I’m just a mom sitting in front of her husband, trying to have a conversation without 100 interruptions. It’s true. There is regular beautiful chaos raising kids. We all know, on any given day or moment, there is a drama or problem to be solved. Usually, many balls to juggle at once and information overload requiring more time & energy of modern-day parents.
As a mother of five children ages 6-15 years old, my plate is full. My cup runneth over and I am grateful for this kind of fullness in my life. My children are my world. Yet, my husband needs to be too. After all, it was just us before we grew our brood, and it will be just us again someday when they all leave the nest. Yet, this reality of creating time, even with older children, is still a daily and weekly challenge.
I’ve learned over the past 15 years just how important it is to set aside conscious time to date my husband. In the comings and goings of busy family life, with work , travel and a full family calendar to juggle, it gets harder and harder to find that uninterrupted time to just be together.
Marriage is beautiful and complex. Just as parenting is. It’s hard. It requires conscious emotional tending to; just as a garden requires sunshine and regular watering to grow, marriage does too. When elements are harsh and the garden has to withstand winds, rain, and storms, the foundational plot must stand for it to sustain and grow. Marriage isn’t tested during the good/ easy times of life. It’s tested during the harder times.
I grew up in a family of 4 children. My husband did too. Both of our parents separated and divorced when we were children. Both of us endured different hardships growing up because of this fact alone. One of the commitments we made early on before marrying, was that we would learn from our parents’ mistakes. Our parents are our everything and always will be. They loved their families beyond the beyond and were/are amazing parents. Yet, they are human. They made mistakes. Those that were forgiven, yet reinforce what my husband and I both want and don’t want for our marriage and family long-term. When the going gets tough, we get tougher. We simply never give up on each other and keep our faith and love for each other at the forefront of our marriage. Our ability to embrace the imperfect & practice gratitude during hard times, keep our marriage strong through the good times and bad. It’s not perfect. We embrace the imperfect and we try whenever possible to prioritize our ‘just us’ time. Remembering what brought us together before the kids and dating each other like we did before kids came along, is so important.
When my husband and I moved to Atlanta over five years ago, we made a commitment to start dating again post 5 children. When our twins were 3, we made a commitment to remember to put our marriage first and make time together outside of the children. We didn’t want to be two ships passing in the night or passing the wand in the long marathon run called parenting. Then life happened and we had 3 more children back to back. Our dating plan and marriage priority were consumed by babies, breastfeeding, work, and exhaustion.
My husband and I try to shoot for a weekly date night these days, yet this is more realistically 2x a month if I’m being honest. We don’t have family nearby who can help, so we find a sitter or friends who can stay overnight with our children, so we can getaway. It’s amazing what a 24-hour escape with your main squeeze can do for your marriage. It doesn’t have to be a lavish escape. Maybe just a weekly date night to go on a run or walk through a favorite park. As long as the rule stands, SANS KIDS! Maybe you book a favorite dinner out or plan an annual anniversary escape. Maybe you play hooky from work while the children are at school. Hey, free childcare! ( guilty)… Maybe you farm the children off with friends or family and just stay in bed ordering UberEats and watching Netflix and Law and Order reruns in your PJs! ( guilty)…Whatever it is that floats your boat, just MAKE. THE. TIME.
Since moving to Atlanta, my husband and I have sought out unique date nights to spice up our mundane. We try to surprise each other annually for our anniversary with a special surprise location if we can.
Below is a list of local Atlanta escapes to consider for a special outing with your main squeeze:
Alpaca Llama Treehouse: Stay overnight in a bamboo forest with Llamas in the city
Historic Dahlonega: Crimson Moon concert and B&B overnight in the mountains
Callaway Gardens Ziplining and Hot Air Balloon Festival
ScamperVan weekend: Camping in a van and hiking in Georgia State Parks
Live Music Concerts: Chastain & Ameris
Matildas & Chukkar Farm: Live music under the stars outside
Canton Street Roswell or Historic Woodstock: Unique restaurants, live music & peruse quaint & historic local shops
Couples Massage at local Day Spas
HIKE-INN along the Appalachian Trail: Hike 5 miles into nature
North Georgia day trip to the mountains to visit a local vineyard: Fainting Goat is our favorite
Take time away. It’s so important for your marriage and so fabulous for your children to see you prioritizing your bond. You will come home revitalized, less stressed, more connected as a couple and ready to tackle another day!