EXPERT Q&A

How do you have kids and a good marriage?

Marriage and parenting are two of the most important things to get right. Professional nanny Kimberley Benakovich explores some ways to strike a healthy balance.

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Question

Juggling marriage and kids is a challenge. The movies make it look easy, but it’s a lot of work. Prior to COVID-19, it was already difficult, and now it’s even harder with changing work schedules. I know maintaining a happy and healthy marriage with children requires a lot of work, but is there any suggestions or tips that can help us out during a tough time?

Answer

Wow! Great question. I feel like, pre-COVID, I might have known the answer. It would include date nights (remember those?), spending kid-free time together during the weekend, reconnecting with the family over a trip to the zoo, aquarium, or pumpkin patch, or enjoying a quiet evening at home—when those were a novelty.

But now, during the pandemic, things have definitely changed. And the challenge is real. I’m not even sure I could describe my “pandemic marriage” as good, but we are certainly trying! Here’s what we’ve been focusing on, which may be helpful to you. Take what works for you and your partner, and leave the rest behind.

  1. Balance parenting roles. We’ve been working toward finding a better balance in our parenting roles. This includes working to alleviate burnout, outwardly appreciating each other’s contributions to the family and home, and encouraging and providing time for one another to work out and otherwise focus on their own needs. This is a big one for me—I am much more fun to be around when I’m not completely burnt out! 
  2. Spend quality time outdoors. Take your family on a hike, which can feel refreshing and adventurous, or go on daily walks around the neighborhood after dinner. If you have a fire pit, sit around a fire at the end of the night. Fresh air is so important and is good for the soul! And research shows being in nature reduces stress!
  3. Make time to laugh. Finding things to do that will make us laugh is really important. We will split a drink and play board games after the kids go to sleep—talking trash and just being silly.  
  4. Think about the future. Talking about aspiring future plans and offering shared support for potential career shifts seems to be a space we hold for one another frequently. It’s a nice way to look ahead and get our minds off of what’s right in front of us.
  5. Reprioritize your schedule.You may also want to consider reprioritizing your own schedule, which can help find how to make more time for your marriage. Check out the CareNectar activity here on how to avoid being overscheduled.
  6. Be spontaneous. It is definitely difficult to be spontaneous. But do something fun on a moment’s notice if you can. Take the kids, or if you have someone to care for your kids, go alone with your spouse. It could be a Saturday morning drive to the beach, a last-minute movie, or a fruit-picking trip. Sometimes doing something new and off your regular schedule can make it more fun!

This is definitely a challenging time, and it is important to make time for yourself, your marriage, and your family. We hope this is helpful and encourage you to share more ideas and tips that work for you and your family!

Meet The Expert


Kimberley Benakovich

Kim is a mother of two. She has been a professional nanny for 18 years and brings over 20 years of extensive experience with childcare. She is a former kindergarten teacher, reading specialist, newborn care specialist, nanny advocate, and a birth/postpartum doula. Kim has worked for High Profile families as a nanny and house manager, and enjoys working with multiples, preemies, and children with special needs.