“I don’t know. What do you want to do?”
“Not in the mood.”
“What should we eat?”
And so it goes, week after week. We’ve dropped off the kids, we have the house and the evening to ourselves … and we have nothing to do. Or rather, we don’t feel like doing anything, but we know we should – know that we should take advantage of this weekly gift, this time to ourselves, this opportunity to connect, but sometimes, it’s just too much pressure.
Date night has become a bit of a chore.
I know! You want to shoot me just for saying that, but the truth is, we are spoiled, and we know it. But sometimes the pressure to have a great evening just because the kids are at my sister-in-law’s means that we will end up having anything but.
Part of the reason that we moved out to the cornfield was to be closer to a bigger support system, and that support system has turned out to be more than we could have hoped for. We are grateful, and when my husband’s brother and his wife told us, way back in September, that they want to take the girls once a week, from after-school time until bedtime, we were THRILLED. We had barely ever had a date night, let alone the promise of it being a regular, weekly event. For months, me and the huz would go out for dinner every Wednesday and then go to a movie, or do some errands at Home Depot, or go for a coffee or go for a walk. Sometimes we just stayed in (ahem). It was amazing! We reconnected! We talked without interruption! We got shit done!
But lately, there have been weeks when Wednesday has come around, and one of us just hasn’t felt like eating out, or seeing a movie or whatever. And we end up feeling tremendously guilty, as though we were squandering not only an opportunity to do something together, but also an obligation to take the time to strengthen our marriage.
And then we had to miss a week due to work schedules, and my sister-in-law texted me to tell me how much she was missing ‘her girls’ that night.
And then of course, I thought about it. This wasn’t about me and the huz getting a date night, this was about the kids spending time with their aunt, uncle and cousin – time that they will love now and cherish for the rest of their lives. This was about building traditions and relationships that will only benefit us all. This is about my girls having another trusted adult in their lives, an adult that they can call at 2am when they are teenagers and need somebody that is not their parent to help them out.
So this week, we’re going to drop the girls off, and then head to the driving range to shoot a bucket of balls. Or maybe we’ll just go for an ice cream and sit around. Or maybe we’ll stay home and I’ll fold laundry while the huz plays video games. It really doesn’t matter, because it’s not date night. It’s aunty and uncle night. It’s cousin night. It’s kids’ night out.
And I’m guessing that they haven’t yet run out of things to do on their night away from us.