find a time to sit down together for about 20 minutes and begin plotting out events like work schedules, date nights, time with friends, golf exercise, family excursions, upcoming holidays, family events, and birthdays.
STEP 4: Add in Consistent Events – Plot out when you will accomplish regular tasks like going to the grocery store, Target, getting a pedicure, taking a family walk, etc.
STEP 5: Discuss childcare – Do not assume that the other parent will be taking care of the baby when you are away. Sometimes your spouse may be the parent staying home with the baby; other times, you may need to bring in a nanny, grandparent, friend, etc. Discuss childcare as you make your plan for the week so that no one is without the help they need.
STEP 6: Make this a Habit – Commit to meeting each week at the same time to build consistency. Remember that it can be hard to fit everyone’s needs into the week or seven days, so discuss the week and the month ahead to ensure that over 4-5 weeks, there is time for you and your husband to have self-care, couple time, and family time.
START PRACTICING TODAY!
Once you make this a habit, you will quickly realize that a joint calendar brings structure and consistency to your marriage and life as a new family, and helps reduce resentment.
The more you and your husband talk about your needs and make a plan to get them met, you will feel less overwhelmed, more satisfied, and happier and healthier in your relationship. A joint calendar truly is a simple marriage-saving tool!