The other night I had dinner with a dear friend and we chatted about how we’d like to feel more connected to our partners. Years in the parenting trenches has meant we’ve lost a bit of our couple sparkle, but I don’t feel bad about that. I know we’re not the only tired parents to feel this way.
Over entree I floated the idea of a weekender sans kids with her. As I did this I could feel my heart rate rising though – so much organising and kid logistics to work out! Plus, we really can’t afford that sort of expense right now. Then my friend suggested something better:
“Why don’t you both take an annual leave day off work and have a day date when the boys are at kindy? So drop them off and go out for a long coffee. Then do something you both love, like a bush walk or even go and see a movie in the middle of the day. You could have a picnic lunch or just have fish and chips on the beach and chat, like really chat and laugh, without one of the boys interrupting. Then when you pick up the kids, they’ll be none the wiser that they weren’t included in your day date, but you’ll both feel the benefit of it.”
Her idea is golden and I do plan on doing exactly what she suggested, but it made me think, what are some other things we can do to reconnect with our loves, that’s cheaper than a weekender?
Here’s what we came up with.
1. Have a date at home
‘Date night’ is a thing for many couples and I do get it. It’s a chance to feel warm and fuzzy with your main man and also escape the house, dirty washing and screaming kids. The problem I’ve always had with it is that I’m usually too tired after a day of mumming to get dressed up and go out. That and babysitting makes it an exy night out.
Enter the home date.
Unlike regular nights at home, the ‘home date’ is like ‘date night’, in that it happens once a week on a designated night. Pop it on the calendar and plan to order takeaway. Then when it rolls around, ignore all the chores that need doing, open a bottle of wine and just watch a movie snuggling up on the couch together.
2. Have an actual date
Of course if you can muster up the energy and have babysitting on hand, there’s nothing like a night out to make you feel carefree and connected again to your one and only. Get out of your mum frump clothes and go to your old pre-kids favourite restaurant. Never underestimate the magic of a bit of us time out of the house.
3. Have a quickie date
Then sometimes ‘date night’ just isn’t on the cards. That’s okay, I personally don’t get how other people manage to do it every week. Instead of a big night out, try to sneak in some quickie dates.
These might happen when you take your little ones to visit grandma. Milk the fact that she’s loving this precious time with her grandchildren and duck out for a quick coffee together, or go for a walk around the block. Simply enjoying being able to talk together uninterrupted can do wonders.
4. Give the gift of time
I don’t know about you, but I always feel more sparkly and rejuvenated when I’ve had a great time with my friends, away from my kids, hubby and home.
If you can’t have time alone together, make sure you allow one another to have some doing the things that make you both happy as individuals. When we feel happy in ourselves it lifts our mood and is contagious to those around us.
5. Give the gift of sleep
It’s hard to connect when you both feel too exhausted to even talk to each other. On the weekends, tag team having some power naps. You’ll not only both feel refreshed but you’ll also appreciate your partner all the more for it. Then you might even have the energy to chat about all the things you’d love to do if you had the brain power.
Also, don’t let sleep resentment (when one person gets more than the other) erode you. Address it and try to work through it together.
6. Give the gift of intimacy
Sex (if you are up for it) is wonderful for feeling connected, but if you’re not (and that’s also totally normal post-babies), then remember to enjoy intimacy in other ways. Cuddles, peaky kisses and talking as much as you can, when you can, will all help you to feel connected with your partner in life and parenting. A ‘dry patch’ can turn into a drought before you know it but sometimes we let the other areas of intimacy also slide.