|July 1st, 2006-- just married!|
So what do we do? Does this mean I have to settle for only talking to my husband on birthdays and special occasions? No, rather, we make it a point to spend time alone with each other EVERY night!
It's really as easy as 1-2-3:
1) Have a scheduled, early bed time for your kids.
This is the first, and most important, rule! It doesn't necessarily have to be a set-in-stone "be-in-bed-at-9:00-or-you-will-be-turned-into-a-pumpkin", but we do have a general bedtime "guideline" that I aim for when getting the kids ready for bed. For my 18-month-old, it is between 7:30 and 8:00 (although he occasionally stays up for our evening family devotions if he has had a longer afternoon nap)... for my 4- and 5-year old, is is between 8:30 and 9:00 PM. If you have an older child, you may want to allow them to read quietly in their room for awhile, but "lights out" should still be no later than 10:00.
Not only does this make time for you and your spouse to spend time alone, but according to the National Sleep Foundation, kids need a lot more sleep than adults do-- so they should be going to bed several hours earlier than you anyway!
Note: If you have a baby, I cannot say enough about getting him or her on a (loose) schedule (I know, babies are highly unpredictable, but if you follow a general routine in wake-times and bedtimes, it will save your sanity... and greatly help your marriage! No husband OR wife likes to be interrupted mid-cuddle!) ;) With my three babies, I loosely adapted the schedule recommended in "My First 300 Babies"-- again, it's more of a guideline/routine than a strict minute-by-minute schedule when they are newborn! :)
Once the kids are in bed, it's MOMMY & DADDY TIME!
2) Spend time TOGETHER!
"Okay, so it's 9:00 and the kiddos are in bed... does this mean I can go and work on my craft project till Hubby comes in from the garage?" :) Sorry, but NO! (That might be okay once in a VERY long while, but doing that often would totally defeat the purpose of more TOGETHER TIME!) If the kids are in bed, and your hubby is still embroiled in a project (as hubbies often are...), how about going and joining him? (And if you give him some nice, longing looks, he may even cut his project short to come inside and spend time with you!) As a matter of fact, some of my favorite "together memories" are of "helping" my Superman restore his 1953 Chevrolet pickup (or work on one of his many other projects) in the evenings after the kids were asleep! Whether it's holding a wrench as he works on a car, or just sitting beside him with your head on his shoulder, I guarantee you will be having a LOT more fun than if you were holed up in your craft room fuming because he isn't coming to bed yet! ;)
You may even want to do a special activity together-- maybe a fun game or a special "dinner-at-home"! We're not as good at doing these, but Six Sisters Stuff put together a great list of "Stay-At-Home Date Ideas" here:
But it doesn't always have to be a "special activity" to be fun! Case in point: two evenings ago, hubby came home from work to find that 6 inches of snow had fallen on our driveways and parking lot during the day! He had no choice but to plow it that evening-- a process that takes several hours. So he told me, "Put the kids to bed early, and come out and plow with me!" As soon as dinner was over, I started the kiddos' bedtime routine (even though it was about an hour earlier than usual-- thankfully they're too young yet to notice! LOL) as he went out and started plowing. All three kiddos were in bed by 7:30, and I bundled up and went out and joined him in the plow truck as we drove in circles around the parking lot and driveways of our building (we live in a parsonage-apartment in our church). I got to lean on his shoulder as he showed off his snow-driving skills for the next hour-and-a-half-- and he even bought me an ice-cream cone when we stopped for fuel at the little gas station on the corner! It was a blast of a mini-date, and it was all while the kids were asleep!!! (Note: if you plan on going outside of the house while kids are sleeping, use a baby monitor to keep an ear on them, and don't go outside of its range-- and routinely go inside and check on them.)
Even if you don't feel like staying up late playing a game, or doing a project together, though, you can still spend time connecting with each other. See #3...
3) Go to bed TOGETHER!
Yes, this is sort of the same thing as #2, but I can't say it enough-- if you want to spend time together, you have to BE together! And it doesn't always have to be something special... just be together! Got it? TOGETHER! :) (Did I say that enough? LOL) If you take showers in the evening (and it's a good idea, at least if you plan on being in close proximity to each other!), then take them together! You don't have to necessarily be in the shower at the same time, but you can hang out in the bathroom and chat about each other's day while the other one's showering, or blow-drying their hair, or shaving! ;)
Then it's bedtime.... and what you do is your business ;) We like to unwind together most evenings by watching a DVD of something (usually an episode of NCIS, or Psych, or an oldie like Andy Griffith... something that doesn't take all night!), usually while we eat a little snack. Or, we might skip the movie and just chat! ;) (Occasionally we'll even have a serious discussion about something that's bothering one of us... I have found that it's generally easier to resolve things when you're "stuck" in close proximity to each other!) Either way, we always end up feeling VERY close to each other by the time we fall asleep... ;)
|Six years and three kids later-- still in love!|
So what do you do as a couple when traditional "dinner dates" are difficult to come by?
Parties I link to:Sunday:
- Nifty Thrifty Things: Nifty Thrifty Sunday
- Southern Hospitality Blog: Thrifty Treasures
- Under the Table and Dreaming: Sunday Showcase Party
- Craft-O-Maniac: Craft-O-Maniac Mondays
- DebbieDoos: Newbie Party
- Flour Me With Love: Mix-It-Up Monday
- This Gal Cooks (formerly Jam's Corner): Marvelous Mondays Link Party
- Adventures Of a DIY Mom: Terrific Tuesdays
- Coastal Charm: Nifty Thrifty Tuesday
- Elizabeth & Co.: Be Inspired Link Party
- Kathe With An E: You're Gonna Love It Tuesday
- Mercy Ink Blog: All Things Heart & Home Link-up
- My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia: Tuesday's Treasures
- The Winthrop Chronicles: Share It Link Party
- Embracing Change: Creative Inspirations Link Party
- Hooking Up w/ House of Hepworths
- The 36th Avenue: Party Time!
- Uncommon: Uncommonly Yours Link Party
- Vintage Gwen: Show & Share
- Live, Laugh, Rowe: Live Laugh Linky Thursday
- My Repurposed Life: Catch As Catch Can
- The Shabby Creek Cottage: Transformation Thursday
- Two Yellow Birds Decor: Thursday's Temptation
- A Heart 4 Home: Finished Friday
- Chic on a Shoestring Decorating: Flaunt It Friday
- Decorating Insanity: Furniture Friday
- Five Days, Five Ways: Feature Friday Free-for-All
- Here Comes the Sun: Fabulous Friday
- Jennifer Rizzo: Fabulously Creative Friday
- Miss Mustard Seed: Furniture Feature Friday
- The Cottage Market: Junkin' Joe Party
- Two Sasters: TGIF Party