Getting Quality Time (sans the little one)

YIN:

There are all kinds of tips out there on how to get quality time with your significant other once the baby arrives:

• Make a date night and be sure to keep it!
• Get creative – have lunch together once a week or even just sit and talk to each other about anything other than work or the baby.
• Write each other love notes – keep it spicy!
• Buy tickets to an event. You’re less likely to skip the event if you’ve already paid for the tickets.
• Get a routine.
• And make time for yourself. You can only be a good mommy and wife if you’re relaxed and feel good!

I’m sorry but I can’t help but laugh at all the suggestions I’ve read on various sites or heard on talk shows on how to get quality time and keep your marriage interesting. It’s not that the suggestions I laid out above are stupid. I believe they work for people who are lucky enough to have regular access to a babysitter or who have the extra money to do things as a couple. But in my case, until recently, we didn’t have anyone who lived closer than 25 miles away to watch my daughter, so we saved those requests for extremely special occasions.

I get a 30 minute lunch and my husband sometimes doesn’t get to take one so that leaves that suggestion out. My husband doesn’t like to write. There go the notes. We’re pretty much strapped for cash with the daycare and diapers costs so the concerts or games we attend are few and far between. And I have a routine – once the baby is in bed I start to do laundry, wash dishes or pack lunches.  Or if I’m lucky, I get to read a little bit while my husband goes to bed around 9pm because he has to get up at 5am at least 3 times a week.

So you’re probably wondering how my husband and I spend time together. Honestly it’s hard, but we’re slowly learning how to work things in that are meaningful to us. We eat dinner together if he’s not working a closing shift. We have season tickets to my alma mater’s football team and while we’ll only get to go to two games this year we’ll be going alone without the baby. The other tickets we’ll sell on eBay to get back some of the costs (you’re probably wondering if we’re strapped for cash why we keep them – well one day our daughter will be older and we’ve had the seats for years, so it’s something we don’t want to give up in anticipation for the future). Some Sundays we’ll put the baby in the iBert and go for a bike ride as a family. We attend church together. And we’re both making an effort to be more patient and understanding with each other.

So yes it’s possible to get bits of quality time in. But don’t let the websites and books make you feel like you’re not a good wife or mother because you’re not going on a weekly date to your favorite restaurant or you’re not buying fancy negligees to parade in front of your husband. Do the best you can and make the moments count. One day the kids will be out of the house!

YANG:

Feed the baby, check. Change her diaper, check. Fold the laundry that’s been sitting in the dryer for several days now, check. Schedule quality time with hubby for tonight when we’ll we have an in-depth and tantalizing conversation over dinner, check.

Nothing spells fun like having to schedule “quality time” into an already hectic day. Spontaneity isn’t what it used to be, but this has to be done. And it actually works for us.

I mean really, in today’s hectic world, what has quality time become and what does it aim to be? The ideas Yin Mommy listed above are great and sound like a lot of fun, but in today’s hectic and budget-minded world, what’s truly realistic? Our personal ideas of quality time absolutely run the gamut from a fancy dinner date to playing archery on the Wii. And while we both agree it’s important to ourselves to spend time together sans the little one, more often than not going grocery shopping together counts as our quality time as does watching some television together once the baby is asleep.

I told my husband what this week’s theme is for our blog and jokingly he says, “Are you writing fiction?” Actually, I’m not but I can’t help but laugh at the truth in his comment. Finding time for your spouse once a baby, or two, or three, comes along is hard. And to be honest, it’s not a priority when there are diapers to change, messes to pick up after, food to be made, etc. Not to mention the exhaustion factor that anyone may be experiencing. But making time with, and for, your spouse should be a priority. After all, you’re close friends if not best friends with each other and you both need that 1-1 time without a little one demanding your attention.

As I sit here in our beach house, watching the waves lap against the dock, I’m thinking about this post. Right now, a doting grandparent (who’s vacationing with us) is watching the little one and my husband is reading about his football team’s stats. Surely you would think that we’d seize this chance to go for a walk or throw a line in the water to catch some fish. And we may just do that. But right now, our quality time consists of  us both sitting together at the same table, writing and reading while sharing coffee and our thoughts. Can’t beat that.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Bradie on September 17, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Wow, finally something that is more realistic! When I first started reading your post, I thought “here we go again”, but then you spelled it out. I would like to know the percentage of parents who actually get a weekly date night? My guess is that it is not to high. Thanks for the note ladies. As a mother of two my husband and I may get a monthly date night if we are lucky, but just time alone in the evening watching our favorite show or talking after the kids have gone to bed counts for us. 🙂

    Reply

    • Posted by yangmommy on September 18, 2009 at 12:03 am

      Thanks for your comments, Bradie! No, it’s never easy to schedule a date night but it’s so worth it in the end. Good luck and may you have some fun together!

      Reply

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