As anyone with kids knows, date night is not always easy to come by. And when you are living a life on one income, like we are, money to pay a babysitter so you can have the occasional date night (which costs money as well) is even harder to come by. Jon and I definatly notice a change in our relationship when we don't get enough time alone. Even if we just want ten minutes for an uninterrupted conversation, sometimes that is asking for too much. Many say to take time together after the kids go to bed. But by that time I am usually exhausted (thank you third trimester) and both of us also need some time to ourselves alone.
So we need a solution.
In the past few months we have been lucky enough to get out together at least once a month. Thanks to friends offering to watch the kids, anniversary gift money that we used to pay for a nice dinner, and our nice tax returns that prompted us to take a night to ourselves as well, we have had some time together. More in the last two months than I think we have taken in the last year. And honestly it does make a difference. I sometimes forget in the day to day life that we need to nurture our relatioship with each other. We are both happier for it and our kids will be happier for it. It is okay to take time away from them just for us (this is something I struggle with at times).
But back to the money issue- we just don't have the money to go out even every month (when you add dinner costs to the babysitter cost it adds up quickly) so we need a solution. A rented movie after the kids go to bed works sometimes, but that is sitting together, not talking and connecting. Plus we have the exhaustion issue at that time of night.
A month or so ago Jon mentioned we should feed the kids early one night and set them up with a movie and then eat dinner alone. Something the kids would not like and where we could talk. It wouldn't cost anything extra and we would have time together before 8:30 at night.
That was a month ago.
Then I read an article about a mom who was struggling just like I am- time and money just are not avaialable for weekly date nights. Her solution was to try something new each week after the kids were in bed, one night each week for one hour they would do something together, something new. One week she bought a few different cheeses and they had a cheese tasting hour together while they talked. Another night they bought a board game and just had fun. A third night they had a beer tasting evening and got slightly drunk while enjoying each other's company. I can't remember the fourth date. Her conclusion that setting this hour aside each week was important to their relationship. And while they were not positive they could keep it up weekly, it was something they were going to continue to do.
This Friday Jon and I are going to have our own in home date night. I planned it in to our menu and put it on the calendar just like I would if we were going out and finding a babysitter. In my life if something isn't planned it usually doesn't happen- there is just too much going on. We are keeping it simple. The kids are eating something easy and kid friendly and Jon and I are eating a stir fry (frozen that I bought months ago on sale with a coupon- I usually don't buy frozen meals but this was a really good deal) so I won't even have to work that much. I am hoping that Madeline and Owen will be interested in the movie and leave each other alone so Jon and I can just sit and talk. We may even rent a movie and continue date night after the kids are in bed as well.
If it works well I think I will add it to our calendar at least twice a month, even after new baby comes along. Jon is my husband and my best friend and I enjoy spending time with him. Sometimes even though we live in the same house days go by where I don't feel like we have really spent time together. While that is part of life when you have 2 (or more) kids, I think making our relationship a priority is important.
I'll let you know how it goes this weekend!