Parents often have trouble finding “us” time. Between working full-time jobs, taking the kids to and from school, soccer practice, groceries, errands, and who-knows-how-many-other-activities-your-kids-are-doing, it becomes difficult to find time to reconnect with your partner.
Dinner and a movie sounds super — in theory. Until 8pm rolls around, the babysitter comes over, and you’re so bone tired from the week that you’d truly rather go to bed instead of paying $100-200 for dinner, movie, and the babysitter. And, to top it all off, the babysitter is watching the kids while they are sleeping!
Instead: Embrace the morning date on the weekends. For years, my wife and I have had a babysitter regularly scheduled for Saturday or Sunday morning for 2-3 hours. When both of us are healthy, we go for a long run together, usually logging 5-15 miles, depending on how fit we are. When one of us is injured or we’re less fit than we want to be (seems to be happening a lot more these days), we go for a walk and/or have a lunch date.
Consider the benefits:
- Regularly scheduled time for the two of you
- If running or walking, a real chance to talk and connect
- If running or walking, exercise so that you both feel good all day
- A 2-3 hour period away from the kids while they’re awake! It’s not that we don’t love them and want to spend time with them, but they can be exhausting! But after a run, you come back feeling refreshed and excited to spend the rest of the day with them.
- For $30 – $50 weekly, you get regularly scheduled time to reconnect with your partner and maintain your relationship within those crazy lives of yours.
If my wife is on call or traveling, I often get a weekend babysitter just for me. ‘Me‘ time is just as valuable as ‘Us‘ time these days. A date with myself, I suppose. It is often on these alone hours that I get to really think, generate some of my best ideas, and/or to connect with family or friends by phone while I walk.
Bonus points: Do you have a niece, nephew, cousin or sibling in town who is looking for extra cash? Hire them right now because not only will it be win-win in terms of trading money for time, but you will be facilitating long-term relationships while keeping support within the family.
Our weekly morning date is so important to us that we actually include it as a separate line in our annual family budget. And, it’s something that I don’t think we’ll be cutting anytime soon.
Truly, I cannot think of money better spent.
Originally written: September 2016. Republished: February 2018.