Hello!

As a relationship coach and educator I often work with couples who say that their children are exhausting, and they have no energy left for each other. They would like to experience life beyond the constant juggle of a stressful job, children, finances and household duties. We can relate to these feelings and struggles – children do require a lot of time and energy. However, I choose not to use my children as an excuse to hold back on experiencing the things that I love and value, or give up on quality time with my partner.

So here are the 11 relationship tips that will allow you to increase your energy, invigorate your relationship with your partner,  and experience joy and happiness on a daily basis while raising happy children.

1 . How do you find energy?

Firstly, stop telling yourself that you don’t have any. Start living in this moment. Energy is a mindset. Are you surviving/functioning or enjoying life? We are the powerhouse. We generate enough energy for a thousand lifetimes. It is the stories we tell ourselves that drain our energy. The stories of not having enough, of comparison or of wanting something else. We think we want a different life instead of loving the life we have. Energy comes from clear thinking and living in this moment.

2. Fill up your own energy tank first

The oxygen mask on an airplane goes on you first before you can help another. We are useless to the ones who need us when we are depleted. It is not the children exhausting the parents; it is the parents not taking care of themselves. Create nights out, kids free time, daily moments of adult interaction, do what you enjoy even for short periods of time. Children are not exhausting, not fulfilling yourself as a human being is.

3. My partner is a priority

Actively cultivating love and gratitude in the relationship must take priority. Cultivating love in your marriage cultivates love in your family, cultivates love in your children, cultivates love in your community and in the world. Ask yourself what role model you want to give your children? Martyr parent who sacrificed their life for their children or a joyful, loving person who truly embraces life? What kind of marriage you want your children to have? A sexless and boring existence or a loving, passionate and supporting relationship? Be wise, lead by personal example, you are your children’s greatest teacher.

4. Stop blaming and judging yourself

You are a great parent! Observe your thoughts without judgement. Cultivate new positive intentions. Everything you do is driven by love and intention to care for your children. Be an outstanding parent not a perfect parent. Perfection is the worst standard of all because it can never be achieved. Every day remind yourself with love and passion “I love my kids, I love my partner, I love myself, I love my life, I do the best I can! I am awesome!”

5. Become more efficient with your time

Be mindful of activities that are most tiring. Write down answers to the following questions with your partner. What specifically do you find exhausting? Are the children exhausting every minute of every day? When are they less exhausting? What contributes to things being better? What patterns have you noticed that contribute to things being most exhausting (too much sugar, too many activities, not enough down/quiet time, getting each other too wound up, etc.). What could you change about their routines or rituals that would make things less exhausting?

6. Create a new vision for your day

Describe what a great day would look like with respect to your children and household? How would it be different from what you have now? How would a relaxing or fun day look? What would need to change to make that your reality? Examine your beliefs about what a “perfect house is” or “my children must be loaded with activities”. Find resources to create this day, reach our for help from your family, collaborate with friends, get a baby sitter, a cleaner, order healthy take away twice a week.

7. Define the new normal and accept it 

One of the ladies I know once said: ”I have 4 little kids. I haven’t slept a normal night sleep in 12 years. Once I realised that my normal changed I ran out of exhaustion into complete acceptance and gratitude for my new normal. Our bedroom life has benefited immensely”. What old beliefs that do not support your current life conditions you have being holding on to? What exciting, energising and fulfilling activities you gave up since you became a parent? What is your new normal?

8. Life is about balance

Just like in an organization, if there are conflicts at the management level, they trickle down to the employees and functioning of the organization.  Overly demanding children are often times a reflection for anxious state of the parents. Parent’s unhappiness makes children feel insecure thus they demand more time and care.  Parents are required to put even more effort to get the children back on track which makes the parents even more exhausted. This is a bad cycle parents should try to break. Balance and prioritize your relationship first because it is good for your children.

9. Consistency, consistency, consistency

Consistency and agreement with your partner in relation to children is more important than what you agree upon. Parents must act as a unified authority. Support your partner decision in front of the children even if you disagree as long as it doesn’t endanger children health or safety. Discuss the issue with you partner in private and agree on a solution together.

10. We waste energy when we try to juggle too many things at once

I learned to be completely present with my daughter for short periods. For example, when we go to the beach I don’t take my phone, I focus on enjoying our time together. I choose not to check my messages, emails, Facebook when we play together because it is her special time. She feels loved getting pure mummy time. Other times she can play on her own while I am making lunch or work.

11. Enjoy what you choose to do, don’t suffer doing what you have to do

Someone I know once said: “I used to be exhausted doing dishes…never mind the kids. Today I love doing dishes because I put a different meaning to “doing dishes”. I have time to be grateful and playful in my thoughts….my grandchildren ask “Grammie how can you have fun doing the dishes?” I tell them I have fun in “Anything” I do today because I chose to….

  • There’s some good advice in there but a couple of the points I think are a little bit unrealistic. I suffer from anaemia off and on and I can tell you that lack of energy is not a state of mind. I have a lot of drive in me that’s how I can still manage to give my all to my kids during the day, get the housework done and exercise. But when I get to the end I am often depleted and don’t have the energy for sex. Maybe if it didn’t have to be a long and drawn out affair I could spare a little energy. But by the time the kids are in bed, I’ve made lunches, exercised and showered I literally have about an hour to myself before it’s lights out and I really need to ensure that I get enough sleep or I can’t function. Having kids is always going to impact on your sex life. Before it may not have mattered so much on which day we had time for sex, now sex is better when reserved for the weekend when we have had time to rest from busy lives.

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  • Children are most definitely exhausting but they are worth it and it is important to take time out for ourselves so we can achieve a sense of calm.

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  • These are all great tips, but a work-in-progress. Always with the best intentions, but as long as we keep trying to be the best parents we can be.

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  • Great tips – some are easy to practise – others a lot harder. Will keep striving.

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  • Important point indeed !

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  • Some great points, have to remember to keep a few of these in mind.

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  • Great advice and interesting read. Will try to take this on board.

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  • A very helpful and informative article. Thanks.

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  • This is great thank you

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  • Such wonderful and useful tips! Will be sure to bookmark this article!

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  • wow what a wonderful way to look at life i will try to keep this in mind and use it in my own life.

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  • It’s always important to remember that the grown-up relationship came first. It often gets neglected once children come along but we try to make time for ourselves together as a couple. I also remind my son that it’s not all about him and that Mum & Dad were together first … in the nicest way possible, that is.

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  • Great article with so many valid points to consider and useful/helpful tips!

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  • It is the small things that count with your partner and children. Even an embrace, I listening, sharing a grass of wine at the end of the day. With children, watching spend a good half an hour – at least – of quality time every day. You won’t remember that email in 2 years but your child will remember the time you spent together.

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  • I would like to be my children’s friend.

    Reply

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