Did we just win the lottery? Nope. These are the faces of two excited parents about to go out to dinner on our own. These are the faces of two excited parents who almost never do this. I think we took this picture at least a year ago. In fact, if it weren’t for our kids’ grandparents who practically shove us out the door when they come to visit from out-of-state, we would probably never go out without our kids.
I’m not sure why we haven’t found a babysitter, but I’m guessing it has something to do with the fact that we haven’t even looked for one. Every time I’ve thought about finding someone, I come up with dozens of reasons not to. My kids take a while to warm up to new people, we have a dog who doesn’t do well with new people, my kids sometimes go to bed late which would be annoying for a sitter (and one of them is very particular about his bedtime routine), my kids could get hurt while we’re out, etc., etc.
And just when I was really starting to think we could bite the bullet and put in some effort to find a great person to occasionally watch our two kids, we decided to instead have a third. Back to square one.
My husband and I spend a lot of time together. We both work from home and we prioritize time together as a family. I’m cherishing this season of our life, even if our conversations are interrupted every 65 seconds and exciting nights on the town aren’t happening. We’ve traded finding new restaurants for finding new playgrounds. We’ve traded strenuous and satisfying hikes to scenic destinations for slow, meandering family walks around the neighborhood. We’ve traded seeing the latest movie in the theater for hopefully squeezing in one episode of our current favorite show before somebody wakes up needing something. And we’ve traded full days on the ski slopes or at the beach for quicker outings to take the kids sledding or playing in the water until somebody gets tired and ready to return home.
I’d be lying if I said I don’t miss the carefree and spontaneous way we used to be able to date each other. But I also love every opportunity we have to discover something together as a family and I love the moments of joy that we share when we watch our kids explore new things and have new experiences. And to be honest, I’m not sure if we’ve found the perfect balance yet. Perhaps we should work harder to go out on our own sometimes. It might be great for us and our relationship. Or perhaps our lack of traditional dates nights is just OK right now while our kids are still young. Maybe it’s OK to simultaneously miss that part of our relationship and enjoy the current state of things. And maybe I don’t need to worry about finding that perfect balance. Maybe I just need to keep going with the flow, knowing that, just like everything else, this phase will change before I even realize it, and we’ll sink into a new normal.
What does your “dating life” look like these days? Any tips for this anxious mom should she decide she wants to find someone superb to watch her young kids for the occasional date night?