Make Time For Each Other
By: Erica Grace
When our daughter was born, my husband and I were absolutely drunk with joy. We both fell into parenthood very naturally and with a loving respect for our new roles. Two years later, we still feel the same way. Watching our daughter grow into a little thinking, active and creative person with a personality all of her own has given us more pleasure than we could ever have imagined. However, one lesson he and I have discovered is that it is extremely easy to get caught up in the roles of mom and dad and to forget that we also have two other very important roles in life, which would be that of husband and wife.
One thing we learned as parents of a little one is that there is never enough time in the day. My husband diligently goes to work every day and I am a stay-at-home mom with absolutely zero time in the day for myself. At night, my husband comes home to a frazzled looking wife who is busy preparing two meals, one for us and another for our food finicky daughter while she clings to my pant leg as Iím standing in front of a hot stove. Does any of this sound familiar? Dinners are usually rushed shoveling in a meal in two minutes that took me 45 minutes to prepare. During mealtime, we are often too busy to talk to each other because we are preoccupied trying to convince our daughter to eat her food, or cleaning up the food she has dropped on the floor, or making her other meals if she doesnít like what I have served her. By the time dinner and dishes are done, we are usually frazzled. We continue our evening with my husband wrestling with our daughter on the floor, which they both love, we play puzzles with her or play dollhouse. Anything we can think of that will fulfill her needs for that evening.
Bedtime has never been easy with our daughter. She has always been a complete night owl and no matter what we have tried, we have never been able to get her down before 10:00-10:30 p.m. at night. When we hear from other parents that their children are all in bed by 8:00 p.m. we become completely filled with envy. Our routine is that we all get ready for bed at the same time so that we are consistent; we climb into bed about 9:00 p.m. hoping that she will calm down and snuggle while we try to watch prime time TV for an hour. Hopefully, after snuggling up with her and rubbing her back she will be asleep by the time the news is on. By that time, my husband and I absolutely pass out from exhaustion. Believe me, I am truly not complaining! We understand that this is the way of life while there are little ones in the house. We have an incredible life together and a wonderful family and Ií m sure our lives are only as frantic as any other parents out there with small children. But, before long, we also realized we need to take time out for just the two of us.
I remember last year, for our wedding anniversary, we made a simple date night out of the evening by going to dinner and a movie. We sat at the restaurant completely entranced in each otherís faces and savoring every uninterrupted sentence that came out of each other mouths. It was pure heaven. It took us a year and half to realize that even though we are now parents, we can still go out and enjoy each others company from time to time. The time alone rekindled all of the loving feelings we have for each other and we were able to reconnect on a husband and wife level. That evening, we realized how important it is to make time for just ourselves. From that night on, we set a goal of having one date night a month with just the two of us. Before that evening, we often times found ourselves socializing with other friends or groups of people. But, we found that itís also really valuable to spend time alone to enjoy each other.
My advice to you is if you are lucky enough to live in the same town as members of your family, take advantage of that fact. Allow them to baby-sit for you once a month. I guarantee they will love spending time with your child and will enjoy being able to help you out. If neither of you has family near-by, find yourself a qualified baby sitter, or swap baby-sitting nights with a neighbor or friend once a month. Go out to dinner, or go to the movie youíve wanted to see. Go out for drinks and just talk, pack a picnic, or go to a concert or play. These experiences will only enhance your relationship making you a better and more fulfilled partner to your spouse and a more relaxed and happier parent your child. Take the time out and learn enjoy each other again.
Erica Grace is the proud mother of two children. In her free time she is a freelance writer and also an advice columnist for IowaMoms.com. To contact her for advice email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Look for her response in the "Ask Erica Column" at IowaMoms.com.