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Save the Date: you won’t want to miss it!

November 5, 2014

champagne heartIf you don’t have kids, you might think I’m crazy for bringing this up. Hell, most of you probably think I’m crazy anyway. Back to what I was saying. If you don’t yet have kids but are planning a family, or if your children are young and overwhelming, hear me out.

Go on dates with your HusbandWifePartnerMate (HWPM). For the sake of your relationship and children, make it happen. Don’t get me wrong, taking your kids places is a great idea. When The Boy was but two weeks old, we took him to Mellow Mushroom. We planned the outing based on his feed schedule and held our breath. He only cried a bit, but it was that sweet newborn cry that no one seems to mind.

We took him so many places back then. None of our friends had kids yet, and he was a very easy baby. If the dinner was early enough, along he came. We knew our boundaries, though. Sometimes, kids aren’t welcome. We got babysitters (thank goodness for my In-Laws) and went out with friends. Our kids are seasoned restaurant patrons, knowing their manners and to sit still at the table. They sit through church every Sunday. Our life didn’t slow down because we had children. Although some obvious adjustments were made, we brought the kids in to our life, instead of watching it all come to a screeching halt.

That’s all good and well, but in my short 12.5 year marriage, I’ve learned that one on one HWPM time is crucial. Not to bring it up again, but you people without kids are probably saying, “obviously! Just go out!” It’s not that easy. So many parents, especially first-timers, fear leaving their kids too soon. If breastfeeding, it seems impossible. Getting a sitter, a trustworthy caregiver, is hard work, especially on a weekend.

At the risk of sounding like an ad campaign, just do it. Do it before it’s too late. Go on a date. You owe it to yourselves.

Our babies are precious and wonderful. They’re fun and constantly learning new things, none of which we want to miss. Life is busy. Look, I get it. These dadgum kids are a full time job, what with their play rehearsals, piano lessons, homework, and everything else. The adults are busy too. We are tired.

Our babies are so precious, we’d like to show them to everyone. Why would we need a babysitter, when we can just tote the little cherubs along? Because your HWPM deserves your time and your undivided attention. You deserve theirs.

If money is the issue, be creative. Not all dates have to include roses and an expensive dinner. On many nights, when we couldn’t find a babysitter, we put the kids to bed (often early), and grilled steaks at home. A date is whatever you make it. Is this week nuts? Mine is. Schedule a coffee date. Set an early alarm.

The other night, I was disappointed that our date night plans were slowly unraveling. I stayed in a generally bad mood, trying not to make an issue of it. Our kids are unusually busy for the next few weeks, and we’re pretty overscheduled, too. What was supposed to be dinner at our favorite restaurant, while both kids were at play practice (free babysitter!) turned into a night of building the set for the kids’ next play. I pouted. “We are too busy,” I said. “How can we not even get a free night for dinner?” We made it work. I bought an especially nice bottle of wine, which we drank while we worked on building the set. Okay, to be fair, he built the set. I talked his ear off and marveled at his ability to build things. I asked to help, but I was relieved of my duties when I not only stripped the screw but ruined the drill bit. Oops.

The point is, it was still a date. It was time we set aside, without our children, to reconnect. If we don’t do it now, when will we? When the kids are in college? By then, we’ll have so much catching up to do. We’ll barely know each other anymore.

If you’re nursing, put the baby down between feedings and talk to your HWPM. If you’re broke, wait until the kids go to bed, and talk to your HWPM. Go to dinner together. Drink wine together. If you don’t drink wine, pour whatever you like. Leave the kids at home from time to time. No, not alone. They aren’t dogs, and a bowl of water in the yard will not suffice. Share stories. Hold hands. Laugh.

One of the best gifts you can give your children is the love you have for your HWPM. It’s up to you. Start tonight. Make it a date, y’all. Cheers!

*originally published in the Metro Spirit, Augusta GA on October 29, 2014

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 5, 2014 10:06 pm

    It is most important to continue the date night through the years as you must remain connected as a couple otherwise you could lose that connection and love that you have built. You are so right! ♥ Cheers to you!

  2. Elizabeth Smith permalink
    November 6, 2014 7:46 am

    Jenny, you are so cute. Date night is crucial for many reasons. We learned early on, put your marriage first and your kids second. I really didn’t understand that when they were so demanding. Brent could take care of himself, but my kids needed me, right? Well, thank God we did make time for each other when they were small as it kept our marriage stronger to face the bigger issues that were to come. The teens years are the years that test the strength of your union. You know my story. Biggest mistake to make as a parent of a teen is to try to hide from “dad” the little things that may arise, because as you know, little things can turn into big things. Once I realized that Brent and I were unified on the teen issues, with full disclosure from one to the other, we could tackle the problems that our teens faced.They knew that the TWO of us were there to love, support, reprimand, and help them through the perils of becoming a young adult.

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