I read an interesting article the other day about spending quality time with your spouse after the birth of children.
Most articles I read state the same thing: You need to make sure that you have date nights and time away from the children in order to keep your marriage flourishing. Most of the articles I read suggest that you should do this one night per month.
Okay, I try to follow these "rules.´ I really do. We hired one babysitter, but she was rarely available when we needed her and so we eventually lost contact.
We then spoke to a friend of ours who has a teenaged daughter. She was all set to baby-sit and then was offered an opportunity to go to Argentina for school purposes. She was gone before we´d even had a chance to get out.
We have had family members come to visit us, but they live across the country and so we always feel hesitant about asking them to fly all the way over, pay an exorbitant airfare, and then watch our child for free.
Which is exactly why, in the past two years, my husband and I have only been out on one date night.
As in single.
As in 6 hours out on the town after dark. Two glasses of wine at a local jazz club. A movie. And some popcorn.
I always laugh when I read these articles suggesting that you get out once a month. Who can do this? Do people do this? I know that none of my friends do. My hats off to those who can, but it seems that we can barely keep scheduled appointments from day to day, not to mention a monthly standing date night.
So I read this article in a completely exasperated frame of mind. I mean, the last thing I want to hear (AGAIN) is that my husband and I should carve out one night a month when we get out of the house and go out together on a date.
So imagine my surprise when the article said that oftentimes date nights are difficult to keep and that the more important thing to do is to make the little things count.
I had to read it twice.
She didn´t suggest going out to dinner or to a movie. Instead, she said to sit down together with the television off at least once a week and talk about stuff that doesn´t involve temper tantrums, potty training, horrible teenaged boyfriends, or bad grades.
Basically, to talk about adult issues like you once did pre-children.
She also suggested remembering something that you did together before the children were born and then doing that now. Listen to your favorite "old´ songs. Dance in your living room. Rent a movie that you both love.
I find now that I have one child and another on the way it´s the little moments that you can really count on to pull you through. Trying to fit in large chunks of time or activities in a schedule that is so full it can barely budge is impossible. Trying to find ten minutes a day when you sit down and do something for yourself, or with your spouse, is manageable. And if something is manageable, it is probably something that you will do again. And again. And again.
So this weekend, if you can´t find a babysitter, don´t beat yourself up about it. Instead, rent a movie that you used to love, fix those awesome margaritas that remind you of your honeymoon in Cancun, and snuggle up on the sofa with a plate of crackers and cheese.
You don´t need to travel far to make a moment count.