The Importance of Date Night
In the last 2 weeks, Brian and I have had two date nights. Say whaaaaaat?!
We get so tied up in the mundane, the routine, and the everyday tasks that life throw at us, that we rarely take time for ourselves. But now that we have 2 girls, there are days (yes, days...) that we go without talking about anything other than feeding schedules and our eldest's "terrible twos" attitude. It's usually kept brief because by the time Brian gets home, I'm already half asleep on the couch watching Planet Earth with at least one sleeping kid on my lap.
Brian has a demanding job and schedule, keeps ridiculous hours, and even when he is home, he's usually putting out fires over the phone. I juggle all #domesticgoddess duties (laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, etc)., keeping 2 kids alive, and work 20-ish hours a week as a digital marketing consultant.
It's no wonder we don't have time for ourselves. But as we get more and more invested in giving our girls all our attention and finding time for work, I find ourselves losing any scrap of identity we previously had as a couple.
That is why date night is so important.
Marriage is a Priority
For all parents, not just us, having a relationship outside of deciding who's turn it is to change the baby's diaper is crucial. Keeping our marriage a priority tends to fall between the cracks of daily life, when it should be at the forefront of our lives. Being "mom and dad" is something to be incredibly proud of, but we need to connect on a "husband and wife" level, too. Finding something to do (with just the two of us) and connect on a deeper level keeps the fire lit and allows us to be better parents.
Date nights make a difference. It reinforces the importance of our marriage and makes a public statement about our relationship. It isn't just about trying out a new restaurant or going to see a movie - for married couples, date night has meaning.
When Brian and I go out for the elusive date night, we love trying new restaurants and indulging on incredibly food and cocktails. But we get a chance to really talk about life and us and for those few hours, I don't hear the word "MOMMY!" once. I get to be myself, and a wife. That's all. And Brian's doesn't have to juggle any titles, just be Husband.
Take time to have uninterrupted conversations about each other, your lives, and reconnect on a deeper, more intimate level. Taking care of your marriage needs to be a priority as parents.
Shows Your Kids A Healthy Relationship
Having a date night once a month is just as good for the kids as it is for you and your spouse. By strengthening your marriage, you are demonstrating what a healthy relationship looks like. Kids thrive when they get to grow up witnessing their parents' solid marriage.
But it's also good for the kids to learn that it's OK to be away from mom and dad for a little. It gives the kids a chance to form relationships with other adults, whether it's a grandparent, aunt or uncle, or babysitter. Having other adults they can learn from and rely on will only help them as they grow up.
Keep Date Night Sacred
Anything could be considered a date, as long as it's just you and your spouse, but keep date night a little sacred. Don't count a trip to Lowes or running errands as a date - it's an extension of your familial and household duties. You aren't given the chance to really sit down and just focus on your marriage and significant other.
Let date night be something that lets you just sit and talk or spend quality time together without any distractions. It doesn't have to be fancy! For goodness sake, our first date night (and my first time without Delaney since she was born) was at a sports bar for Brian's work party. But we got out of the house, wore real clothes, and had time to really talk and spend time together. We even threw back a few beers and played a crappy game of beer pong #toooldforthat
But our second night out was much more our "style." We were visiting Brian's hometown and introducing Delaney to all our friends there - which meant dinner at our favorite restaurant and then drinks at our friend's brewery. We don't go all out for date night, but we make it special and we make it about us. That's the most important part.
Something I'm learning is to not feel guilty about date night. Don't be worried that your kids will be traumatized by you going out without them (honestly, they need a break from you as much as you need a break from them sometimes!). Making excuses will only make you resent date night - don't be thinking about all the things you could be doing instead. The dishes can wait, the laundry will get done, and the house can wait to get cleaned for a few hours.