Dating

by Sonja on August 25, 2008

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When my husband and I became parents, we expected parenting to be the focus of our lives. We anticipated that we’d be spending essentially all of our non-work time as a family, taking the children with us when we visited friends, went to restaurants, traveled, and so on. We’d both had this kind of experience growing up, so it never really occurred to us that family life could be some other way.

As we were expecting our first child, some well-intentioned people told us that we should be sure to go out on dates so we’d have “couple time.” We couldn’t figure out why we would want to do that. After she was born, we enjoyed spending time together taking care of our new baby, and we found that after the first couple of months, we had plenty of “couple time” in the evenings at home after our daughter went to bed. We still couldn’t figure out why we would need to get a babysitter and leave our house in order to spend time together as a couple.

The birth of our second child complicated things considerably. We were much more exhausted physically, and dealing with the competing needs of two children was emotionally draining. When we had only one child, it was possible for one of us to take a break while the other spent time with our daughter. With two children, one of us had to be spending time with both children in order for the other to take a break, which has rarely seemed worthwhile — we prefer to have a 1:1 ratio between adults and children whenever possible in order to minimize parental meltdowns!

We found that we weren’t getting as much “couple time” in the evenings because we were so exhausted, and because we seemed to have even more chores to catch up on. So a few months ago, we finally started going out on dates. Starting around the time our son was 15 months old, we’ve felt fairly confident that both kids would stay asleep from the time they went to bed until at least midnight. This has provided us with a great opportunity to have someone from our babysitting co-op come over and hang out while the two of us got out of the house.

We’ve been out on three or four dates now, and it’s definitely been nice to set aside time to spend together away from the chores and tasks of home. Yet I’m also sure we wouldn’t be doing it if the kids weren’t asleep — it just wouldn’t feel right to leave them with a babysitter when we know they’d rather be with us.

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Sonja (9 Posts)


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Theresa August 26, 2008 at 1:25 am

We are the same! If my baby can’t go, I won’t go. While I was visiting my parents recently, she really bonded with my mom, so twice I ran out for 2 hours after the baby fell asleep, knowing that if she did wake up, she’d still feel safe. But back at home, I don’t have anyone like my mom, so we just don’t go out at night. We do make the most of our adult time at night though :)

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Nicole August 26, 2008 at 9:01 am

I’m really fortunate that I have family that I trust nearby – but even if I didn’t I’m a huge believer in dating.

In spells my DH works long hours. We have 3 kids now and a lot going on in our lives. We held it together really well after the first kid, it got harder after the 2nd and sometimes it’s a real struggle now! I find more and more we’re doing our own thing and sometimes I can’t remember why we married e/o. I love him, of course, it’s just hard to connect with all the things we have going on.

I used to feel adamant that I wouldn’t leave my baby. As I mature as a mother and have more kids I’m feeling like an hour or so w/out me isn’t going to harm my kiddo, but may make a huge difference in my marriage. We need a strong foundation to parent well together. The truth is, the kids will grow up and leave and we need to have a marriage on the other end of this!

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Rita Brhel August 29, 2008 at 12:29 am

It has taken me a long time to come around to the fact that parenting cannot be the center of my life — that my marriage must be the top priority in my home, and then my kids. My relationship with the kids comes so naturally — must be those mothering hormones! — and it is so easy to justify spending little time with my husband because of the demands of motherhood. But that’s so unfair to him.

We’ve just started getting back into date nights again — after slacking on it for a couple of months — and I can tell after just one date, that things are going to go a lot more smoothly for us!

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