Earlier this week, Jan and I attended the 2018 CMV Public Health and Policy Conference. Several hundred people gathered in Burlington, VT including lots of parents like us as well as clinicians, researchers and medical specialists focused on a nasty virus called CMV.
If you don’t know what CMV is, you need to learn about it.
CMV is COMMON: In fact, it’s the leading viral cause of disabilities in newborns worldwide with more than 30,000 babies born each year with congenital CMV. Unfortunately, most physicians including OB-GYNs would tell you it’s rare and not to worry about it.
CMV is SERIOUS: The list of lifelong impacts is long but it can cause hearing loss, vision loss, cerebral palsy, microcephaly, seizures and developmental disabilities.
But that’s not what this blog post is about. Well, it is, in part.
You see, one of the sessions I attended at the conference was presented by a trio of CMV Dads – i.e. fathers of children who were born with CMV.
They shared their personal experiences of raising their children and the impacts the virus had on their lives. It was both interesting and refreshing to hear their perspective since family stories are most often told by the Moms.
During the Q&A portion, a Mom asked, “How do you find the right balance so that you and wife spend time together … alone?”
What a great question!
Working on your relationship as mom and dad, as husband and wife, is so important. That’s where it all starts.
It’s way too easy to get consumed by your child’s care and forget about nurturing your relationship as a couple. There are always a million things to do every day and million reasons to put things off.
Most of us forget to "sharpen the saw” and keep pushing and pushing until there’s nothing left. Until the saw is beyond sharpening. And then we wonder why things aren’t working out.
The reality is this … if you, as a parent, as a spouse, are not at the “top of your game”, you’re not giving your child your best. Period.
And the only way to be at the top of your game is to ensure there is balance in all that you do.
So, back to the Mom’s original question about how do you find the balance and the time to work on your relationship with your spouse/partner?
Here are 3 ways I know – the first one came from one of the CMV Dads:
Basically, that means to be in tune to what’s around you. Be more attentive and mindful. If you find yourself alone with your spouse, especially if it’s unplanned, run with it. Take that unplanned time-slice that has been given to you, no matter how small, and make it count.
One of the CMV Dads gave the example of travelling to the conference. He and his wife had a 4 ½ hour drive ahead of them. A drive through the mountains. By themselves. That alone time was a perfect opportunity to focus on each other even in some small way.
This is kind of the opposite of #1. Whenever you plan your week, set aside some dedicated, uninterrupted time to be with your spouse. And stick to it!
It could be just taking an hour on Friday evening to watch the latest episode of Dr. Foster on Netflix. That counts, too.
Don’t let any distraction interfere.
Now, if you don’t currently sit down once a week to plan your life, you need to start!
I sometimes call it “keeping it fresh”- the relationship, that is. I don’t have to tell you how UN-spontaneous our lives can be with our kiddos and all the chaos and busy-ness that comes with it.
Mixing things up with something unexpected can be the difference between a terrible day and an energizing one.
If you have love, you have power!
Hey, I get it. Finding balance is out of reach most days. There are so many obstacles in your way every day. But practicing just one of these can begin to turn things around.
Oh, and in case you didn’t know, Ben was a CMV baby!
Really interested in your comments on all of this so don’t be shy.