Last weekend, my wife and I got a babysitter and went out to celebrate a friend’s birthday.
This picture was taken on the subway on the way to dinner. That’s my decidedly less glittery hand holding up Mom and Buried’s phone so she can properly apply her eyeliner (I assume it’s eye liner? Don’t @ me!).
For the record: she swears she didn’t realize the scarf matched her iPhone case, and I believe her, because she impulsively grabbed the scarf as we rushed out the door. She had to do her makeup on the G train; we weren’t working with a lot of time! But we’re parents.
We’re never working with a lot of time.
Especially when we’re trying to get some couple time to ourselves.
Mom and Buried is always angling for date nights for that very reason. It’s important for us – and all parents – to have some non-parent time, and it’s important for spouses to have some non-parent time together.
But it’s not easy.
Kids bring a lot to your life: love and light and joy and innocence and blah blah blah. They also *take away* a lot, particularly money, energy, and time. All three of which are helpful, if not necessary, elements of a successful date night.
On this night, we acquitted ourselves pretty well. We went to a nice dinner at a hip, non-child-friendly restaurant, we met up with friends, had some cocktails, some of us danced a lot, one of us played pinball while others of us danced a lot (shut up, I danced a little too!), and, eventually, we received a text from our babysitter asking us to come home because she was tired.
The appropriateness (or not) of that text aside, it was fine. We were heading home anyway – we were tired too, and the sitter was already expensive enough without adding another hour to her fee.
But it just goes to show you how small our window is.
Whether you’re hiring a babysitter for a date night, or putting on a TV show so you can sneak away for a little afternoon delight, or you’re napping while they nap (i.e. cleaning, working, doing laundry, while they nap), moms and dads don’t have many opportunities to not be moms and dads.
And because one of you often takes the hit for the other and stays home with the kids (rather than shell out for a sitter), husbands and wives have even fewer opportunities for quality time together.
We parents, especially those of us with younger kids, don’t have the luxury of a lot of time to ourselves, so when we do, we’re forced to maximize the hell out of it.
It’s not easy. Maybe you’re broke, maybe you’re exhausted, maybe you don’t typically enjoy going to disco dance parties, maybe a good childcare is hard to find, maybe all of those things.
Hopefully in 2019 you can still find a way to get that adult time, catch a break from the kids, and get a breather.
Sometimes that may mean staying up too late on a weeknight to have some time to yourself, and sometimes it may mean inadvertently grabbing a scarf that matches your phone as you run out the door and making your husband help you properly apply your makeup on the subway so you don’t waste precious babysitter time!
(Also for the record, she looked great without it too.)
This post originally ran on Facebook.