What’s the cost of your kids to your relationship? I’d like to see statistics on whether partnerships with kids are happier or longer than those without. I have recently read something abut women with more kids living longer than those with fewer. No idea why. I’m pretty certain more kids would send me into an early grave. From the little I’ve read on the topic, it appears from some studies that while the kids are at home, parents report a lower level of happiness, but once they move out parents report higher degrees of happiness in relation to being parents. This makes sense in that kids, for the most part, are awesome. But raising them sucks the life outta you. So while doing the hard yards, parents not so happy. Once the kids are self sufficient, (hopefully) achieving success in life, doin’ cool stuff on their own, parents a bit more happy. I am simplifying and generalising. But it’s my blog and I’ll generalise if I want to.
My husband and I were discussing the impact of kids on our marriage in the light of our recent tension free weekend away. There is no doubt that the little angels have been white-anting our relationship from within like, well, little white ants. Stress and exhaustion have turned our once lengthy conversations into single digit syllables long requests, reports, questions and answers. It’s about functionality, survival and logistics, where it was once about politics, jokes, travelling, dreams, the future and yes even parenting. It’s so easy, when my head is constantly in organisation and management mode, moving at a perpetual lightening speed, to forget to use something as simple as manners when speaking to my husband. We decided that, if we boiled it down, what was lacking at the moment was pretty simple. One, thinking of each other and two, kindness. We are always thinking of something else, the next thing, so we have made a habit of putting thoughts of each other last. And in the frenetic pace of getting sh*t done, we have forgotten the value of simple kindness.
Our life changing challenge to each other is this. Inspired by a friend who is doing one random act of kindness for a stranger every day for the whole month, we have decided to try it on each other. It’s not a new idea, but it’s a good one. If I want to see change in my world, my life, my work or my relationships, the only way to do it is to be that change myself. If I want more kindness, I have to be kinder. If I want more communication, I must communicate. It is the only way to change one’s own situation. It’s simple and it is true. I think it’s going to be immeasurably wonderful. We each have to make a list of 30 simple random acts so that we don’t have to think of one on the trot every day. I can’t wait. Bring on the happy.