Back to school, back to you!
If you’re like me, this time of year can be a bit hectic as kids go back to school, older ones go off to college and household routines change dramatically. It can be stressful, especially for mom and dad who have to juggle their own lives while juggling kids’ schedules.
In fact, Sara Gorchoff, a professor at Monmouth College, says having kids in and of itself isn’t the best thing for relationships. “There are many studies that show with the arrival of kids, marital satisfaction decreases,” Gorchoff says in an article for Today. “Caring for kids is stressful and tiring and you associate your partner with the things you are doing. Having kids leave is an opportunity to re-associate your partner with fun, excitement and relaxation.”
Huffington Post’s “Life” blog, “20 Tips for Parents Helping Each Other as Their Kids Transition Back to School,” lists practical tips for mom and dad to help the entire family ease back into the school year, including, “Agree on child care arrangements that work for kids and parents alike; decide which parent has an easier time talking about difficult topics with each child; discuss together who is the best helper with different academic subjects.”
Both articles, however, bring up this important point: Parents should make time for each other, no matter how crazy it gets. In the Huffington Post article, Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., says, “Spend some time together before school starts, just the two of you. It helps a great deal to feel like partners beginning a new year of adventures without losing sight of your own relationship.”
Melissa T. Schultz, author of “From Mom to Me Again: How I Survived My First Empty Nest Year and Reinvented the Rest of My Life,” describes the off-to-college transition as going from “being constantly on call to not being called.” When family life surrounds the children’s needs and activities, many women were afraid that once the kids were gone, they would have nothing in common with their spouses.
But Gorchoff says women who invested time with their partners were the most well-adjusted. “Our research found that of the women we studied, on average, their marital satisfaction got better once their kids left,” she says. “We specifically found that these women were spending a similar amount of time with their partners, as they had when their kids were in the home, but they enjoyed that time more.”
With the kids back to school, it’s time to reconnect with your partner. Whether your children are gone for the day or gone off to college, now is the time to re-introduce yourself to your spouse and remember what got you two together in the first place. It’s good for your health, and good for your relationship!