Dates are precious when you have kids

When you’ve got kids, their welfare drives many decisions. One of those is getting a chance to have a night out with just you and your spouse. Some people are lucky enough to be able to just call a babysitter and go out regularly. Others of us have kids with a litany of medical issues, and can’t just pick a babysitter from a list of the ones that your friends use. (Of course, others simply can’t afford a babysitter.)

For years, we didn’t have a single night off. Even if one of us was too tired to do anything, or had an evening appointment that they needed to be at, that just meant that the other had to do the entire medical routine themselves. We tried bringing in a couple of his daycare teachers that we had trained in his medical routine as part of him going to daycare, but neither one lasted more than a couple of times trying to get through the evening routine, which is somewhat more extensive. Sitters with enough medical knowledge to assess his asthma condition to determine if he needed an additional treatment are prohibitively pricey, and my wife doesn’t trust just anybody to watch The Kid.

Luckily, my mother-in-law, who has spent much time here over the years, eventually picked up the routine. Also, the routine has become easier as we can count on The Kid to take more and more responsibility for it himself.

Every once in a while, when she’s visiting and has sufficient energy, my mother-in-law covers the evening routine and lets us go out on a date. We never stay out too late (we’re usually home before the last round of meds), but we can usually get out by ourselves a couple of times a year or so.

We got a chance to go out for dinner tonight, and it was wonderful. We were able to carry on conversations about work and life in general without being interrupted every 90 seconds for a non-sequitur about roller coasters, musical composition, dance, making movies, or some other topic that really had nothing to do with the subject at hand.

Now, we really love The Kid, and we’re constantly amazed at how his mind works and how well he can integrate all sorts of information to come up with very interesting conclusions. But between his constant high energy level and his incessant need to drive the conversation, it’s very tiring to have to pause and either answer his questions or tell him that he needs to wait until we’re done with that subject. It was a pleasure to have a calm, quiet dinner.

It’s a rarity that we cherish and I hope that eventually we’ll be able to do it more often.

If you’ve got kids, do you get to go out on a date with your spouse often? What is the biggest factor preventing you from going out on dates more often?

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2 Responses to Dates are precious when you have kids

  1. Adrienne K says:

    I’m a couple of weeks late but I’m still going to comment:

    Kev and I get out on dates about 4 times a year: Birthdays and Anniversaries. We usually need a special reason to actually make the time to go out. The biggest factor is our busy-ness. Between Scouts and other community activities and life commitments, we don’t have a lot of free time. We actually do get sitters a tad more often but usually those are for Scout leader meetings or other classes we teach, not for anything just for us. But the secret is that we’re really more or less ok with that. The next biggest factor is our energy level: We’re home bodies. There’s always something that needs to be done around the house or e-mails that need to be sent for all the aforementioned commitments, so sometimes it’s just easier to stay home and get things done. Sometimes Date Night means making a cup of tea and sitting on the couch or in bed watching a show on TV or off the DVR. The thing is that we need to remember to turn the computers off or stop folding laundry long enough to DO that. 🙂

  2. Mark says:

    We’re largely homebodies, too. Some might even accuse us of being anti-social. Despite that, we rarely have time to ourselves at home because my wife is a morning person (she handles The Kid’s first asthma treatments at around 6 a.m.) and she’s often trying to get to sleep by the time that I’m done with his 10 p.m. treatments. But with the level of constant attention that The Kid demands, both medically and socially (he has no “off” switch and a number of his asthma medications are stimulants), every once in a while, it’s good to get away for a little while where we can have a conversation without being interrupted constantly, and where silence can actually last more than five seconds.

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