- Posted August 20, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Confessions from imperfect parents
Date night or bust
I have to be honest. I'm amazed at the number of people I talk to who tell me they haven't had a date night in months - or even years. It happens for these reasons:
1) They are too busy
2) They don't have a sitter and/or don't know how to find one
3) They say they don't even think about it now that they have kids
4) They feel guilty leaving their kiddos for a couple hours with someone else
So, here's what I think about date nights, and why I refuse to live without them:
You have to lead by example.
Your kids should see how important your marriage is to you. It should have a priority in your family life and in your schedule. It models a healthy marriage and provides your children with a sense of stability. They need to see mommy and daddy enjoy spending time with each other and make it a priority in their busy lives. Yes, even ahead of the constant whining demands of the children - which will always be there waiting for you. I know, what a concept!
Your kids will get over it.
If they can't survive a couple hours without you - how will they ever cope when they start preschool? Do you want them to go through a dramatic and emotional separation faze during school or do you want to ensure they are adjusted before that day comes? What about today when you need to go to the bathroom and they are clutching your leg as if they will die without you for 2 minutes? Do you want to teach them to believe the world revolves around them? I'm sure you don't. The truth of the matter is, it's healthy to spend occasional time alone - it's healthy for them and for you. They will survive and so will you! This is also a great time for you to learn how to trust other people with your children. That day will come eventually, you can't hide from it forever! They will still love you, even if at first it takes some time for them to warm up to the idea.
Your husband needs to see that HE is a priority to you.
You can't spend every waking moment together changing diapers, talking about boogers and delegating who's going to clean up the cherrios from the floor this time. You need adult time. You need time to remember you are still an adult capable of having conversations that don't end every word with the sound "eee." It's not selfish, its sanity. If your marriage isn't strong, how can your parenting as a team be?
Trustworthy babysitters do exist, inexpensively.
You can call your school, church, family or friends for references. You don't have to go out into an unknown pool of advertisements filled with strangers and strange references. Always trust your instincts when deciding on a sitter and chose carefully but do take the time to find one. If money is an issue, consider bartering with a friend every other weekend. They will probably be just as thankful for you!
Assess priorities, achieve balance, repeat.
So you're too busy. That only happens if your life is out of balance. Someone or something is getting way too much of your time at the cost of everyone else. Maybe its your job - which generally means you are living way above your financial means and not exercising enough thriftiness. If you are telling yourself you're saving up free time for after the kids grow up - you'll be spending your golden years with a stranger, if you even make it that far! If you have a job that is THAT demanding, you might want to consider looking for a new one - or in a few years time, and I've seen this too many times, you will be looking for a new husband instead. Your man did not get married to you with the intent of signing up to be alone and ignored and put at the bottom of our priority list. There are a lot of men who will usually end up in the arms of someone else who gives them that attention they sought from their wives.
Bottom line - you are given the gift of children and a marriage to enjoy them both. Use this opportunity of having both to grow as a family, a couple and an individual, guilt free and for the better!