One of our new year’s intentions for 2019 is to make sure that we take enough time to ourselves as a couple. We came to this conclusion after realizing in January that the last time we’d been out on a date alone together was September, which ended in me vomiting into a dirty movie theater toilet during the last 30 minutes of A Quiet Place, a movie of which we’ve still not seen the end. Thankfully, the stomach issues were due to the greasy pizza, soda, and popcorn I’d consumed and not the company. But it sort of got us to thinking about the fact that we’d only gone out two or three times before that within the entire calendar year, and so…it was time to make some adjustments.
It’s sort of embarrassing to admit that we could go through an entire twelve months having only gone on four dates. Eek. But it was true, and probably pretty true the year before that, too…and the year before that. If we’re being real, we’ve probably been on an average of three to four dates a year since we got married, mainly because we were celebrating our first wedding anniversary with a two-month-old at home. But I can’t be the only working mama of two little ones who blinks and has watched six months go by without so much as a manicure, let alone a dinner in an adult restaurant with my husband…right? Am I alone in this? I can’t be. Though, if my Facebook and Instagram feeds are to be believed, I'm in a quiet place of my own on this and everyone has a thriving, romantic relationship outside of their kids.
Thankfully for my psyche, I don't fully believe Facebook and Instagram, because I know at least some of you mamas have forgotten to date your spouse just like I did. Not because you don't want to, but because somewhere along the way, it fell off of your priority list and got replaced with meal prep and schedule-managing of four people and your Amazon Prime account started getting more attention than your relationship.
So, taking the advice of Rachel Hollis (see her book over on the Stuff I Love page for your own inspiration) we decided to start dating each other again. Because I can’t be the only mama out there who opens her closet and realizes she doesn’t have anything but work outfits and sweats to wear on a night out. I can’t be the only mama out there who gets exhausted by the idea of getting dressed up to go out after the kids go down, as terrible as that sounds to say out loud. And I can’t be the only mama out there who got ready for date night last month by putting on eight different outfits and deciding that I was too chubby and unattractive to be dated by my husband and so let’s just stay in, ok? No, Becky, suck it up and in, keep those thoughts at bay, and go date your husband already! And so I did, knowing how important it was that we just go. Plus, once I say something out loud and we commit to it? It. Is. ON.
Besides, as it turns out, we still really like each other and actually have stuff outside of the kids to talk about. I mean, let’s get real – when you’re in the zone of working parent life, you sometimes wonder if the two of you have just become the tall people in the house who are working together to keep those short people alive. And sometimes I feel so far from that person I was on my wedding day that I have to laugh out loud. Because investing in dry shampoo and “cute sweats” is probably not the vision Ian had for his ever-lasing love, but I also didn’t think either of us would have the “when’s the last time you showered?” conversation as frequently as we do. So, you know, life (and love) is full of surprises!
But dating my husband? It’s become a must and something we get truly excited about, and not just because I haven’t thrown up once on date night this year! Plus, we sat down one evening and had an unromantic, yet totally necessary and realistic, conversation about what was possible and what wasn’t. Once a week? Too much for us right now, both for our schedules and our budget. But once every six weeks? Definitely do-able, and I’d be lying if I said we haven’t noticed a difference. It’s amazing what a positive impact just a few hours alone together – away from the house, the kids, your pajamas, and Netflix – can have on your relationship, as it turns out.
And now that we’re coming out of the fog of tiny babies and into the chaos that is a toddler and a preschooler, taking the time to just look at each other across a table without someone shouting “MOMMY!” or throwing corn onto the floor is pretty darned dreamy. And taking the time to remind yourselves why you got the other one into this mess in the first place is crucial. Because we’re in this together, and we were the two of us before we were the four of us….and it’s nice to know that we still are, dry shampoo and all.