Lets face it, this is just a difficult time to keep the romance alive. You just had a baby, you are still feeling bloated, and your bodies trying to adapt to the hormones and everything post pregnancy whether you are breastfeeding or recovering from a c-section. But all reasons aside we can’t just abandon this aspect of our marriage completely. If anything this is such an important time for you and your spouse as he may be feeling more neglected with the new baby in the house. The truth is if you are not looking after yourself and your marriage first, this will reflect in your parenting. So in order to be a better mother be a better wife first. ( p.s this photo was taken literally a day after we had our 2nd baby at the hospital! first official date night after baby and she was in the nursery just down the hall hahaha)
- Try and have the baby sleep in their own crib or bassinet. This is hard at first especially if you are nursing and fall asleep during it (like me) But if you prefer to co-sleep use one of those attachments to your bed so that you and your spouse still have your own space.
2. Self Care! This is something I always neglect but have come to see the importance in lately. Even just waking up earlier to have a nice shower, even putting on makeup and doing your hair can do wonders for you. For me I just enjoy going for a walk in the morning. It is so easy to get caught up in the drab of being in your p.js all day long. At least dressing up will make you look more cuddly even if you don’t really feel like it.
3. Communicate with your spouse. Help him understand that time together will be less but when you do get time together ensure that it is QUALITY TIME! Talk and plan what things you can do as soon as you get that time alone.
4. Set specific Date nights. Right now we can’t really leave our little one with anyone so we always set at least 10mins aside each day to talk with each other. It really has become my favorite part of the day, even though I get sick of his work stories I just enjoy where our conversations end up. While the kids are asleep pop out the ice cream or the goodies and have a date night in the kitchen or on the deck outside. Creativity is KEY!!
Would love to know your ideas and thoughts. Email me or message me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Find Problems or things that can be improved in the family. Identify the Goal
- Ensure everybody is on board with the Goal or has a say in the Goal
- Steps to achieving it & Identify obstacles that may prevent from achieving it
- Date to accomplish this goal by. Or if it’s an ongoing goal how often you will revisit it.
Goals for Mummy and Daddy
- Date Night Monthly
- Temple Night Monthly
- Quarterly Night Away
- Weekly planning session
Goals for the Little Kids
- Make Bed before breakfast
- Pick up toys before dinner
Goals for Mummy and Daddy and Kids
- Dinner or Breakfast Together 3times a Week
- Morning and Evening Prayers and Scripture Reading
- Pick up the house before Bedtime
- No Electronics between 6-9pm
- Family Vacation 2times a year
(photography by Conner and Tracy at the Grand Turks Island 2016)
We love going on family trips therefore we always need to factor in family vacations into our budget. We love going from the simple overnight camping trips, to staying at a bed and breakfast to going half-way across the world to visit my family in New Zealand.
My husband and I live a pretty simple life with one car, one phone and occasionally go out for a pizza or thai food once a week. We also live on a pretty tight budget since he is the only provider right now therefore we may have to scrimp at times but we never lack. We also have pretty strict rules on debt and the only debt we have is that of our house. We will never do trips or purchase anything if they put us in any financial burden. We maintain a good emergency fund of 6 months and find other ways to invest the rest. (So let’s say we scrimp on daily spending so we can enjoy more fun family vacations.) So there’s some background for you. Today I thought of sharing some ways that we budget for our family trips.
- Get a Vacation Calendar – This isn’t always the easiest when sometimes we end up going with other family members. But at least getting out a yearly calendar and slotting in the times when you want to go on vacation especially the big ones that you know for sure. Seeing the different times you want to go and where you want to go will help you allocate a budget to each vacation
- Budget – Now you know how many times you are going out of town and roughly estimate how much you will be spending at each place. Once you know how much you are spending at each place divide that by weekly or bi-weekly however you get paid to know how much you have to put aside each week for the trips.
- Get Creative – I am a firm believer if you don’t have the money for it and you want it then go out there and get the money for it. Life’s too short to go without! (to a certain degree) If the vacation is out of your budget then don’t just end it there, get creative!!! If this is something you really want you will make the money for it. Whether you pick up extra hours doing something on the weekend, sell extra things out of your house or start up a new craft to sell.
- Research – So for me I can go pretty extreme. I don’t care about where we stay…Just as long as I am there I will hitchhike to get around or sleep in my car if necessary . (it’s all part of the fun adventure for me) But do your research into all the free activities and all the discounted places you can find to eat, sleep and activities to do while there. The more research the better idea you have and how much money you will need to allocate to this place. Many times they will charge you for having a tour but if you walked around yourself it would be free. Some people enjoy living luxuriously and that’s great every now and then but if I can save enough for another trip I am down for that!!
- Scale – If big trips are just out of your budget just opt for smaller trips around your hometown or a few cities or state away! These vacations are just as fun, they don’t need to be elaborate or fancy. The most important thing about vacations is dedicating extra time to be with the people you love the most and strengthening those bonds.
Vacations and Holidays are times for us to build family memories and to bond on a closer level. Therefore we value this time together as something extra. Yeah the photos are fun and posting it on social media has it perks but it’s no fun if you are going to be in debt for it. So be smart!
If you have any questions or comments feel free to message me at email@example.com. I would love to talk to you about strengthening your marriage and family and creating a vision for your family that you have dreamed of and making it a reality.
Some of these topics may be hard to bring up especially during dating. But create an environment where you can discuss this openly and honestly. The more open and honest you are with these topics before marriage or serious courtship the less headache and heartache it will be down the road. Keep in mind that this is not the end all be all, opinions and views can change over years of being together.
Childhood Upbringing/Previous Relationships
How did your parents handle arguments? How did you communicate with your parents? How long before issues were solved in your home? What would you do different? What did you love about your upbringing? What were some difficulties in your previous relationships? Whether you realize it or not your upbringing has a massive part to play in how your relationship will unravel. Talking about what your families did and what you liked and didn’t like will help you and your partner know why you do the things you do and what things you want to change. Previous relationships also play a part if you came from a emotionally abusive relationship you may bring these emotions to your current relationship which may hinder your progress together. Talk and discuss ways you can start fresh with each other and not let the past affect what the bright future is able to hold for you both.
Faith and Core Value Beliefs
What church or congregation you want you family to go to? What values you want to instill in your children? What traditions you will be bringing into the home? What morals you wish your children to learn? Are you okay with your spouse having a different faith to you? With different cultures talk about the differences in beliefs and ways of thinking. Find a good mix between the two but don’t feel like all has to be set in stone right now.
Previous or Current Addictions
Have you viewed pornography? How often? To what extent? Have you been addicted to any drugs or alcohol or any form of medications? Knowing this may be able to help you understand your spouse a little better. If they seem to be going back down that track you have already discussed it previously and your partner may be able to help and give support during these times.
Do you have debt? How much debt do you have? How much are you willing to spend on a car? or shoes? How well do you save? Are we going to have a split or separate bank account? Talking about your finances in the beginning can save a lot of assumptions and headache down the line. Be open about where you are at financially so you can be there for each other and keep each other accountable as you both set goals together.
Autonomy & Boundaries
Do you like your independance? Do you enjoy doing hobbies alone or together? How often do you want to do your own thing? How often do you want to do things with your friends? Do you want a shared FB account? Do we share passwords for all email and social media accounts? Do we have a date night once a week? Do we go to our in laws one every other week?
Do you see yourself having children? What if we can’t have children? Are you wanting or open to adoption? Who will be the stay home parent? Will you both be working? What kind of day care or education do you want your children to have? Will you be paying for college tuition? Children are a massive part of marriage and family life so let’s iron out some of the bigger topics.
Where are you living? What are you doing? Where do you see yourself? How do you vacation? What kind of home are you living in? What are things you want to accomplish? What things can you not live without? What things are you willing to compromise on? What things can you not stand in your current life?
Discuss these topics on a date night? Go through one each day take it slow and go into as much detail as you like. This exercise may take several weeks but as you do enjoy learning about each other and your views on life marriage and family.
Growing up I never noticed that I had insecurities I had always thought of myself as a pretty confident person. I performed in front of hundreds of people, I wore what I wanted, I danced like nobody’s business and could sing down the aisle of a grocery store and not care about anybody around me. I didn’t start connecting any dots until I started noticing my marriage going downhill very early in our relationship. I was jealous, suspicious, afraid, self-conscious, controlling, and paranoid to say the least. It was driving both my husband and I crazy that I was feeling this way, when I knew I had no logical reasoning to feel this way. I had to figure this out and this is when I decided to get outside help. I turned to reading lots self-help books, articles, and listening to marriage podcasts to try and figure out what was wrong with my husband. Eventually came to realize it was me who had to change. It was me who was still carrying deep emotional baggage from past experiences.
We all have insecurities within us to some degree or another and it’s okay to admit them. We have this wonderful thing called imagination that can help us create beautiful amazing things. Or it can take us the opposite direction of fear, anxiety of imagined situations that take control of our mind and body. Fear, doubt and anxiety can creep into our marriage anytime, whether it is because of past experiences that have caused deep wounds, expectations of ourselves and others or some recent rejection or failure. I have collected a few ideas to help those out there who may have been struggling like I did.
- Recognize and Identify your Insecurities and understand WHY you feel that way? Go deep!
- Tell the difference between imagination and reality. (If you don’t trust your husband is it because he’s something he has done or is it because past experiences you think may repeat again?) Write down all the reasons why that imagined situation is not true.
- Avoid things that increase your insecurities: E.g. social media, unfollow friends that don’t help you boost your self-confidence or avoid movies or tv shows that decrease feeling of self-worth of yourself or your relationship
- Create a New Story: Tell yourself new stories and live them. Use affirmations, declarations or reframes to help you paint a new picture or yourself and your marriage.
- Talk to your spouse/partner about it. Be open with it and let him know what you are struggling with so he can be your support on this journey. When my husband understood my trust issues where because of experiences in my childhood he was very understanding and realized he wasn’t the problem.
This really isn’t an overnight process. It is something that I have to continuously work on. It can last from a few weeks to months even up to a year to work through these beliefs. It will take continuous effort but I know you can do it! The results are freeing and immeasurable! I promise as you continue to work on releasing and understanding your insecurities you will see greater happiness, freedom and joy in your life. Self reflecting really is the first step to improving one’s marriage and relationships.
If you have further questions I would love to talk to you. Leave your questions below or contact me with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You are amazing! You are worthy! You are Beautiful! xo Tracy
Bio: Stacey Ahokava is 24 years of age and has been married for 6 months and 5 days. They currently have no children yet. She is of Samoan descent and her husband is of Tongan descent. She is currently working full-time supporting her husband as he is in his final year of Engineering. She loves spending time with family and loves her tongan food especially Otai! We are privileged to hear some of her experiences and thoughts in the first 6 months of their marriage.
1. What was your biggest fear before marriage?
My biggest fear was not knowing what to expect after marriage. I was a little hesitant when my husband even brought the idea up haha. He played a song at the pier and slow danced with me asking what I thought about marriage and I asked why? Why so soon? Why not wait? I took a leap of faith going into this. I was excited but in saying that I was so scared. My parents have separated and I often felt inadequate but with a lot of support from my family and especially my husband, I was able to get sealed in the temple for all time and eternity.
2. What has been the biggest adjustment for you being married?
The biggest adjustment would have to be the time spent together. Before marriage, I would spend most of my time with my little cousins who I treat as my own and I don’t think they’ve adjusted well lol. I was always with my family. My family are my everything! When my husband came along they (my little cousins) weren’t too happy and did not welcome him with open arms hahaha. Living together was weird at first but I love having someone to talk/cry/laugh to every night before I go to sleep. Having someone to hold hands, kneel and say prayers with. Having someone to go on dates with. Having someone to sit next to at church. Having someone I can call mine haha It’s not about me anymore and what I want, it’s about us and what’s best for us.
3. What was the best advice someone gave to for marriage?
The best advice I’ve been given would have to be what I often hear at Church and that is to always look at the eternal perspective. After I got baptised less than two years ago, I started going to Institute. My husband (boyfriend at the time) was teaching the Book of Mormon Class so I went on my own to the Eternal Marriage class (bear in mind we were just dating at the time, not sure why I went to that class. I must’ve been following the spirit haha). They taught about man’s view in comparison to God’s view. I’ll never forget that lesson. Not because I was paying real close attention due to the no friends I had in that class haha, but because I understood. For so long, I was living in “man’s view” and I had progressed very little, if any. Seeing that made me appreciate all the trials I went through. And that the choices I made from that day on, will affect me and the progress I make each and every day. “Line upon line. Here a little, and there a little.” Some days are tougher than others, but I’m happy that my husband and I have both gained that eternal perspective to help us make better decisions not only for this life, but into eternity.
4. What has been the most enjoyable part of marriage?
My favourite part of marriage is knowing that I am sealed to my eternal companion for all time and eternity! Even if he leaves me in this life, he’s still stuck with me haha. Nah but seriously, he is one of my greatest blessings. Having him around is always fun. He easily knows how to get out of the doghouse and he’s always making me laugh and is pushing me out of my comfort zone. He knows I like to stay in the “safe zone” and I love that he sees my potential and pushes me to be a better person than I was yesterday (I don’t love it at the time though haha). As I said before, I’m a convert to the LDS faith. I’ve been a member going onto two years now. & my husband converted when he was young. I was a Catholic and he a Methodist. I’m still learning about the Gospel as I’m sure he is too. Especially as we plan to extend our little family soon maybe next year or the year after lol. Every day I wake up thankful to have an amazing husband, to have a priesthood holder in my home and to be with my best friend every day. That’s the most enjoyable part.
5. What have you done to get through your tough times in marriage?
My husband and my mother in-law have both told me this. It’s one thing I didn’t quite understand or accept but learnt to do so over time. My wonderful mother in-law also shared this recently in Relief Society. When I was first introduced to my in-laws, I was scared. After much praying haha, I eventually met them and I was on my best behaviour. Like never before haha. After meeting me my husband asked my mother in-law what she thought about me, and she said she looked at me as a daughter of our Heavenly Father. Now at the time when I first heard this I was confused. Until I later understood the blessings of this statement. Quite often I’m singing “I Am a Child of God” but did I believe it? Probably not. Ask me again if I do now, I do! I have learnt to understand that not only am I one, but everyone else is too. We are all His children and He loves each and every one of us. My worth and understanding of the love my Saviour has for me have helped immensely when getting through the tough times in marriage. My husband and I have gone through a lot of trials in just the last six months of marriage and I’m grateful for this knowledge because it calms me hahaha. It helps me. I’m always asking myself “would my Father approve of my choices? Would he be proud of me?” My ultimate goal is to return to him, with my family. I know the trials I’ll face won’t get easier, but because I have a testimony of the Gospel, I know these will all be worth it. After all, I am a Child of God and He has sent me here. :):):)
Do I consciously make an effort to teach my child something each day? Do I know what I am teaching my child today? Most people are not aware that whether they are trying to or not they are always teaching your children. So instead of teaching your children unconsciously and unknowingly you may want to help yourself by being conscious about the messages you are sending to your children.
Unknowingly my parents taught me that I can lie on certain occasion, when they told me to tell them that my parent’s weren’t home or to tell the movie clerk I was 5 instead of 8. Unknowingly my parents taught me to be creative with things around the house when the didn’t buy fancy toys and gadgets to keep me busy. How effective could my parents teachings have been if they were conscious about the actions they did. How much of a better influence could they have been if they knew what they were teaching me. This is why I feel that we all increase our consciousness in all that we do.
So how can you be intentional and conscious mothers? Here are some ways I have used to be an intentional mother you may even doing this without realising which is great! Keep in mind this is just a guideline you also need to feel what is right for your family and how to apply it into your circumstances.
- Understand your own personal core values and have a vision of what you want your children to become. (without trying to live your dreams through your children) Understanding your children’s unique talents and gifts and helping enhance those and develop those which they struggle with.
- Know what you want to teach your children. (Empathy, Kindness, Forgiveness, Sharing etc Prayer)
- Throughout the day create situations which will provide your children an opportunity to use and develop that attribute. Create them intentionally so you are aware and prepared to help your children in those situations.
- Focus on a attribute or topic for at least a week. Giving a decent amount of time for you to be able to see the fruits of your labor. Repetition is the key to developing a new skill or attribute so be patient and Don’t expect results overnight.
Here is an example of what I do with my child to practice conscious parenting. Your methods will be different because your values and things you want to teach your child will be different from mine. Being aware of what you want your child to learn will help you implement different activities you want them to do each day. They will be a little tricky to get use to at first but the more you do it the more natural it becomes for both of you.
My daughter is 14 months. Core things I want her for her to learn:
- Creativity – I let her watch a show every other day so she has little to no screen time. I give her time to explore outside on her own and find things to play with.
- Positive Self Image – I have affirmations in her bedroom that I read with her every morning. I wrote them on her mirror so she loves looking at herself and doing actions with them.
- Faith – I pray with my daughter before getting her out of her crib each morning and before she sleeps. We also pray before we eat and although she doesn’t know why we do this we do this to form a habit and as she gets older will start to understand why we do it.
- Independance – I allow her to sit at the adults table and when she is done to put her dishes in the sink.
- Manners – I emphasize please and thank you if ever she wants something.
- Calming Techniques – We practice taking two deep breaths whenever she is throwing a tantrum. Just give her some time (ignore) her until she is ready to talk to us.
- Alphabet Recognition – each time we pass the alphabet on the fridge we say and sing ABC.
What do you consciously teach your child? What are some things you teach your child? How do find the balance between always teaching and having a break? Share and comment below would love to hear your thoughts!
What the heck is “Living Intentionally”?
This is an extremely broad area of conversation that can encompass many different lifestyles and situations. But for the sake of my blog and what I will be sharing, to me living intentionally essentially means living your beliefs to direct your life that you want and dream of, and by living those beliefs you are not aimlessly just going with the flow. You essentially have more control of what comes in and out of your life. It really is living your truth!
Living Intentionally reminds me of the scripture:
2nd Nephi 2:26 And because that they are redeemed from the fall they have become free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon…
In this life there are things to Act and Things to be Acted Upon. We humans are not here in this life to just let things happen to us and to let life just pass us by. But we are here to be the movers and shakers in the world making things happen. We are not meant to be on the sideline watching the other players do their thing we need to be on the field playing the game doing our part to help whatever our cause and purpose may be!
Give Purpose and Meaning to everything you do whether you are a stay at home mother or a CEO of a company. You can live each day intentionally and on purpose. Ultimately you have the choice to determine your life. You choose what happens and if it’s something happens not in your control you can choose how to react to it. Here are some ideas you can be intentional with your Life.
- Understand You – Find out what you are really about. Often we are so busy running around trying to please our spouse, children, parents, work boss, church we forget to take time to really define who we are and know and understand ourselves fully. Take time to understand what you stand for your beliefs so you are not swayed with whatever comes your way.
- Evaluate your Environment – Are the people you hang out with supporting your beliefs? Does your work environment help you live your beliefs and ethics. What kind of culture is your environment moving towards are you being influenced by it? Is it pushing you further or closer to your purpose and beliefs and core values? Take the time to know what is happening before you just get swept along for the ride. This may mean at times you may be swimming against the current.
- Define your Life – As little kids we all had some kind of dream of what kind of life we would be living. Before we got married we had thoughts of how our marriage would be like. We had thoughts and ideas of ways we were going to raise our children. But when life happens those thoughts and dream seem to go out the window. Take some time to go back, reflect and evaluate those thoughts. Now define how you want your life to look like. Define your marriage, education, work, faith, health, your relationship with your children and parents. Taking the time to define how you want your life to be will enable you to see the actions you need to get to achieve those things. You will see the things are important to you and things that will disappear. Defining your life will give you the power to how your life will unfold. Don’t feel the pressure that it has to go perfectly or you have to know everything that’s going to happen, there will be bumps but we will always have something to fall back on to help us get back on track. Having some kind of document of how you want your life to look like will give you guidance so you don’t get sidetracked too easily by the things that don’t matter.
I believe that we all have our individual roles and purpose here, some roles are bigger than others but not the least bit less significant. Whatever our individuals roles and purposes be, let’s live them truthfully. Be courageous and intentionally with all that we do so we can feel deep fulfillment in the life that we live. I promise you that as you take time to define your life you desire you will be able to live it intentionally each and every day. Truly when the time comes we can say as Paul:
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith 2 Timothy 4:7