Before we became parents, my husband and I enjoyed every free moment of time we had together. The crazy thing about life before kids is that the only real responsibility we had was to go to work and pay the bills. Other than that, we did anything and everything we wanted. We enjoyed cocktails after work and meeting friends for dinner on a regular basis. On the weekends, we went out every single Friday and Saturday night. Bonfires, happy hours, trips to the lake. I even tagged along with my husband when he traveled for work at least once or twice a year. It was an awesome, care free time of our marriage and I’m so glad we lived it up.
I think it’s pretty obvious that bringing a baby into a family changes things exponentially – for the better, of course, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a totally insane, challenging time of life. Caring for a newborn is intense and exhausting, especially on top of working full time while maintaining a marriage. We don’t have family nearby and didn’t find a good sitter until a few months into things. However, I’m almost positive that if we DID have a sitter in the beginning, the idea of a perfect night out would have been driving to a nearby parking lot and sleeping in the backseat for several hours until it was almost guaranteed that the baby was in bed. The thought of going downtown for a late night dinner and meeting up with friends for drinks was almost laughable.
I’m always confused when new parents say that they can’t even remember life without children. Does that mean that parenting comes so naturally and easily that it seems like they’ve always been doing it? Or does is mean that they are so tired and strung out from the mayhem that they can’t even recall what it feels like to not have such insane responsibilities? I don’t know. I DO know that I definitely remember every moment of marriage before kids. And it was good. I love my son more than life itself and I am the luckiest mother in the world to have such an amazing child. I can’t stress that enough. But I definitely miss the amount of care-free time that my husband and I used to enjoy together.
As time goes on, it gets easier you get better at managing your new found responsibilities. You figure out how to make the most of the little bit of free time you do have available, which is pretty much after baby goes to bed. We make a valid effort to get a sitter once or twice a month to get out and connect as a couple rather than as parents. We definitely don’t take our time alone for granted since it comes so few and far between.
This past weekend, my in-laws came from out of town to visit us for the weekend. Me, my husband, and my in-laws took Greyson to the park to play. It’s not often that we have other people available to entertain our son, so my husband and I took the opportunity to sit on the bench and watch someone else push him on the swing and chase him around the playground. After chatting for a bit and enjoying the sunshine, my husband challenged me to a game of Jumbo Tic Tac Toe. I’m sure we looked ridiculous, but we had a blast. (And I kicked his ass, too, just for the record).
So while we aren’t always available to meet our friends on the weekends and we don’t have weekly romantic dates, I’d say we’re doing a damn good job of maximizing the little moments. And we’re loving every minute of it. Not to mention, my Tic Tac Toe skills are totally improving, which is just a little added bonus.