Undivided Attention

Today, Heather offers Valentine's Day ideas for non-material ways to show your loved one that you care:

As Valentine’s Day approaches, I find myself fretting over finding the perfect gift for my husband. But I suspect if I asked him directly, he would simply ask for some undivided attention.

I’m embarrassed to admit that after working a full day, caring for our 4 children, then tackling household minutia, I struggle to even hold a conversation with my husband. Yet I know that I’m not alone in this; several of my mama pals have shared that they feel the same way. And I know I am lucky; my husband is thoughtful, hands-on with the kids, and he does his fair share of housework too. So this Valentine’s Day, I am renewing my commitment to our marriage; giving him – and us – the attention deserved. Here are some of my ideas:

1. Mama sitter swap

Three of my mama pals and I formed a 'Hubby Night' club after our first children were born. On week one, mama #1 would go to mama #2's house after the kids were in bed so mama/hubby #1 could get out for a few hours. On week two, mama #2 heads to mama #3's house, on week three mama #3 heads to mama #4's house, and on week four mama #4 heads to mama #1's house. This way we all got a date night with our hubby's every 4 weeks without the additional expense of a babysitter. And agreeing to each put our kids to bed before heading out both alleviated any of our own guilt about going out, and made the “sitting” easy for the mama on duty.

2. Lunch date

If distance isn't a factor, schedule a lunch date once a week.

3. Purchase season tickets

We always feel more committed to an event if we've already paid for the seats. Consider sharing season tickets with another couple to reduce the cost, and then share the babysitting if possible (as in mama sitter swap above).

4. After work rituals

Weather and daylight permitting, enjoy a family walk. Everyone benefits from the exercise and fresh air, and chatting while pushing the stroller(s) allows for reconnection at the end of the day.

5. Make every second count

Take advantage of time in the car, naps, walks, etc. and call or text your loved one to let him know you are thinking of him.

6. Plan a weekend away once or twice a year

Last minute vacation deals are fantastic if you can line up childcare on short notice.

7. Grandparent help

When your parents come to visit, leave the children in their care and run errands together.

8. Step away from the screen

Resist the urge to turn on the TV or computer right after the kids go to bed. Sit down for some quality time together. Even 15 minutes of undivided attention will go a long way.

9. Play games

Games are a simple way to have fun together. Break out the backgammon set, a deck of cards, or the Scrabble board. Monopoly is a family favorite of ours.

10. Say hello/goodbye

Make the time for a hello/goodbye kiss or hug. The chores can wait the five seconds it takes to show you care.


Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash