The Third Wheel

I homeschool.  He works.  We have 4 kids and one messy, loud house.  How do we make time for each other and how do we reconnect over all the noise?

We bring on a third wheel into our relationship.  Yes, we need someone else in our marriage to make it work.  And it’s not always the same person either.

A counselor?  I’m pretty sure everyone could use a counselor at some point or other, but that’s not it.

A babysitter?  That’s a good guess, but if you think we can only connect on date night getaways, you’re wrong.

It is important to schedule some time together even if it has to be planned well in advance and written on your calendar in black sharpie.  However, we need more frequent small moments than only our much-anticipated date nights and our budget needs a few less expensive options too.

We find a little spontaneity through impromptu moments….in the car.  When one of us has had a day and needs to spend some time catching up or we both need a break from the demands of chasing down littles, we pile in the car.  That’s where our third wheel joins us in the form of audio books.  Our current favorites are Jim Weiss, Winnie the Pooh, Gooney Bird Green, Dominic, and My Father’s Dragon.

The kids settle in with a stuffed animal, a water bottle, and their favorite story.  We relish the silence!  And as we pull out of the driveway our marathon chat begins.  In the forty-five minutes that we cruise through neighborhoods we are able to catch up with each other and reconnect.

And I’m pretty sure our wonderful narrators don’t mind tagging along as the third wheel.

As parents, we both know that our relationship comes first so we have to make a concerted effort to make time for each other.  We do try to pencil each other in at other times too….

We schedule time and write it on our calendars.  Some nights we write into our calendars as a night off-we do the minimum around the house and put the kids to bed a little early so we can have some time together.

Voice memo.  This will probably sound a little crazy, but… hubby and I make voice memos for each other.  I email him a voice memo that I’ve made and he can listen to all my ramblings or my messages for him as he drives to and from work.

No TV.  That’s right, folks.  We have no TV at Lextin Academy and it’s been one of the best things for our relationship.  Now we’re never tempted to channel surf when we’re bored-we’re stuck talking to each other!  GASP!   After we got over the initial withdrawal symptoms, we’re finding that we don’t miss the TV one bit.

We work to find moments for each other, even if they are short or far-between.  However, many of our moments do end up including the kids and we enjoy the time we can spend together even though some of those times are still filled with the kids.  We know that the season of life we are in with multiple littles means that we are sacrificing a lot of our time spent on other interests and alone time together.  We try to enjoy the moments as a couple and as a family, knowing that one day we will redeem some of our time as the kids become more independent.

We relish our conversations together even if they sound something like this:

Hi Honey!  How was your day??  Please get off the counter.  You might fall.  Get off the counter and put the step stool away.

It was ok.  At the office……  Do not pull your sisters hair.  That hurts.  Please apologize to her and don’t do it again.

This morning at the office, a client came in and…. Ladybug is in the pantry.  Can someone get her out and shut the pantry doors.  Now she’s stuck on a shelf.  Please keep the door closed.

What were you saying?  At the office?  Bee, I will get you some milk.  Please stop asking me.  I’m doing it right now.  You only need to ask once.  Please put your milk on the table.  No.  On the table only please.  Please sit in your chair to drink it.

A client came in today with some questions about an account….. Bee, the milk does not go in the living room.  Please bring it back to the table.  All drinks must stay in the kitchen.

Today at work a client came in with questions……and…….it was just a mess.

That’s all?

We’ll just talk later.

Then we both go and clean up the spilled milk in the living room, untangle Curly and Tiger from their fight, and rescue Ladybug from the toilet bowl. 

Yes, all of our moments and conversations seem to involve a third wheel whether in the form of a narrator or even a child.

Enjoy some of the other ideas from the TOS Crew bloggers here.  The link goes live on March 20.

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