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For Your Marriage

Meet Sara and Justin. They married in June 2011, they welcomed their first child in August 2012.


Sara: The other day, Justin went to the cupboard and got frustrated when the chocolate stash was almost gone. “You’ve been eating it without me, haven’t you?” he questioned.

I had already been up for an hour with Gus, not to count the hour I sat up in the chair with Gus in the middle of the night since he is teething (which had been occurring on a nightly basis for almost a week). I, of course, got upset that Justin was upset that I ate a bit of chocolate. A bag of chocolate over the course of a week is a small price to pay for sanity!

After Justin went to work, I reflected on why his reaction upset me so much (not counting the fact I was running on a lot less sleep than I, in fact, needed).

As a mom, there’s nothing that’s just MINE. I share everything – food, playtime, grocery runs and even bathroom time. Since Gus is my constant shadow, I’m never alone. Most of the time, I’m happy with this arrangement as Justin and Gus are two of my favorite people to hang out and share with. However, it’s also important to have balance in prioritizing our families and ourselves.

My girlfriends and I talk about this a lot. How do we balance taking care of our families and taking care of ourselves? One mom said that she knew a mom that simply had every Saturday to herself. She’d leave first thing in the morning and her husband would take care of the house and the kids. She wouldn’t come back until she felt like it. In our household, that’s simply not realistic, nor do I want that kind of personal time. Typically, I find that after about an hour away from Gus, I’m already missing him.

Instead, my girlfriend says she finds moments in the day that are simply hers. She also tries to save some small things (like candy) just for her so she can have some short moments of “her” time throughout the day. So I’ve been trying to do the same thing. In the mornings, I’ll drink my soda and enjoy five minutes of “me” time before I begin my busy day. I’ll have a piece of chocolate in the afternoon (sometimes when Gus is driving me crazy) to take five minutes and give me some perspective. Other days, I’ll try to find a half hour while Gus is down for a nap to read a book just for fun.

After Justin got home from work, I explained this to him. I told him the reason I got so upset with him when he was frustrated with the missing chocolate was because I feel I ought to be putting the rest of my family first. I sometimes feel guilty for taking time (or chocolate) simply for myself. I feel the need to constantly sacrifice everything for my family. However, this always manages to crash and burn because eventually I get short tempered and frustrated with both Justin and Gus when all I do is give and never take for myself. This makes everyone miserable!

Of course, to Justin, the chocolate was simply chocolate. He had been saving it for us to enjoy together because I had made a comment about what a treat this chocolate would be for us when I brought it home.

After we laughed together, we agreed it’s important for me to have some “me” time and things, even if it is chocolate. However, I do need to communicate with him that’s why the chocolate is diminishing!