For parents in the trenches, it is so easy to forget about taking time to connect with our spouses in the midst of all the things we have going on with school, work, activities, running a busy home, and the sometimes herculean effort of getting all the kids to bed. You’re not alone if date night is one of the first things you push to the bottom of the to-do list.
PlanHero™ was created to give parents time for what matters, and whether it’s spending time making memories or strengthening bonds, everyone needs a break from the chaos of life to focus on the basics. But how much time are we spending alone with our significant other? Not enough, according to a recent Care.com study. 85% of parents wish they could go on more dates, and 88% of parents report feeling closer to their partner after date night.
This makes so much sense. How likely are you to feel warm and fuzzy toward your husband after climbing Mt. Laundry at 11 PM versus after eating a nice dinner out? Just the idea of wearing something besides yoga pants and eating food someone else cooked for me is swoon-worthy, and apparently date nights are more important for our relationship than we think, which is enough of a reminder for me.
Years ago I hit a point in my motherhood career where I was teetering dangerously toward burnout. I knew it was bad when I saw myself as the perpetual bad cop and enforcer of rules. I felt resentful when the kids would shriek Daddyyyyyyy! as my husband entered the house, so much so I half-expected to see a cape unfurling in the wind behind him, his fists firmly planted on his hips as he announced (in my head) that Super Fun Daddy was home. I started viewing myself as the wizened shrew in the background, shaking my wooden spoon and scolding everyone in sight.
In theory, I have always known we shouldn’t take our kids’ behavior personally, and being the bad cop sometimes comes with the territory. Of course, in theory I also know it’s possible to drop all the baby weight by eating less and doing planks while helping the kids with homework.
I started fantasizing about my husband coming home, presenting me with a gin and tonic, my updated passport, a briefcase of unmarked bills and the instructions to “go get lost for a while.” I feel it’s imperative to be specific with one’s daydreams just in case the whole Secret visualize-it-and-it-will-happen thing is really true. And frankly, this fantasy was an upgrade from the one where I faked my own death and ran away to a tropical island to operate a shrimp shack. It’s important to be realistic.
In an effort to stave off my premature demise, my husband arranged for us to go away for the weekend. We found
victims good friends to take the kids while we escaped to a resort in the desert. For two blissful days we were a just a couple. Two people dancing under the stars, lingering over an expensive dinner, with no worries over whether or not the bedroom door was locked. I had to be peeled away, my arms wrapped around a palm tree, when the time came to leave.
Our children were not as rejuvenated by our decision to have adult time. “It’s not fair! We are a family! You can’t go places without us!” Still heady from the alone time, I simply smirked. My ten year-old blinked at me, quiet for a moment.
“Did you and Daddy actually swim without us?”
I looked at my husband. Without missing a beat he said, “Marco.”
I walked out of the room, calling over my shoulder, “Polo.”