When dating you actually do tend to do just that don’t you? Go out on dates, get to know each other, visit new places, try new things and simply enjoy being together whether that is at the movies, in a pub, going out for a meal or even watching something on the TV together.
When children are added to that mix it can become difficult to still enjoy these as you once did, lets face it – us Mum’s can’t even go to the toilet alone without a child following us in to ask what we are doing, to play cars with them or to complain that they are lonely because you’ve stepped out of the room for 2 minute.
2 minutes alone on the loo – is it too much to ask?
Enjoying time as a couple can be rather tricky when you have children, they can’t just take a back burner and get on with things by themselves and then rekindling that relationship you once had can be hard.
This is where I am currently, now Emmy and Harry are older it is time for Paul and I to remember that relationship we once had before children. We’ve now been married for 10 years and have been parents for 7 and a half years – in those 7 and a half years we have been away together without the children for 4 nights, 2 nights were for a conference I was attending so I actually rarely saw Paul during that time and the other 2 were for anniversaries where we booked to go away for one night together.
Date nights had become a thing of the past but that finally is changing. The children are now old enough to go and stay over at Grandad’s house or their Aunts overnight and family and friends are more than happy to have them over for playdates etc.
We are now beginning to make more of an effort and have started making Friday nights my non-working evening – the children have a movie night each Friday where they camp downstairs and when they are asleep we put on a film just for us to enjoy and ban our phones and my laptop, we’ve also started grabbing lunch together when we can while the kids are at school (between work and meetings).
I was interested to find out how others enjoy time as a couple now they are parents, here are their top tips:
Kate says: “Be gutsy enough to ask someone to take the children for a while – often people are willing to help and just waiting to be asked”
Danielle said: “We can’t ever really have babysitter due to having no relatives near and it being difficult with our son who has Autism. Every Saturday though, one of us cooks a really nice meal and we have a no phone night. We listen to music and chat or watch a film”
“Make sure your babysitter is someone you trust implicitly. If you don’t you will be just worrying the whole time” – Kate
Of course we don’t all have friends and family who can step in to help out with childcare, so if you need a babysitter I would recommend finding one via an online networking site for parents, childcare providers and schools such as Childcare.co.uk. This is a site I used many times when I was a Nanny to find work and for babysitting jobs.
Childcare.co.uk allows parents to search for and connect with babysitters, childminders, nannies, nurseries, private tutors and schools. Childcare providers can also advertise their services on the site – with more than 1.5 million users nationwide, Childcare.co.uk is the largest online community for parents in Britain.
The sites parenting expert Jo Wiltshire says: “At the beginning of most relationships people tend to go out, have fun and enjoy themselves. However when children are added to the equation it can become more and more difficult to find the time to enjoy each other’s company. When this happens couples can forget what it’s like to spend genuine, stress-free, quality time together and that’s why it’s important to try and find time away from your responsibilities. Childcare.co.uk is a good way of finding trusted professionals in your area to look after your children, especially if you can’t find a friend or relative to have the kids.”
Mandi’s tip is: “Make a rule not to discuss the children all night, that way you can actually enjoy the time with your other half, not discussing the latest tantrum technique to be applied!”
Nikki and her husband are employed and she says “What I would like us to do is go out for lunch and the cinema during the day while the kids are at school, then there would be no need for babysitters. We haven’t managed it yet – but one day!”
“Once a month we get my Mum and Dad to have both tots for a day and night – we then make a point of doing stuff we did pre kids like the cinema, go out for drinks or just chill and watch films.” – Lianne
Holly’s advice is “Plan as far ahead as you need to to sort something out – because looking forward to it is all part of the excitement anyway. We had our first date night in the diary six weeks in advance! I needed that time to get my head around being away from my baby for a few hours and to make sure I had plenty of time to get a sitter (even though my Mum jumped at the chance!).
Lastly, Samantha says “Make the most of your time together and ban phones for an hour or so each night. Even if you’re snuggled up watching TV, you’ll be focused on quality time are re-connecting rather than distracted by your screens”.
What are your top tips for enjoying couple time together since becoming parents?