The Mama Mantras: Hang On (to each other) For Dear Life

Hey sweet Mama! She.ology is all about the pursuit of Romance and Adventure this month, and so this week’s mantra is about life with your love, surrounded by littles:

Hang on for dear life.

I know, you were probably expecting something a little more magical.  And often, it is. Kids are delightful; our boys fill our lives brimful of whimsy, mystery, enchantment. But they also fill our lives with crumbs, rogue Legos, and mayhem. They generate laundry and steal sleep. They interrupt when my husband and I are in the middle of a fight discussion. They take up a lot of the time that Josiah and I used to devote solely to each other. And so, sometimes, romance with my husband looks like grit and a resolve to stay connected.

Despite errant toys and grimy floors, this is my dear, precious life with my dear, precious person. If we let the business of creating a life together disconnect us from each other, then we’ve missed the point. So here are four ways Josiah and I hang on to each other for dear life, finding the shimmer and sparkle when life-building feels exhausting, a little boring and kind of gross.

  1. Share your thoughts: Sometimes I feel like I don’t have the time to tell Josiah what I’m thinking – we’re busy mediating fights and making dinner. Sometimes I know he’ll disagree with my thoughts and sharing will start an argument neither of us has energy for. It can also feel a little unnecessary; surely after knowing each other for 13 years, there aren’t a lot of new things to say? Except that there are. We keep growing and changing – in order to maintain intimacy, we have to share what’s on our minds and hearts in our right-now life. Staying connected is worth the time, energy and even the argument.

  2. Laugh together: We laugh about the crazy stuff our kids do (sometimes when we’d rather cry or yell). We find something funny to watch together (The Good Place, anyone? Parks and Rec? The Office?). We laugh at each other. Laughter lights up our lives, creates a bond between us. Find something that brings a little comic relief into the big business of life-building.

  3. Magnify the little things: You can do big things when you have kids – that Hawaii vacation, the romantic weekend, the expensive candlelit dinner – but it’s a tad more challenging. In this season when the big things are fewer and farther between, we soak in the small stuff. It’s the winks and inside jokes. It’s a couple hours away from kiddos while we enjoy our favorite sandwiches. It’s when I give him a backrub or he calms our screaming preschooler at 3:00 am with Spiderman stories. These little things color our life loved and we choose to revel in them.

  4. Reminisce: We like to talk about when we first became friends, fell in love, got married, the mornings after our sons were born – sitting in a quiet hospital room with breakfast in front of us and a fresh newborn nearby. Those memories remind us of what our relationship is built on –who we are. They add sparkle and warmth when the present seems a little lackluster. It feels like adding a quick-flaming stick to a bed of coals – the heat is already there, but it’s fun to watch a flame leap up and brighten the night.

What things refresh you and your love when the work of life feels heavy? What draws you together when you start to drift apart? This is your dear, precious life with your dear, precious person, raising your cherished people. Hang on tightly to the romance and adventure of each other.

Whitney ParnellComment