If you’re a parent, then I’m willing to bet that more than a time or two, you’ve wished for just a few moments of adult conversation. You’ve passed your significant other in the hall on the way to put the kids in bed and realized that you haven’t talked to each other about a single thing other than the kids. That’s a pretty good sign it’s time for a date.
Making time to date is extremely important. I know you may be thinking, “With the kids, the mortgage, work, and pure exhaustion, who has the time and effort for that?” Well, money isn’t necessary really and the effort will be worth it. Sometimes with all of the demands of parenthood it’s easy to get lost in that role and forget the reason you ended up in the blessed state of parenthood in the first place. You like each other, or at least you did at some point.
Being a stay at home parent means very rarely getting time to myself, much less time to share with Brian. I feel so blessed to be able to stay home to raise our daughter, but sometimes I can’t help but feel envious of those people who get 15 minutes alone in the car commuting back and forth to work. As a stay at home parent, that doesn’t happen. Even more than that, children need routines and structure, which make it difficult to have spontaneity in your relationship. Before Lilly, if Brian and I decided we wanted ice cream at 10 pm, we got ice cream at 10 pm. With our precious little one sleeping in the next room over, that’s not going to happen these days. As any parent knows, you let “sleeping dogs lie.” But, just because things are different now that we’re parents doesn’t mean we can’t still have a date every now and then. It usually takes more planning on our part, but sometimes we can even throw in something unexpected and exciting.
Dates these days usually involve staying home. When Lilly goes to bed around 7:30 we plan for our “date” to start then. Brian and I love watching movies together. We like to curl up on the couch with some sort of dinner, either take-out or something homemade and we rent a movie on demand from DirecTV or get caught up on the latest episode of Survivor or The Office that we’ve missed. Sometimes we even like to get a little wild and crazy with a heated game of scrabble or Monopoly. We peruse funny picture sites and laugh together at other’s misfortunes. We’ve even spent an evening or two watching old home videos and laughing at our own misfortunes. These are the little things that don’t cost money and usually end up providing us with the most laughs and enjoyment together.
Three times since Lilly has been born, we’ve gone away for a night. Once was to enjoy some Christmas shopping and the other two were for concerts. Thankfully, we both have wonderful parents who love to spend time with their granddaughter. And we are very appreciative for the break. I feel like those rare occasions when I’m away for a night leave me feeling refreshed and ready to start again when I return. A mother’s heart is never far from her child’s and although I know she’s very well provided for in my absence, I still worry about her. That doesn’t mean we don’t have a good time, though. When we’re away it gives us an opportunity to regroup and remember what we love so much about each other in the first place. We genuinely enjoy each other’s company. These rare happenings allow us to focus only on each other, without having to run and do a pacifier replacement or change a diaper. Sometimes you just need a break.
Enjoying the freezing rain in May at the Zach Brown Band/Kenny Chesney concert in Columbia, SC.
As I’ve said, a date can be as simple as ordering pizza and watching SNL or sometimes a little more planned, allowing us a night away. I do think they’re very important though. Life is demanding. Children are demanding. It’s important to set aside time to enjoy your partner. In our fast paced day-to-day world, it sometimes requires penciling your significant other in on your schedule, but rest assured when you do you will both feel refreshed and ready to refocus on the partnership of parenthood.