How did having children affect your friendships? How many hours of sleep do you get a night? How often are you intimate with your spouse? These are just a few of the questions you might want to ask other moms. At CTWM, we had a feeling that no matter where you fall on the spectrum of answers to these types of questions, you are not alone. So about a month ago we put out a survey with 55 questions for our readers to answer and offered up entries into a drawing for a $250 prize pack as an incentive for your time. Almost 300 people completed the survey and now it’s time to present the answers. We’ve broken it down into two posts. Yesterday we posted the results on Home, Work and Parenting. Today we’ll dig into Relationships and Self Care. We’ll also announce the winner of the $250 prize pack and link you again to those who donated prizes so that you can check them out.

About You:

The majority of the 300 that answered were 30-39 years old (almost 70%). An additional 20% were 40-44 years old. Most live in CT (81%). Approximately 7% of respondents are self-employed and another 7% are currently stay at home parents. 90% of those surveyed are parenting with a spouse. 6% share custody and 3% have sole custody. 1% are parenting with another family member like a grandparent.

Relationships:

How often do you hang out with your friends without the kids around?
Multiple times a week – 3%
Once a week – 4%
A few times a month – 15%
Once a month – 23%
Once every few months – 33%
Once or twice a year – 17%
Never – 6%

How has becoming a parent affected your friendships? (You could choose more than one)
I am closer than ever to all of my friends – less than 1%
I am closer to my friends that have kids – 30%
About the same – 8%
I see my friends less, but we know we are here for each other – 52%
I hardly ever see my friends and my friendships have suffered – 16%
I hardly ever see my friends without children – 19%

How often do you go on a date with a significant other or someone you meet?
I am single and not dating – 5%
Once a week – 6%
Twice a month – 4%
Once a month – 20%
Once every few months – 46%
Twice a year – 11%
Once a year – 4%
Never – 3%

What do you and your spouse most often argue about?

 

 

How often are you intimate with your spouse?
The most popular answer was once a week (24%) followed by once every few weeks (21%). 13% are getting some several times a week. The answers included once a month (12%), once every few months (13%), a few times a year (3%) and hardly ever (8%).

Regarding relationships, we asked you for some advice – we asked you to tell us something you do to keep your friendships or relationship with your spouse fresh, fun and engaging. How do you stay connected? Many of you noted that you were struggling with your personal relationships, but I pulled out some answers that might be helpful:

  • Schedule phone dates with friends who live far away.
  • Since we never have childcare we stay In and watch movies and make a good meal together. 
  • I host “game nights” occasionally throughout the year (as often as I can manage!). I host so I don’t have to find a sitter.
  • We are 100% honest with each other. We always find the funny in every situation. We have in-house date night every Friday – we get a bottle of wine and watch a movie after the kids go down.
  • I have a running email conversation with a dozen college girlfriends. It’s 10 years old.
  • Mandated date night 2x month. 
  • My mom friends and I have a monthly night out to get dinner and we DON’T TALK ABOUT KIDS.
  • Once in a while we both take a day off of work, leave our son in daycare, and go to the movies all day.
  • My husband is super supportive of me having nights off too to either get together w a friend or just get out of the house. Having him be so supportive of that time for me is a huge way that keeps us connected!
  • Thursday nights are my night to be with friends. Once a week, my husband and I go out or stay in and play board games.
  • The occasional happy hour. Finding reasons to laugh. Random “thinking of you” texts. Being silly. Occasional trips to the bar (sometimes with baby in tow).
  • Lunch time phone calls.
  • We ask for gift cards for holidays/birthdays and then plan dates based on these gifts. It’s free to us so it’s easier to convince ourselves to go out.
  • My friends and I do a book club. We all love to read we encourage each other to do something for ourselves that we enjoy. And it forces us to get together once a month without the kids (discussion of the book is optional!)
  • Scheduling things (even sex) so that they don’t fall off our radar.
  • I tried to take time to send little notes, Facebook messages, pictures, anything that lets them know that they are in my mind, and in my heart. I can always spend time with them, and I can always have long conversations on the phone with them, but I want them to know that I’m thinking of them and that they are special to me.
  • We make a point to do something together just the two of us every week, even if it’s just a half hour trip to Dunkin for breakfast after dropping our son off at daycare.

Self Care

6% of you are in bed before 9 p.m.
Most go to bed between 9-10 p.m. (37%) or 10-11 p.m. (34%).
16% head to bed between 11-12 and 6% stay up later than midnight.

We all know how important sleep is and I think we can all agree we probably get way less now that we have kids. 4% of you are getting less than 5 hours of sleep a night. 18% get 5-6 hours, 40% are getting 6-7 hours of shut eye a night. 33% get 7-8 hours and 5% get 8-9 hours. Less than 1% get over 9 hours of sleep a night (there are 2 lucky people out there!).

We asked how often you exercise:
Most every day – 11%
Every other day – 10%
2-3 times per week – 23%
Once a week – 15%
Every other week – 8%
Not at all – 34%

For those that exercise, we wanted you to tell us your favorite type of exercise:
Yoga – 14%
Running – 14%
Crossfit – 6%
Zumba/Aerobics/Step – 7%
Walking/Hiking – 26%
Other – 19% (comment below and let us know what else you do for exercise!)

I really miss reading for fun. I find now that when I try to read before bed, I fall asleep after two pages. We wanted to know if you’re getting any reading in and how often you read for fun – not counting school, with your kids or for work.
Everyday – 16%
Every other day – 4%
A few times a week – 22%
Once a week – 13%

After a tough day at work and evening putting the kids to bed some reach for a glass of wine and some (me!) could polish off an entire sleeve of girl scout cookies. How often do your kids drive you to drink?
Every night – 7%
A few nights a week – 26%
Only on weekends – 8%
Once a week – 16%
Every few weeks – 15%
Every few months – 13%
Don’t drink – 16%

For your kids, we asked about screen time. For us, let’s talk about TV time. How many hours are you watching a week?
1-2 hours: 24%
2-4 hours: 19%
4-6 hours: 23%
6-10 hours: 19%
10+ hours a week: 12%

When was the last time you bought yourself something for no reason?
This week – 27%
A few weeks ago – 40%
A few months ago – 18%
Last year – 5%
Not sure/never – 11%

And finally, we asked you how you treat yourself, what brings you joy, what do you do to take care of yourself? Some struggled here as well. One of my best friends said this question depressed her – that she doesn’t do anything for herself. If you felt that way, take a look at all the great answers and see if you can incorporate any of this self care into your life this soon.

  • I do not limit my running or other exercise. I still sometimes feel guilty and I usually get up between 4 and 5am to minimize the time I miss with my kids, but I do it. It gives me so much joy, time with my friends and good health and it allows me to be more patient with my kids and husband.
  • I love to read positive affirmations daily while enjoying my cup of coffee.
  • I am a regular at our local drive through coffee shop and my monthly latte bill is embarrassingly high…but completely necessary!
  • I am big on aromatherapy lately – I keep good smelling lotions at home and at work and apply a few times a day.
  • Personal health days.
  • I see a therapist once a week.
  • I find joy in cooking and meditating, gardening and journaling. I hope I will be able to find time for these activities again.
  • On Saturdays when the ex has the kids I make myself a big breakfast of blueberry pancakes and tomato/spinach omelet (both of which the kids hate).
  • Thursday night is mom night! I also get up early on Sundays to have a tea and read a book before the family wakes up.
  • In summer, a long drive by myself is my way to relax.
  • I try to take a day off for myself once and a while. I spend it getting a pedicure or something else I normally would not spend time or money on.
  • I take myself out of breakfast once a week.
  • When life doesn’t allow for outings, a nice long bath with Epsom salts really relaxes me.
  • Sometimes I go out on a Saturday with a short list of errands and find a way for them to take all afternoon.
  • Knitting, journalling, practicing gratitude.
  • Reading is my thing so I make time for that. Also simple things like listening to books on Audible and downloading new music on iTunes.
  • Over and over people said – yoga, exercising, running! I’m seeing a trend here!
  • I’m taking some classes right now that I’ve always wanted to take.
  • Naps!
  • Every 3 to 6 months, I take an afternoon off work and check into a 5 star Spa. I get a message and pedicure but stay for about 4-5 hours reading Oprah magazine, sipping tea and just zoning out. My weekly spin class is my weekly disconnect/me time.
  • I love taking hot bubble baths every now and then. I take vitamins and treat myself to pedicures a few times in the summer. I get my hair cuts on a set schedule every 8-10 weeks.
  • I get a massage once a month.
  • I just chose to restart my career after 4 years at home.
  • Introducing my children to things I enjoy: music, museums, playing in nature.
  • I like to listen to NPR podcasts while I clean the kitchen at night after everyone goes to bed.
  • I have a “self care day” once a week, which means I squeeze in a hot bath (with bath salts!), write in my journal, and meditate while my infant is napping. I also attend a weekly meditation group on Thursday’s, see a therapist once a week, drink my favorite beer.

Thank you so much to everyone who participated and who read these two really long posts with the results. I really hope that this exercise has helped you think about your life – what’s important to you and what do you want to do more of? What’s holding you back? What’s bringing you down? What can you let go of? And I hope that seeing other people’s responses and reading some of the open ended question responses gives you some ideas for how to nurture your personal relationships and bring more self care into your lives.

***WINNER ANNOUNCEMENT!***

I’m very excited to announce that the winner of the $250 prize pack is Kate B. (I’m withholding her last name, but she has been contacted). Kate lives in Tolland, CT with her husband and their two daughters.  She has been in education for twenty years, first as an English teacher and now as an Assistant Principal. She spends her free time playing tennis, playing music or singing karaoke, engaging in social justice activities, and participating as an active member of her Unitarian Universalist congregation. Congrats Kate!

And as a reminder, here’s what Kate is getting. Be sure to click on the links and patronize our very supportive sponsors of this post. It’s not too early to stash away some holiday presents.

THIS PRIZE PACK INCLUDES:

  • A Mother’s Love: Reiki Attuned Dalmatian Stone and Turquoise Howlite Healing Bracelet from Mama’s Zen. Use code CTMOMS for 20% off. ($18 value)
  • The 2017-2018 Pie Life Planner – the world’s first motivational planner ($40 value)
  • The Mother’s Wisdom Deck by Niki Dewart & Elizabeth Marglin with Illustrations by Jenny Kostecki-Shaw: A full-color book accompanies an illustrated deck of 52 cards featuring archetypes of empowered motherhood arranged into four suits: Nature Mother, Animal Mother, Ancestral Mother, and Divine Mother. Use them like tarot to reveal a message or to receive inspiration and insight for your lifelong journey. Illustrator Jenny Kostecki-Shaw has also included a copy of her book My Travelin’ Eye. ($37 value total)
  • 100 single serving 100% pure Indonesian cinnamon packets – the perfect addition to your morning tea from veteran owned Cinn-Credible. ($12 value)
  • Feel Good Bag – Featured on the Today Show, this velvet bag contains 10 engraved metal stones with positive messages for you or your child to pull out when you need a reminder that you are loved. ($25 value)
  • “Do All Things With Love” shirt – Honu Yoga features shirts with ocean and yoga themes. Each purchase helps protect our ocean and sea turtles. Use coupon code MOM15 for 15% off. ($30 value)
  • Pamper yourself with a Purifying Charcoal Mask from Beautycounter. ($45 value)
  • A fun mug from CT artist Jennifer Vallez (Sophie & Lili) who also does custom illustrations and more. ($15 value)
  • Earrings from CT jewelry and yoga bag maker Connie. Use coupon code CTWorkingMom for 20% off. ($35 value)