Wellbeing

Carving out time for him and me

making time for us

Jim and I had ten years together as a couple before Rosalie came along, so it’s fair to say that the arrival of our little bundle did mean adjustments had to be made. For the first few months I was barely functioning as a person, and beyond that I was just incredibly focused on Rosalie. I think naturally when you become a mother your focus really shifts, it has to, but for us, after the struggle we had with establishing breastfeeding, I was so thrilled it was finally working that I relished each and every nursing session and being there for her whenever she needed me, and being the only one who could provide what she needed.

Sad as it is to say it, and write it, I really neglected myself, and Jim, and us as a couple. I think I can actually count on one hand the number of times we’ve been on a ‘date’ since Rosalie was born. We didn’t do anything together, just the two of us, until Rosalie was 16 months old. It was about a year ago and we went to the cinema to watch The Avengers. I remember feeling quite excited to be leaving the house and doing something grown-up, but also feeling really anxious at leaving Rosalie. Of course it was all fine, she was fast asleep and didn’t know we were gone, and we were happily scoffing popcorn and enjoying some Marvel superhero action on the big screen.

Not having family nearby means we don’t really have anyone to help us out, or relieve us of our parenting responsibilities for a few hours every now and again. It’s not a big deal really, Jim and I hardly went out before anyway (we left all that behind after university, when we bought our first house together way back in 2005 on 100% mortgage and had no money for going out!). But not arranging to do something together out of the house does mean that life sort of rolls on and you realise it’s been ages since you properly looked at each other, or talked about something other than your daughter.

(In this photo Rosalie is just out of shot, we were taking our Me & Mine portraits and she ran off so we’re both looking at her and I hit the remote shutter release, unknowingly taking a rather wistful photo of the two of us.)

us

We both have our hobbies – blogging, writing, photography and baking for me and programming, video gaming and playing guitar/drums/piano for Jim, plus we both like watching TV shows – so we end up cramming so much into what little time we have left after Rosalie has gone to bed, that it doesn’t leave any time for us.

It’s not about having time, it’s about making time

At the beginning of 2016 I decided that it wasn’t about having enough time, it was about making time for each other. There is never enough time to do everything, it’s about prioritising the important things. And with lack of babysitting still an issue, I settled on finding ways to make being at home together a bit more special.

So, starting with Jim’s birthday at the end of January, I planned a surprise at-home date night. It wasn’t anything elaborate – I wrapped up a DVD (Interstellar) and some movie snacks and I made it a bit mysterious with an invitation to ‘join me on the couch at 8pm…’. It was fun, and each month since then I’ve produced a little invitation and we’ve set aside time for each other once Rosalie has gone to bed.

In February we had ‘Candles, Conversation and Hot Chocolate’ – I had put together a little pack of conversation starters, some serious, some silly, but it was fun to talk about hopes and dreams and do a bit of reminiscing.

candlelight date night

In March we had a video games date – I think it’s really important to sometimes take time to do each other’s hobbies, at the very least it’s a fun way to try something new or different. I am actually terrible at video games, I can’t walk in a straight line so I’m always falling off the edge, and if it’s a first person shooter then I seem to swing wildly between aiming at my feet and aiming at the sky. Well, I let Jim choose the game, and knowing my video game prowess was somewhat lacking, he settled on Lego Marvel Superheroes. It was a lot of fun, we got to blow off some steam and have a good laugh together. All whilst being able to keep a listening ear out for our little poppet.

game on date night

As it is our wedding anniversary at the end of April, we are having a little Mr&Mrs Quiz date night tonight to celebrate! I’ve got a little bag of folded up questions so we can take it in turn to pick, and laminated (love a bit of laminating!) answer cards so we can both scribble our answers with dry wipe pens then rub them off again! I’ve prepared some dips and dippers and hopefully it will be a lovely relaxed evening – that, or a brain wracking evening, trying to remember anything that doesn’t involve a toddler… We shall see!

making time for us

It’s just so hard when you become a parent to balance everything just right, isn’t it? We adore spending time together as a family, but it’s so important not to forget that mummy and daddy sometimes want to be Jess and Jim, and making the effort to carve out a little slice of time each month, just for us, has been really good fun.

We still miss our cinema trips – we both love watching movies, and there really is something special about watching a movie on the big screen – but for now we are happy with our at-home date nights. The fact that we are spending time together, that’s what’s important, not where we are, and there’s no where quite like home.

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12 Comments

  • Reply
    Kathryn
    April 23, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    What a great idea – so creative and romantic!

    • Reply
      Jess
      April 26, 2016 at 8:48 pm

      Thanks Kathryn!

  • Reply
    Sherry
    April 24, 2016 at 8:21 am

    Oh I love the idea of the monthly dates, and the April one sounds like something I should try with the hubster this year! We struggle with asking people for help to look after ours, and date nights are few and far between here too x

    • Reply
      Jess
      April 26, 2016 at 8:49 pm

      Thanks Sherry! Definitely give it a try, we had lots of fun, and it was funny to see what things we each could and couldn’t remember. At home date nights are the way forward when you don’t have anyone to babysit xx

  • Reply
    Lindsay
    April 24, 2016 at 8:22 am

    What a lovely post and some amazing ideas! Those date nights are brilliant and show so much thought. It’s all to easy to put all your attention and focus on your children but at the same time I think it’s really good to devote just a little bit of time to yourself and partner.

    • Reply
      Jess
      April 26, 2016 at 8:51 pm

      Thanks Lindsay, you’re completely right xx

  • Reply
    Laura - dear bear and beany
    April 24, 2016 at 8:29 am

    I love these ideas, brilliant! It’s really hard to make time for each other, because there really isn’t much spare time. But I think it’s really important as you two are the reason you are a family x
    Laura – dear bear and beany recently posted…A Simple Swing…The Ordinary MomentsMy Profile

    • Reply
      Jess
      April 26, 2016 at 8:52 pm

      It really is Laura – spare time isn’t something we parents have any of so we have to make time for the things that are important x

  • Reply
    Carie @ Space for the Butterflies
    April 24, 2016 at 10:12 am

    Oh what a genius idea! It’s so easy to get swept up in being Mama and Daddy I know exactly what you mean about having to make time to be a couple too and it sounds like you’re on to something – are you going to have a bake off to match the video games night?!

    • Reply
      Jess
      April 26, 2016 at 8:53 pm

      Too true Carie! Ha ha, yes we might just have to have a bake-off date night!

  • Reply
    mummyofboygirltwins
    April 24, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    Ahhh such a lovely post and what superb ideas! I think most parents neglect each other when they have a family and it is normal but like you we try to have time for each other as much as we can even if it is just a date night or no TV! Enjoy and have fun xx

    • Reply
      Jess
      April 26, 2016 at 8:57 pm

      Thanks Jess; it was good fun, and much needed. We have a rule of no phones on date night too, which means a bit of unplugging from social media which I find refreshing every now and again xx

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