Many families can’t afford to have a stay-at-home parent anymore. And some that can afford it, choose not to. Certainly, the idea of being a stay-home-parent doesn’t appeal to everyone.
However, when both partners work full-time jobs it can become a challenge. A full schedule can mean less time together, more spare time devoted to household responsibilities, and more stress. All of these can take a toll on a marriage if they are not attended to.
1. Let Go of Things that Don’t Need to be Done
For people who are used to being overachievers, it can be especially hard to let go of doing everything. But, you don’t need to head the PTA, take a class, and volunteer all the while keeping your house as neat as a pin. Take stock of where your time goes and see what changes you can make to give yourself some more free time.
If you find that all your waking hours are overbooked, it’s going to take a toll on your marriage. You need to have plenty of time available to devote to your spouse and your relationship. Think of what you’ll gain by rearranging your schedule so that you can focus on your priorities.
Sometimes letting go of doing extra things can mean getting creative. For example, can you hire a neighborhood teen to do the yard work? Or can you enlist some other parents to take turns transporting the kids? Just saving yourself an hour or two here and there can really add up fast.
2. Establish a Budget
It’s important to have a budget and know where you’re hard earned dollars are going. Unfortunately, some people end up making work not really worth it financially because they don’t pay close attention to their budget.
For example, a stay-at-home mom decides to join the workforce. Now the family has to pay for daycare and the cost of gas for her to commute to work. Since she has less time to devote to packing a lunch, she orders in almost every day. The family now goes out to dinner more often as well and she shops more because she needs appropriate work clothes. She no longer has time to cut coupons so they spend more on groceries and she doesn’t look for bargains as much when she’s buying gifts for others. Pretty quickly, the family is lucky to break even on the extra money she’s earning.
If you’re both going to work, don’t let your hard earned money go to waste. Set some financial goals and establish a plan to help you meet those goals.
3. Create a Routine
Although some people fear having a routine because they think it sounds boring, adding some structure to your life can be helpful. And having a routine doesn’t mean you need to set in stone who does what at exactly what time. Instead, it might simply mean that you call your partner on the way home from work to talk about who is going to pick up the kids and who is going to fix dinner.
Establishing some sense of routine can help you stay on top of things that need to be done on a continuous basis- like the laundry. If you make the decision that you want Sundays to be a day free of work, make sure your laundry is caught up by Saturday. Or decide to pay your bills every Friday and run your errands on Saturday. Decide on a routine that will help you feel less frazzled.
4. Set Aside Time for Dates
Make sure to set aside time for special dates together. They don’t have to be expensive or extravagant. If all you can manage is to grab a quick lunch together once a week, take the opportunity. Go for a walk, pack a picnic, or stay home and rent a movie. The important part is that you set aside quality time to spend with each other. Make it a part of your schedule so that spending time working on your marriage becomes a priority.
Once a week dates are best but if you can make that happen, aim for once a month. Take turns planning dates together. And try to schedule a weekend away at least one time a year so you can get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and focus on your marriage. Spending quality time together can help reduce the stress of your day to day lives while giving you an opportunity to grow together as a couple.