When my wife was pregnant with #1 we read books, watched videos, and went to classes. They all talked about something, that at the time, I thought was so weird. They said to never shake a baby or young kid. I remember thinking that this was so stupid and silly. Why would a grown adult who loves their kid ever shake a child or infant?
Before I go on…let me say to my readers…I have never, never shaken any of my kids at any point in their lives. HOWEVER…I have vibrated the hell out of them on a few occasions.
I think a lot of parents are shocked when they get the urge to shake. There is guilt and shame that we could feel that frustrated and angry with a child that we love so much. It makes us wonder if we are good parents, if we should be parents, and if something is wrong with our love.
Shaking a kid is wrong. It is abuse however the feeling and the mistake is human. When parents are sleep deprived, socially deprived, and sex deprived : P we are gonna go a little crazy. People always ask my wife and I, “How do you do it with five kids?” We fail, we succeed. We fail more than we succeed. But there is something we have become strong believers of and practice regularly.
We need healthy outlets. We need healthy release valves. What are your outlets that help you release and relieve stress? I am a firm believer that parents should continue regular dating. It is so important. I believe that parents need to be having regular sex (i know i know…that’s why we have five kids).
My wife and I have been able to handle because our mentors taught us and kept us accountable to these things. If I can pass on what was preached to us…
1. Get your kids to bed. If you have really young kids, they need to go to bed before 11pm. Your marriage will suffer if you have to parent till late night. No marriage can thrive when your kids are up too long. Also, kids need good rest to avoid demon possession. The happier they are, the less frustrated you will be. The more energy you will have to focus on the really important things. Trust me, for a child nothing productive happens after 8. The earlier your kids go to bed the more time you will have to hang out with your spouse. The more time you will have to work on stuff you want to try. I know some of you work till late and wouldn’t see your kids. Here is the thing. Do you really hang out with them til late night anyway? Even if you do, I go back to my other argument. Having a solid marriage will do more for your kid than hanging out late with them. Because whoever is the primary caretaker (mom or dad) will be more energized on their watch if they are loved and fulfilled.
2. Date your spouse. Many parents fail to realize that one of the most important things we can give to our children is our love for each other. Too many couples make the child #1 and put their marriage on hold for 20 years. This is not healthy. This is bad parenting. One of the greatest gifts we can give our children is a stable and healthy marriage. Go on dates. Have sex. Meet other couples. Hang out with singles and speak into their lives. Many of you may wonder how you can maintain a healthy sex life with kids. My mentor said the biggest difference between having sex before and after kids is that after kids you have to make an appointment. It is true. Be intentional. Plan for dates. Plan for sex. I am sure our family members are so glad they are reading this part. Oh well. I try to spend at least 15 hours a week alone with my wife. Some of you are thinking this is ridiculous. It isn’t if your kids are in bed early : ).
3. Exercise. Haha. Let me be a hypocrite for a moment because I am fatter and heavier than I have ever been. I will say though…that my wife and I have been convicted, I mean convicted that regular exercise is so important on so many levels. First…the physical benefits of exercise does relieve stress. My wife and I always felt that our schedule made it impossible to exercise. We have begun to live our lives as if we cannot do without exercise. Trust me…no one is too busy to exercise. If you are, then something has to change. Second…the more you exercise the better you will feel. Men…a lot of times your wife won’t have sex with you because she doesn’t feel sexy or good about herself after giving birth. Men don’t need to feel good about themselves to desire sex. Women do. Watch your kids so she can go workout. Watching the kids will be exercise for you. The gym will be exercise for her. You will be rewarded. Ok…I know I am sounding like a pervert now but its a big deal. Sex is not the most important thing. Intimacy, love, communication, etc. are all a big deal and they are related to dating and sex.