Ryan Talks: Making Time For The Parents A Priority
That’s right, ladies. After battling with myself for a long time over how to find a balance between respecting Ryan’s privacy (he’s not a big social media person) and allowing myself to be creative on my blog and Instagram, not only did we compromise — which is how Healthy Wifestyle was born — but Ryan is now open to sharing his own wisdom on the blog with you!
If you know Ryan, you would totally understand what I’m about to say: if he wasn’t in real estate, homeboy would 1000% be the next Tony Robbins.
He knows people and understands situations like no one I’ve ever met. He may not be a motivational speaker, but he could be if he wanted. Not only is he my husband, partner, lover, and best friend, but more often than not (and for better or worse!), he ends up being my therapist as well.
We are very fortunate to have a marriage where no things are left unsaid. If we have an issue, we share about it. Ryan sometimes holds things in because he’s very empathetic and knows I’m dealing with a lot lately, but mostly, we’re always out in the open with our feelings.
I told him I wanted to write about this topic and asked for his wisdom because this is something he personally has stressed as important from before Lacey was even born. That said, it still took Ryan and I 10 or so months to really get into a groove with finding time for each other and ourselves, all while making family time with Lacey our first priority.
The days are long, but the years are short. Now having a 14-month old, I completely agree with this sentiment. It goes fast, even though there are days when you’re starring at the clock counting down the hours until bedtime 😂#youknowyouvebeenthere
It’s easy to get wrapped up in doing everything you can for your child while putting your own health and happiness aside. I did this for most of Lacey’s first year of life, and while she was happy and thriving, I was not. I thought I was doing my best, and doing all that I knew how to do at the time.
Through therapy and encouragement from Ryan, I decided to start doing more to benefit my own well-being and our marriage.
I went back to my roots, making an effort to do the things that I loved to do, full well knowing it would take more time away from Lacey. My biggest lesson here: more time away from her does NOT make me a less-than mom. It makes me a BETTER mom because I’m choosing myself at times, which in turn, will only make Lacey and I both happier.
And although some changes were big, most were minor. Things like:
Scheduling in yoga at least once per week, either at a studio or during Lacey’s nap
Hiring a personal trainer after months of missing class workouts because the times weren’t working
Scheduling an extra 30-60 minutes in the morning for self-care before Lacey gets up (I’ll be talking about The Miracle Morning in an upcoming blog!)
Signing up for a 10K, since running is my favorite way to release and I want to accomplish a race before we start trying for baby #2 (If you’re local, join me for this race!)
Meal prepping ahead of time and asking our nanny to go food shopping with Lacey more, which gets her out of the house and takes something off of my list so I can focus on work and/or self-care
Planning a few nights in NYC for Ryan and I to reconnect and have some fun
Planning a couples trip to the Bahamas
Hiring a new date night sitter who comes 2-3 weeknights per month
And so on.
Doing all of this led to a more scheduled life, but a happier life. On weeknights, we decided to carve out one night per week where we would each do our own thing. Every Tuesday, Ryan has his paddle match. (If you don’t know what paddle is, you don’t need do. It’s basically a sport New Englanders invented to eat up time during our coldest season). Every Wednesday evening, I do yoga or plan a girls night out depending on the week. Or, we take that night to go out to dinner together.
On weekends, we split the mornings so we can each have a little solo time. Saturdays, Ryan takes Lacey to swim class while I do yoga or run. Sundays, either we both take Lacey to music class or I go with her and Ryan plays basketball. It’s only two hours apart each day, but those two hours of doing something for ourselves has already made us feel so much better in a short amount of time.
Something I mentioned in my list that we’ve been doing pretty regularly every week: date nights. We learned rather quickly that going out two nights in a row on a weekend was too much for us (I know, kinda lame, but when you have a human alarm clock at 7-7:30am after a few drinks and an 11pm+ bedtime, you definitely feel it the next day!). So, we either go out for a date night on a weekday or do them at home. If we’re home, I make dinner or we order out, and we eat in our dining room with the fireplace on and a glass of wine. Eating in a different room with a different ambiance makes all the difference!
Here’s Ryan’s tidbits for making time for new parents a priority:
1. He loves to use the airplane analogy in every circumstance, this one included. Even with a new baby/toddler, and even though it may feel selfish in the beginning, you need to put your oxygen mask on first and make time for yourself and your marriage, at least once the baby becomes more independent. For us, this really started to take effect once Lacey turned 10 months.
2. Show affection as often as possible. Sometimes, it can feel like the last thing you want to do, and I totally get that (my therapist uses the term “touched out” because for mommies, we literally have a human attached to us all day and by the end, we want a break). Consciously make sure that you’re not drifting apart. Affection doesn’t always have to mean sex, but it can be as simple as holding hands while you watch Netflix.
I’d love to hear from you mamas: how do you manage your time together as a family with making sure you get some solo time? Do you feel that you make yourself a priority? What about within your relationship? Every family is different, and I’d love to learn more about your experience below.