My husband and I look forward to our Friday nights when our son goes to bed and we have time to catch up on our DVR and enjoy some nice wine together. This may sound pretty lame for some people, but we really look forward to relaxing this way with each other. And we only have one kid! How do people with multiple children do it??
When both partners work while also being parents, couple alone time can look very different from the long and fun dinners that used to happen before kids came into the picture. Couples in my practice talk about how their alone time together is the least of their priorities because they have to manage their children’s activities, help with homework, work, commute, manage the home and attend events for friends and family. By the time a couple accomplishes all they have to do each week, going out to dinner or a movie sounds like it takes too much energy and some choose to catch up on much needed sleep. So I have put together a list of very low key “date night” ideas for the tired working parents. Since these ideas are very simple, there’s no excuse to not incorporate at least one of them for a weekly ritual. Consistency can lead to connection.
- My personal favorite…Have a weekly show that you watch together. Pick a time each week that you sit down to watch it with each other, without your phones!
- Grab a glass of wine and download the Gottman Card Decks app. It’s free! The Gottman Institute has research-based approach to improving relationships and they created this fun app that offers helpful questions, statements, and ideas for improving your relationship. You will get to know each other all over again.
- Make a dessert together. I say dessert because you have probably already had dinner with your kids and are finding the alone time after they are asleep. Put on some music, search a recipe and have fun.
- This may seem too simple, but the simple things in life have a lot of value. Go for a walk just the two of you, without your phones for twenty minutes. You will be surprised how naturally meaningful conversations come up when you are side by side and moving.
- Too tired at night? Drop the kids off at grandma’s and go out to breakfast instead. Hopefully you will be well rested and in a good mood and you will be able to connect over coffee and pancakes. Grandparents will also love the weekend visit!
- This is not a date night idea, but suggestion that can lead to a better connection with your partner. Do not let your kids sleep with you! Space makes everyone in the family much happier. If your kids are in the habit of sleeping in your bed, start to get them out. Create the boundary that you and your partner have your own space, just like they do in their own rooms. When little Charlotte pops in to sleep every night and dad then takes his blanket to the couch, this disrupts the hierarchy of the family system and value of the couple relationship.
Photo credit to Janelle Brooke Photography