I knew having a baby would mean sleepless nights, continually wiping poopy butts, a draining of our bank account and always having a cartoon theme song stuck in my head. And I understood that a baby might put a damper on the sex life or limit our nights out as a couple, I was prepared for these things. What has taken me by surprise was how easy and quick it was for marriage to dive head first into the roommate zone.
The Roommate Zone
You know what I’m talking about here – roommates cordially ask how your day was. Roommates divvy up the critical housekeeping tasks or childcare duties. Roommates sit and watch tv together. Roommates even will plan to go out together if schedules align.
You like your roommate, you don’t want to bunk up with anyone else, but they aren’t partners, they don’t make you smile when you think about them, don’t get excited when they get home and they certainly don’t get you all hot and bothered.
I think it is pretty normal and easy to float in and out of this roommate zone with your significant other when you have kids. Whether you have one or ten, they are brand new or asking for the car keys, the daily grind makes marriage tough!
We are all things…
We are moms, we are employees, we can be maids and cooks, we are taxis, we are event planners, we are the calendar reminders and finders of socks. We are SO SO many things all day long, adding wife to the list is pushing the limits of exhaustion. Not to mention the time, right!? From sun up to sun down the kids don’t stop, and if they still take naps or go to school or daycare, our days are filled with tasks and to dos. When we sit down at the end of the day to connect with our spouses, there are 10 other things we could be doing and feel like we should be doing!
And amongst all of this, I can find myself seeing all that I’m doing, all that is on my plate and complaining about what my husband isn’t doing to help me or what else he should be doing or maybe that he’s doing it wrong.
We’re not going to be feeling it all the time, marriage is tough on its own, without adding kids to the mix. But the complaints and the criticism that are what keep us trapped in that roommate zone and make it even harder to grab that spark back because it keeps breaking us down.
So here’s that one thing…
Appreciation. Every day, recognize just ONE thing that your significant other has done. Thank them for taking out the garbage, recognize that they put away the dishes, appreciate that they get the kids dressed. There is always something to appreciate or to recognize – even if it is just that they listened to you talk about your day or they paused the show when you had to pee or just muted the tv when the baby was screaming so you could hear it! Appreciate them as parents, appreciate them for bringing home the paycheck or for staying home with the kids.
Find one thing today to feel grateful for that they did. And then something funny starts to happen, you start to see more things that were helpful or needed. There is a snowball effect and you see more and more…then appreciation turns into admiration and gratitude and joy. Go a step further and TELL them thank you or I appreciate that.
The roommate zone is inevitable with our crazy lives, but it doesn’t need to be a constant state, it’s meant to be a dip so that the re-connection is that much sweeter. Start that today with just one “thank you.”