Math. Yuck. But that’s how long my husband has been working from home full-time and how far his desk is from mine in our home office with his fancy title I can never remember (he’s a tech genius who makes magic happen – and if I understood half of what he says I’d be able to explain it to you, but I can barely get past the turning on of my computer without feeling overwhelmed and lost).
A few more numbers – 16 and 12 and 4. That’s the number of years we’ve been together, the number of years we’ve been married, and the number of kids we have. I’ve been working from home since our oldest daughter was born almost 9 years ago, but he’s still a newbie.
Aside from the myriad of “Oh, I could totally do that, too!” and “I’d never get anything done if I worked from home,” or “I’d take a long lunch every single day and cut out at noon after sleeping in until 9 every morning,” comments we get from people who don’t quite understand the complexities of working from home (and for me, running my own successful media business), the most common question we’re asked is “You must be so sick of one another.”
Truthfully – nope.
It’s hard to get sick of someone you spend zero time with throughout the day. I mean, my husband is great about refilling my coffee cup when it’s empty, and I always ask him if he needs anything when I go into the kitchen, but that’s all. We have BUSY jobs and schedules, and it leaves very little time to speak to one another throughout the day – let alone grow tired of one another.
Surprisingly, we spoke more throughout the day when he worked 45 minutes from home. At least then we text one another throughout the day. Now we just make eye contact every few hours, blow kisses, and try to pick one day during the week we can spare an hour to run out to get lunch together. I think we spend less time together now than we did before he worked from home.
So, no, we aren’t tired of one another. Believe it or not, our jobs require our undivided attention throughout the day. We both work hard. We’re both workaholics, and we both understand our success is directly related to our dedication to work. If we don’t work, we don’t get paid. If we don’t get paid, we don’t get to have this super cool life we have right now.
When we finish with work, the kids are home and it’s time to focus on them. I mean, we don’t even have a choice. With four kids, two who are involved in sports and other activities, and all their school stuff, they get all of us when they are home. That’s why we make it a set-in-stone plan to escape without them every other month for a night or two.
And yes, I do mean escape. I mean run away for two or three days without hesitation. Call it a weekend getaway or mini-vacation if you will, but I call it an escape plan – and it’s my favorite. It’s the one thing we make sure we never miss in our marriage. Even if it’s just one night away – though we prefer to do two – we know our marriage needs that. If we don’t put one another first as often as possible, we can’t care for our family or ourselves.
Divorce is so common these days – and we don’t want that for ourselves. I can’t even imagine life without my husband. He’s my person. My best friend – and yes, I firmly believe your spouse should be your best friend – and my partner in crime. He’s my favorite person to spend time with, the person who makes me laugh the most, and the person I have the best time with no matter what we are doing. I’d rather be with him than anyone else – and I love our time away. We don’t want to be another statistic, and we just like to spend our time together focusing on our marriage.
Is our marriage perfect? HA! Excuse me while I laugh out loud. Far from it, my friends. We have our ups, our downs, and our arguments, but I won’t pretend we aren’t happy. We are very happy. For one, my husband is the most laid-back person you’ll ever meet, which means conflict is rare around here even with my fiery temper. And we also learned a long time ago when we lost two babies that the things we once viewed as upsetting, stressful, or awful just weren’t. We grew through that – together – and learned how to overlook the silly and meaningless little things in life to really appreciate what is good in our lives.
What’s good in our lives is our families who are always willing to take our kids for us for a few days so we can get away, recharge, and focus on us. It’s good for us – and it’s good for all marriages. Time away is crucial. It helps us remember why we are together, why we are doing this life with one another, and it lets us focus only on one another. Each time we get away without our kids, we come home renewed and refocused, and we come home remembering some very important things that make our marriage better.
We Remember We Are So Much More Than Just Parents
Our kids are the most important. We love them with every breath we take. We love them with every ounce of our being – and we love that they are ours. But…there are four of them, two of us, and half of them are toddler twins. So they kind of kill us a little every day. At the very least, they exhaust us and we need a break. It’s nice to spend time away when we can sleep in, stay out late (like 9 pm!) and just be adults. We can go into any store we want and shop, and the only person I need to worry about breaking things is my husband! It’s nice to remember who we are outside of just being mommy and daddy (repeatedly).
We Feel Refreshed
Kids are hard work, you guys. Like…hard work. We need time away from them to feel refreshed again. We enjoy being able to shower when we want, go out to eat without picking up anyone’s food off the floor, and even if we are busy nonstop throughout our trip, being a busy adult is nothing like being a busy parent.
We Are Reminded We Really Like One Another – A Lot
I don’t know how you feel about your spouse, but I really like my husband a lot. I love him, of course, but I also really just like him. I like that he’s kind and considerate. I like that he always goes with what I want for dessert. I like that he always waits for me to choose the bottle of wine we order with dinner without question. I like that he opens my doors, and that he calls me beautiful. I just like that he makes me laugh, and that he is so sweet. I like him. I love him, always, but it’s always fun to remember just how much I like him.
We Remember We Have So Much Fun
When you have four kids, life isn’t always fun. It’s a lot of interrupted conversations, dirty messes, bottoms to wipe, meals to make, bedtime stories to read, boo-boos to kiss, places to go, things to do. Not that it’s not fun to be a parent, but it’s not always the most fun ever. Sometimes it sucks. Being away from all that household, parenting, day-to-day stuff reminds us just how much fun we have together.
For whatever reason, when we are alone together out of town or even just on a date, we laugh so much. Everything is funny. We giggle. We laugh. We have the best time. It’s like we are the only two people in the world, and time just gets away from us. Before we know it, we’re two bottles of wine into our meal and we’ve been at our table for hours just enjoying. If that’s not something amazing, what is?
We Remember Why Marriage is So Good
We work hard to make sure we get a night or two away every other month or so, and there is one thing we’ve noticed about our time away. Someone always asks us if we are on our honeymoon. Always. It never fails. At least one waiter, stranger, hotel clerk, limo driver, bartender, shop employee, barista, whatever – someone always, always, always says, “You must be on your honeymoon! I can tell by how happy you are!” We love nothing more than hearing that after 16 years we still look like we are on our honeymoon.
I mean, isn’t that what marriage is? A nice, lifelong honeymoon in which we get to spend our lives together and make the most of every moment? We have fun. I’m always so reflective after we come home from a weekend away. Happy to be home, but sad to be home at the same time. I like our time alone, but we miss our kids. And then we get home and we’re like five minutes into being reunited with the kids before they start bickering, fighting, and crying and we wish we had another few days away.
I don’t want my marriage to turn into one of those where we just live in the same house, spend no time together, or spend more time with other people than ourselves. I see so much of that on social media and in other marriages, and it makes me feel sad for couples who’ve lost their coupledom. If you’re not spending time away – and I know it’s not always feasible to do a weekend away every other month – try planning a little getaway every so often, or send the kids on a sleepover with their grandparents once a month so you can have your home to yourselves, or just try more frequent date nights. I promise you it makes your marriage so much stronger, so much more enjoyable, and so much more fun.