Monday, June 4, 2018

When Date Night Becomes A Chore

Things have been pretty silent around these parts for the last few months. Life has been in full swing. Brad’s work schedule shifts between totally manageable and totally insane busy. Mothering two little ones is my continued joy and I can truly say that I love it. I’ve thrown myself into it and it’s been busy and beautiful. Brad is serving with the youth at our church which takes him away on Wednesday evenings. I’m serving in the women’s organization which takes me away on Tuesday evenings and some Thursday evenings. We joke that we can’t survive without our calendars, but it’s actually mostly true. Who will be home with the girls on which days? What time can we squeeze in a quick family dinner each night? When is your big project due? Will you be home in time for a date on Friday, or should we move it to Saturday? I have an extra meeting next week—can you be home both nights? Who will pick up the dry cleaning? Can you pick up the grocery order on your way home tomorrow? When are we ever going to get that overdue oil change?? 

So unfortunately, having an intentional date night has just become one more item on my to-do list. I didn’t mean for it to happen. I didn’t even realize I was doing it. I was absolutely still looking forward to date night, but then suddenly it was Friday and I realized we hadn’t planned anything and suddenly it became just one more thing to do. One more thing to put on the calendar. I wasn’t intentional. I wasn’t treating date night any differently than I was treating my Tuesday night meeting. A couple weeks ago, Brad mentioned that it had been quite awhile since we had gone on a legitimate date night out and told me he’d like to get a sitter for the weekend and make it happen. I instantly went into calendar mode. Did we have time? Could I bear to leave my girls? Couldn’t we just play another game after the girls went to bed? And then it hit me. I wasn’t treating date night as something special. I needed to refocus. 

So I was beyond excited when my friend Justine reached out to me and told me that she was going to do a second year of her Revive Date Night series. Because boy! Do I ever need to revive date night around here. I’m committing to doing three things to get out of my date night rut and make date night fun again. 

  1. Leave my watch (and mental calendar) at home. I am so guilty of turning date night into a planning meeting with my husband. I talk about how the girls are doing, any upcoming plans we need to coordinate, when Brad’s next work project is due, etc. And I check my watch about twenty times because I’m so worried about getting home to nurse the baby. But I’m going to leave my watch behind from now on. The baby is 7 months old. I generally get her down before I leave on a date. And if I don’t, she can go a four hour stretch or more without nursing. And if she can’t, I have milked pumped and in the freezer. I need to be present with my man. 
  2. Allow some spontaneity. I’ve become quite the planner in the last year. If Brad suggests something for date night that I hadn’t been planning on for days, I’m struggling to just go with it. (What about bedtime for the girls? What about getting a sitter? I don’t want to call my parents last minute and surely I’m not ready to leave the baby with the neighbor girl...) but I’m committing to letting myself be spontaneous. I’m going to be more flexible and go with the flow. I’m going to run to the soda shop for a favorite treat on a Thursday night. I’m going to dance in the kitchen. I’m going to go for an early morning walk and still hold hands even while pushing the girls in their strollers. Date night can be fun and exciting, even after kids! 
  3. Treat date night like it’s something special. My biggest commitment is to remember WHY we committed to a weekly date night when we got married. We didn’t do it to have a full calendar. We didn’t do it because it was a check list chore. We did it to reconnect. To keep the love alive. To step away from the daily grind for even just an hour or two and prioritize our marriage and our commitment to each other. So I’m going to treat date night like it’s something special. Even when it’s just a game night at home (because let’s be real... I’m still not ready to leave the baby all that often if ever), I’m going to make a big deal of it. I’m going to wear a little blush and put on a fresh shirt that doesn’t have baby drool down the front and sweet potato purée on the sleeve. I’m going to have a legitimate conversation that isn’t about schedules and deadlines. I’m going to treat it unlike any other day of the week. 
Date night after kids can be fun and exciting. It can give you the recharge on your relationship that you need after a week of diaper changes, grocery store tantrums, and never ending laundry. It can be the cherry on top of a week of laughter, books, hugs, cuddles, and giggles. Either way, it's so important to keep date night alive after kids. 


Does anyone else feel like Date Night became just a calendar item recently? What will you do to revive date night? Make sure to follow along with Justine as she posts new ideas to #ReviveDateNight on her new Instagram hub @revive.date.night





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