|hanging out while our boys were playing with friends|
Clearly it's a topic that's important to a lot of families. I think in a lot of ways, marriage maintenance after having kids is a lot like marriage maintenance before having kids, in that you have to do it on purpose, you have to pay attention, you have to put forth effort. It's just that after having kids, we are totally distracted by our needy offspring. I say "I think" because our first child was born 10 months (and 1 day, if you want to be specific) after our wedding. We don't really know much about marriage without kids.
The magazine lists always include these in some way: keep dating, flirt, have sex, share kid-related tasks, and something about dads pitching in around the house. I'm going to focus on the first one because it is a particular challenge for us. Even when were "dating," it was a long-distance relationship (and for a year an extremely long-distance relationship), so we didn't go on dates much. Now we have to find a babysitter, and our kids hate babysitters, and Ben isn't used to being away from me and screams the whole time until he passes out on my pillow... We average about one real babysitter date per year right now. We find ways to date without a babysitter.
1. Post-bedtime dessert date. We wait until the boys are asleep, then sit on the couch and have dessert together in peace and quiet. Sometimes we talk about grown-up things; sometimes we are so exhausted we say nothing at all.
2. Restaurant with a playground. One of our favorite Saturday lunch spots has a playground. There are tables right next to the slide. The boys play with minimal supervision, Rodgers and I sip Malindi macchiatos, and none of us minds if it takes them too long to cook our lunch.
3. Use naptime. Our boys still nap most days. Once they're asleep, we have one-and-a-half to three hours to ourselves, to do whatever we want.
4. Lunch dates (when kids are in school). This is one I intend to implement when Ben starts school next year!