I have reached a time in my life in which I am no longer motivated to find a babysitter for my boys. They certainly are old enough (13 &11) to fend for themselves which is part of it, but I haven’t had the greatest track record finding a good fit recently. What I would need is someone old enough and responsible enough that my husband and I could have a date night out. Ideally, this would be so we could drive a reasonable distance to find a nice place to dine together. My boys are not quite ready to put themselves to bed. I do not think I would enjoy my time out knowing they were anxiously waiting for us to return. Whoever would land this gig would make some easy money, however, it hasn’t been in the cards for us. Something has to give. With my husband’s work travel and our busy life in general, we need to carve out some dedicated couple time. Below are some ideas that may work for you, too, especially if your kids are in that tween-ish stage:
We happen to live in a wonderful family-centered community known for its great schools and well-manicured bike paths. It is a short drive to shopping and other amenities but does not have a lot of ‘fancy’ date night options. However, in the name of keeping our relationship a priority, we will happily make do. I will still take the time to dress up to show that the evening matters to me. If we are able to eat close to home, then my boys will be fine to be alone for a few short hours. If they needed us, we would be able to get home quickly. I can make peace with dining at a place I’ve eaten at a hundred times before as long as it consists of quality time with my husband.
CHECK IN WITH EACH OTHER THROUGHOUT THE DAY
My husband is always sending me links to articles and books that I might find interesting. He reads a lot so always sends me things that I would otherwise miss. It is nice to know that he is thinking about me even if his day is busy. For me, I will send him links as well but since I’m home, I send him pictures of our dogs, our boys or something interesting I see outside. I know it does not sound very exciting, but for him, it helps him stay connected to the parts of the day that he doesn’t normally see. Either way, we both make the effort to touch base with each other and let the other know we care.
MAKE ORDINARY ERRANDS A DATE
By no means is this going to guarantee a fairytale of romance for you, but at least you will be together. A couple of weeks back my husband ordered takeout pizza for our Friday night at home with the boys. He made a point to pick me up first before he headed to the restaurant. When we arrived, we had time for a cocktail together as we waited for our order to be ready. When all was said and done, we maybe had twenty minutes of time together but it set us up for a good weekend. We also saved grocery shopping for a weeknight that we both had free and did it together. I am not a fan of grocery shopping by any stretch of the imagination, but I am a fan of my husband. It kind of reminded me of our kid-free days when we were first together. You remember those days where every moment together felt like magic?
The awesome thing about a healthy relationship is that the magic is always there. The trick is to connect to that magic by making consistent effort to be together. Trust me, even grocery shopping can become fun again.
Written by Diana DeVaul, MSW and Parent