“I miss you.” My husband and I find ourselves jokingly repeating these three words frequently through the Fall months of activities with our kids. Although we are usually taking part in these events together, we don’t really get to connect. We love our little guys and gal, and all that they are involved in, but alone time with the hubs is so essential. I have a good friend who told me “in a family relationship, the relationship of the parents and children are usually fine. It’s the one between the spouses that gets overlooked and ignored.” Her words have stuck with me for three years now, and I can see what she’s saying. My husband and I really like each other, so we try to get out of the house, just the two of us at least once a month. Sheila Mcclear states in her New York Times article, “Too many couples are worn down by longer workdays, two-wage-earner families, wireless technology that keeps them on the job 24-7, increasing reasons to stay home and today’s hyper-involved parenting styles.” We’re not dummies; we realize our kids will be out of the house before we know it, so we want to take advantage of our time with them. However, our kids will be out of the house before we know it, and I don’t want the next time I talk to him to be ten years from now.
Time with Friends and Other Families
This is the activity we take part in the most. We have an active neighborhood with lots of children. We have neighbors that have bonfires and football parties. We also get together to throw horseshoes and play volleyball. The children can come too, even though almost all of that is for the adults. The kids don’t care because they are playing hide-n-seek, or kickball, or some other activity with their friends. Our neighborhood get-togethers are such a great time, and since other people’s children are keeping mine entertained, I get to hang out with my husband quite a bit. I have a friend whose neighborhood has a “dessert week” where they enjoy company and sweets. They also take walks together, and get their kids together at local restaurants, making memories that they will all cherish, while maintaining some sanity with adult-time.
Time with SO (Significant Other)
Taking time away when you can get it is super beneficial. It allows clarity, it allows calm conversation, and I think it allows you to grow within your family. We try to steal away two hours here or there for a quick drink or appetizer. However, our babysitters have all been employed by legitimate establishments, and we are rarely let out of the house. When the grandparents swoop in, they may as well have on super hero capes. Letting us get out for a quick second, actually makes the week that much better. It is a good time. During these sojourns, I remember that my husband is funny and smart, and I’m sure he’d tell you the same about me. We don’t often partake in a “date night”. They are more like two hour date afternoons whenever we can grab them. The short notice, surprise, get-aways make for part of the fun. If we do make specific plans to take off for a night, it’s usually organized way in advance (one of our sitters has taken that day off of their real job), and that is great too. If it’s a big night like that, we prefer live music or comedy shows.
Time with Family
Although the above article states that the date night should be sans kids, that’s just not always possible. Most of the time, we can’t get away at all, and that’s okay. It’s what we signed up for, and we really kind of like our kids. When we have family date night, we can be found walking by the river, having fun at a dog park, bowling, or at a children-compliant restaurant. (Any sports bar will assure you that the patrons will be louder than your kids.) We bring the crayons, the magna-tiles, and the conversations. It’s usually a good time with indulgent food choices, but we are mostly all-smiles when we leave. (Minus the Buffalo Wild Wings tantrum of 2013, but we don’t talk about that night.)
You need time away to foster the relationship that built your family. You aren’t being selfish, in fact, you’ll be better parents if you can unwind with your best friend/spouse. However, in the cases where you cannot get away, you do not need to be a hostage in your own home (and neither do your children), spice it up and steal those conversations with your spouse. You have our permission. What are your go-to date nights? Let us know at email@example.com.