This weekend my daughter had an overnight away from us; away from mom and dad. This was the second time in over 6 years that the both of us had had a night just to be a couple. The last time, I was breastfeeding and our 18 month old stayed with her Auntie and Uncle. As much as she loved playing and hanging out with them the overnight time was a disaster. Lots of tears and not a lot of sleeping. This time she was older, and the overnight was her choice, an overnight event that she really wanted to go to.
So the planning commenced. After we planned how the day would go, and what our daughter was bringing, we started to plan what WE were going to do as a couple. Twenty-four hours felt like forever. We wanted to go to The city, go for a hike, drink delicious coffee, watch our favorite shows, have some uninterrupted “us time” and have a romantic dinner. We wanted to talk about goals, future holidays, life, careers, hobbies, getting healthy. We had SO much we wanted to do.
My husband and I work long hours. Doula work is unpredictable in nature and I have a day job as a counsellor. My husband supports the family with his day job, evening job and acting career (another unpredictable job). We are REALLY busy. The moments we have together as just the 3 of us, are very mindful; We plan them right down to the food we will eat because we don’t want to waste any time on those decisions. Spending time just the 2 of us is challenging. We simply don’t have a lot of extra time.
After we dropped off our daughter we started our adventure right away: with the dog already in the car we went for a hike. Hiking isn’t new to our family but we often don’t get very far with a small child collecting leaves and making her own paths through the forest. Sometimes we can see the parking lot the entire hike. We are okay with that as parents, but as a couple we chose a path and chose to complete the hike. As it wasn’t incredibly far, we had some great chats, had lunch on a creek side while staring at a snow covered mountain and we laughed. Oh, we laughed. Not at the humorous things our daughter does or says, but laughed because we were having a great time. We laughed together.
We had so many big plans for the day, and the hike was the most adventurous part. The rest of the day we spent at home, in our pajamas, hanging out. It reminded me of times 14 years ago when we weren’t married. It reminded me of the reasons I love this man, of the laughs we’ve shared. We ate delicious food, we watched Netflix and we chilled. Then we napped. It was joyous. We went to bed at the same time and we woke up together not because we had to for work or because our daughter woke us, but because we were well rested. What a novelty!
We reminded ourselves this weekend that it’s important to remember our relationship when kids are little. Sometimes we get caught up in being Mommy and Daddy and forget we are Husband and Wife.
When we picked up our daughter and arrived home we got right back in the habit of laundry, housecleaning and all those parental responsibilities that come along with being a parent. All of these tasks are important, of course, but they are much easier to do now that we’ve had 24 blissful hours of self care and relationship time. Something we will make a priority for next time, something we will plan for next time and something we cherish this time.