Shawn Johnson East on the importance of keeping 'date night' after having kids: 'We're slowly working to get back to us'

·4 min read

Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson East has never shied away from speaking on the ups and downs of being a mom of two, a wife and a businesswoman as the co-founder of Teddy and Bear, a toy boutique she runs alongside her husband Andrew East. 

In a recent sit down with Kaitlyn Bristowe on her podcast, Off The Vine with Kaitlyn Bristowe, the multi-hyphenated supermom explains how she and Andrew keep their relationship strong while overseeing a happy home life.

"When you have a baby, you no longer have to work through your fights with your husband because you can go get your cuddles and your comfort with your baby," she said. "Especially now with two [kids], he's got someone and I have someone." 

Still, while she admits their Instagram accounts are the epitome of "couple goals," not everything is as it seems. And speaking openly about the lows is something they take pride in.

"We try to be really open with [our struggles] on our podcast [Couple Things with Shawn and Andrew]," she said. "My biggest pet peeve is showing perfection on social media because it's completely false. But I think [our] hardest struggle that we work on, especially after babies, is we get so disconnected."

"I feel like I never see my husband and when I do see him, we're working. So we're co-workers, which makes us really edgy with each other. I always tell him, I get really tired of feeling like mom and co-worker and that I get lost as wife,'" she explained. "I'll see him hanging out with our employees and I'm like, ugh, I wish I had that relationship with him. And then I'm like, wait, that's my husband."

Being cognizant of the many hats they wear, she explained, is important, as is keeping the flame alive by prioritizing one-on-one time.

"We still are doing date night," she said. "We still did it right after we had our son. It's been funny and annoying for both of us. We'll come back from our date night pissed at each other because it’s truly the only time we get to talk and be together one-on-one. We usually end up airing out dirty laundry from the week before and were like, 'Ugh, I just wanted to come here and have a good time. I didn’t want to talk about this.' But it is our time where we're slowly working to get back to us. We made that rule before we had our daughter that we were still going to do date nights, even if it was hard, even if we didn't want to. We have a babysitter every Thursday night to let us have that time."

An extension to prioritizing each other is also making sure they set ground rules of communication — as well as the intimate moments.

"Our number one rule within our relationship is transparency. We don't believe in harboring," she said. "If there is anything that bothers you, you bring it up and talk about it because we've seen what it's done to people when you truly bottle everything up. So, our date night has become venting sessions."

Scheduling sex has also become routine. "I never thought I'd be one of those people," she said. "But you have to become that person, otherwise you have kids wandering into your bedroom."

Still, even though her life has changed immensely in the last three years, Johnson said she's been quick to tap into the immense blessings of motherhood faster than she thought. 

"Before kids, I cared so much what people thought of me. I cared so much about the mistakes I had made. I regretted so many things," she said. "With a kid, there's no time for that. You don't care what you look like going out in public, you don’t care the clothes you're wearing, if you got puke on you. You really only care for your baby's sake and how to be a good parent.

"I also look back on my past and every stupid decision I made and I’m actually glad I did that," she said. "Because now I can teach my babies to be better. It just gives a purpose to everything."

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