You have been looking forward to this night for weeks. You take your time primping, savoring every second as you get ready. it is 'date night' with your hubby.
You are so looking forward to adult conversation that isn't interrupted every other word by a question, or a pout.
The baby sitter arrives on time. You spend a while going over the long list of typed instructions you have fastidiously prepared. You are sure you have left every phone number she could possibly need.
Your husband waits tapping his foot. The look on his face tells you he is slightly annoyed.
You finally get to the restaurant. You tell yourself to relax but somehow you just can't. You conger up the most terrifying scenarios about what could possibly be going wrong at home.
You are so preoccupied that you can barely understand what your spouse is saying. When your anxiety reaches a crescendo you excuse yourself. You call the babysitter, of course. When she doesn't answer on the first ring you experience a moment of overwhelming panic. When she answers you are reassured that all is well, but for how long?
You make it through the rest of dinner opting to skip dessert and coffee. Surprisingly your spouse agrees, could he be anxious about the kids too?
Related: Date Night: Nothing to Talk About
“So,” you reason with yourself once you are home and your little ones are tucked away in bed, “maybe date night is overrated.” You look over at your spouse and tell yourself that next time it will be easier.
If the above scenario sounds even remotely familiar, rest assured you are not alone! Is date night overrated?
According to research, couples who commit themselves to creating alone time have stronger communication which results in better more stable relationships. In the end, these couples tend to fare better in marriage. How then do you enjoy the time together without feeling overwhelmed and anxious about leaving your kids? Here are some thoughts:
Practice makes progress. Give yourself a break. For some leaving their children for the first, or second, or even third time can be incredibly stressful. Give it time, it should get easier. You may even enjoy yourself!
If you are not comfortable hiring a sitter, then don't. Be honest with yousrself. It is not about what you think you should be okay with. Look for alternative solutions. Of course it is ideal if you live near family or close friends whom you are comfortable with watching your kids.
Think out of the box. If the above is not an option available to you, get creative. Make alone time with your spouse after your kids are asleep or before they rise. Enjoy the time you make together.
A little ‘us’ time not only benefits you and your spouse, but it benefits your children as well. After all, in general, calmer, happier and relaxed parent is usually a more patient parent.
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Jennifer Powell-Lunder and Barbara Greenberg are authors of the hit book, "Teenage as a Second Language: A Parent's Guide to Becoming Bilingual." They've set up an interactive website for parents and teens to listen, learn and discuss hot topics and daily dilemmas. You can find it at www.talkingteenage.com.