Of course, we ALWAYS leave room for dessert…
During the week, we are buried by demands and commitments, both our own and our children’s. There’s work, school, extra-curricular activities, birthday parties, the social calendar, the family engagements. The calendar is kicking our keister. There is no time, both literally and figuratively. We simply don’t have the mental bandwidth to talk to our co-parents, our partners, the loves of our lives, about anything other than carpools and shopping lists that never shrink and what’s for dinner tomorrow.
We talk about balance, and the lack thereof for a full time working mom. We talk about self care and the need for me-time to restore our mental well being so we can in turn properly care for others. But there is very little dialogue out there about something else that carries a significant weight on the ever-tipping scale- our significant others.
Date night is a game changer. If you’re not doing it at all, start today. If you get to it only occasionally, do it more often. Spending two hours sitting across from the person you share your bed with every night might sound redundant, but it’s restorative. It’s fun, it’s different, and it’s therapeutic for your relationship. So peel your kids off your legs when they hear the babysitter is coming again, and get to it! Some reasons why you need date night to make it right:
- Victory is being the best mom and the best employee ever- but what about the best wife? Just when you think you’ve conquered it all, your husband asks you if you heard what he said or were you too busy checking your Facebook feed again. Uh-oh. Someone isn’t getting the amount of attention they need- and deserve. Sounds like it’s time to put down the phone, disconnect from the office, and stop worrying about the kids’ reading logs. It’s easy to take your marriage for granted because it’s till death do us part. But if you’re someone who takes satisfaction in perfecting her various roles, dedicating time to be a great partner is a biggie.
- Eating a meal neither of you cooked, that neither of you have to clean up is NOT the same as eating at home. Even if you’re not feeding little mouths, at home meals are a lot of work, and with work comes stress. If the steak isn’t cooked properly, there’s no one to blame but the kitchen. If your wine glass is empty, you’re not getting up to open a new bottle. Let someone else take care of it all, so the two of you can talk- really talk- uninterrupted for the first time all week.
- Friends are fun, but they aren’t folding your laundry. It’s easy to think this box is already checked because you have plenty of time at dinner with your partner when you go out with other couples, but there’s a different dynamic at those social dinners. Men and women tend to self-segregate right off the bat, and before you know it, dinner is over, and you barely exchanged anything with your spouse except maybe a split Caesar salad appetizer. As your social calendar fills up (btw congrats if you have that many friends!!), make sure you leave a night or two open each month to spend real quality time with the teammate you chose for this amazing race of life. It will make things run more smoothly when you’re being attacked by the week ahead.
- Your identity as a couple will thank you. Remember the days when you slept till noon, took long walks with your dog in Central Park, and watched Monk marathons on TNT before DVR was a thing? No, neither do I. But there was a time when you just existed as a couple, and enjoyed each other’s company, and laughed and loved without thinking about any day but today. That’s where it all began, and although your coupledom has come a long ways, and changed an awful lot, maintaining that identity and reminding yourselves of simpler, more unencumbered times will propel you forward into a beautiful, if not more complicated, future.
Go ahead, ask your husband on a date. Eat, drink, and be merry. Grab some mints for the kids on your way home. It may seem frivolous to waste precious time and money on your old ball and chain, but the finance professional in me sees it more as an investment that will pay dividends.