People who know me know that my life is an open book.
I'm comfortable talking about my personal life with family and friends. My husband is the opposite, in that he does not discuss details about our marriage with anyone but me. So when I mentioned the topic of this article to him, it was natural that he raised a skeptical eyebrow. I assured him that I would not be spilling intimate details of our love life on the web, but that I felt it was a topic that other moms might like to read about.
Before we had children, my husband and I took spur of the moment getaway trips. We would go to Montreal or the Berkshires for the weekend, or maybe do a day trip to the Ben & Jerry’s Factory in Waterbury, Vermont. Little things that required nothing but a sense of adventure and an open mind!
After we had children, the whole “spur of the moment” thing vanished. Kids need a schedule. They need routine. They need consistency. A four-hour car ride now stretches to six hours if you're lucky: you have to stop and feed the kids, or let them get out of the car to stretch their legs. Also, going somewhere like Montreal involved lots of late nights just wandering around the city until all hours. You just can't make a trip like that with young kids in tow.
The number of things you need for an overnight trip with kids is just mind-boggling. I could write a whole column about that itself (and maybe I will) but for now, I’m focusing on the theme at hand.
When I first had children, most of my friends with kids were either working full time or their children were older, so they weren’t around. I felt isolated. I missed adult conversation. I started seeing the same moms at the park, and through talking with them, I found and joined a couple of moms groups in the area. It made a huge difference for not only my children, but for me as well.
One of the best parts of being in a moms group is you have so many different people to talk to. It’s amazing when I go on the groups message boards and see how many of us are going through similar things – either with our children, or our families, or even our marriages. It’s wonderful to know that I have this resource out there. I even got the idea for this topic from the message board from one of the moms groups.
Most moms groups have “Moms Night Out” events. Usually these involve good food, great conversation, and lots of laughs. Sometimes they are at a member's house, or a local restaurant, but always without the kids. The conversations range from silly to serious to downright obscene! (Yes, even moms can have a wicked sense of humor!)
One topic that invariably comes up is how do you “keep the romance alive” after kids. The easy answer is: make it happen! It’s all up to you. What I mean by that is to remember to schedule time for you and your spouse that does not involve the kids.
Yes, I did say "schedule." Though it might sound unromantic, it’s far too easy to put everything else first when life gets hectic: kids, laundry, cleaning, groceries, errands, etc. You need to take a proactive role in your romantic life.
If you have the money, hire a sitter for the evening and go out to dinner and a movie. You can also have a movie night after the kids go to bed. Just pull out a bottle of wine (or whatever adult beverage you choose), maybe make up a little snack tray of goodies to munch on, and chill out on the couch. If you’re able, and have family that you can leave your children with, consider going away for an overnight trip. A short visit to Cape Cod, New Hampshire, or even the Berkshires can do wonders for the spirits.
And above all, do not discuss the kids! What did you do before you had kids? You had a full, rich life, and you must remember that you’re still the same person you were before kids. This is time for you and your spouse. You can even call it a “child free zone” if you want.
Whatever you choose to do, the bottom line is you have to remember to make time for both of you to enjoy yourselves -- and each other.