I don’t love every moment of being a mom. I mean … who does? (If you say you do, you’re lying.)
Being a mom is hard. Balance is a daily struggle for me. Sometimes I manage to make all the puzzle pieces fit together, and other times, I feel like I suck at everything.
My husband and I became parents later in life. And by later in life, I mean that we were 44 and 47 when we decided to have kids together. We know we’re a little late to the party and let me just say: sleep deprivation is a bitch when you’re the “old parents.” But, we wouldn’t have it any other way. We love our small, sticky people.
Maybe its age and wisdom or maybe it’s that we were a twosome for so long before kids happened and we’re selfish — but we’ve always made a deliberate effort to carve out time to connect as a couple. Regular date nights? Check. Sometimes, we lock the bedroom door when we want to have “adult time,” and no, adult time doesn’t always mean sexy time. Sometimes we just want the kids to leave us alone. You too?
I need my little breaks from parenting, and I can admit that without guilt. Okay, without an excessive amount of guilt. I’m a better mom for taking time to nurture myself and my marriage, and that’s why I’m a fan of the overnight date.
There’s just something restorative about taking a 24-hour break from mothering every now and then. And yes, I realize that one never completely gets time off from being a parent. Truth be told, my husband and I probably spend the majority of our time away from our kids talking about our kids — but occasional extended physical time away from them benefits our family.
Here are four reasons why overnight dates make us a stronger couple — and stronger parents:
1. We have the chance to reconnect and relax.
We might spend the bulk of our alone time discussing how our kids are doing in school or mapping out the complexities of family schedules, but my husband and I connect differently when our kids aren’t around. We’re more focused on each other because we’re not being pulled in six different directions by our small humans. There’s more eye contact and less, “Uh, say what now?”
While we get that same level of connection on “regular” date nights where we come home, pay the babysitter, kiss our kids and sleep in our own bed, having a whole night off is just different. There’s less clock-watching and more zen. There’s something soothing about knowing you have time to enjoy being a couple without being interrupted to wipe someone’s butt or find something that doesn’t belong to you.
Whether you indulge in some hot hotel sex (and isn’t hotel sex just the best?) or enjoy some hummana hummana meow meow with the door wiiiiiiide open, no one can argue that sex is sexier when you’re not trying to race to the finish without fear of kiddus-interruptus.
We’ve adapted to parent sex, i.e. learning to tune out the fact that the kids are sticking their fingers underneath the bedroom door while we’re trying to get busy or resigning myself to super-quiet orgasms — forever. Rushing to take care of business so we can finish and put sweatpants back on before the kid decides he wants to crawl in with us has become the norm — and that’s okay.
A little scheduled time to put on good lingerie, shave my legs and have noisy, uninterrupted sex? Worth every bit of the scheduling gymnastics it takes to make it happen.
3. It shows our kids they don’t always come first.
Being a parent means putting yourself second most of the time, that’s just the way it goes. But it’s okay to put your personal needs or the needs of your relationship with your partner first sometimes. Not all the time, but sometimes.
And it’s okay to let our kids see that.
It’s healthy for our kids to see we place a priority on our time without them. The way my husband and I relate to each other as a couple, as people is making a lasting impression on our children. We are teaching them that marriage is something to be nurtured and that their parents have a side to them that goes beyond being mom and dad.
“Are we spending the night with Grandmother?”
“What are you and daddy going to do?”
“We’re going to have adult time.”
“Because it’s important.”
“Okay. Do you think Grandmother will let us order pizza?”
It really is as simple as that.
Overnight dates are a big part of what make my marriage a success. It’s not perfect by a long-shot, but carving out 18 to 24 hours to enjoy as just a couple every few months keeps us connected and makes us better parents. It doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive (although hotel sex is pretty amazing).
My husband and I are comfortable in our new roles as mom and dad. Lazy weekend mornings have been swapped for kids nestled between us watching cartoons in our bed. I wouldn’t trade our life for anything but sometimes, it’s nice to take a little trip back to the land of “just us.”
4. The rare, peaceful morning.
And possibly one of the best parts of the overnight date? Kid-free mornings. Drinking your morning coffee in utter peace and quiet without having to reheat it once. Enough said.More On