“What do you want to do?” I asked my wife, eager for the opportunity to head out into a beautiful summer night without fighting our kids over taking a bath, going to bed, brushing their teeth, or … literally anything else.
“I don’t know, ” she replied. “What do you want to do?”
I leaned a little closer to her on the couch and flicked through the channels again. For some reason, it landed on American Ninja Warrior. Twenty minutes later, I asked her if we were actually going to do anything.
“I’m good,” she said.
Our wild week without children was clearly off to a yawning start. The boys were away at a lake with their grandparents for the week, and this was our first night back in a child-free life. And apparently, we were well and truly bored.
As my wife watched American Ninja Warrior, I opened my laptop to edit a few of the short videos I’d taken of the boys. I watched a video of my son Zacharie playing on our last camping trip and it felt like a lifetime ago. In reality, it had only been 72 hours since I dropped him off with his grandparents, but it felt like ages.
Last year, my wife Jen and I revelled in our mini child-free staycation — now, I truly wonder what our lives will be like when the kids leave the nest.
I’ll admit, sleeping late in the mornings this week has been nothing short of wonderful. I’m fully rested, with no third wheel in the bed, and I’m waking up at 7:30 AM instead of 6 AM. Jen and I sit out on the back deck each morning, starting the day quietly with our coffee, a slight breeze, and bright morning sunshine. It’s absolutely perfect.
But then there’s the rest of the day.
The truth is, having kids defines your lifestyle, in big ways and small. We are so used to wrangling the boys to get ready for bed, bath, dinner, activities, and so on, that I’m quickly realizing we don’t know what to do with ourselves when given a week off.
As the week went on, I’m happy to report that things got a little bit better. We had drinks and pizza with friends on Tuesday night and played golf on Wednesday night. And on Thursday night? More drinks with friends.
I’m not complaining here; it was fun to get out and see people and not worry about finding a sitter. But there’s no denying we were bored out of our minds for much of the week, and it was painfully obvious that my wife and I had forgotten how to be a couple. Without the kids, we simply don’t know what to do with ourselves.
Our time together has been all about the kids for so long, that when given some slack … we’re apparently lost.
And so, a resolution has been made for the fall — more dating time. Once a week, twice a month, whatever it is, we need to do more of it. A week of being bored without the kids showed me that I could use a little more boredom in my life; and I know my wife could, too.