I miss dating my husband.
During our pre-kid years, we had a standing date at our movie theater, complete with popcorn and sugary sodas. Now we have a 4-year-old son and an 8-year-old daughter to keep us busy. Add in our conflicting work schedules: he works long hours and doesn't get home until the kids are in bed, which is when I do the bulk of my work in my home office. Most days, texting is our main form of communication. When we are awake at the same time in the same place, we end up talking about the kids or work.
So domestic. And boring.
I hate feeling so disconnected from my husband, but his work schedule is currently non-negotiable. My four-year-old started preschool this fall so we’ve been sneaking in mini-dates in the morning while he’s in school.
I’m training my overachieving, type-A self on to find sneaky ways to date my husband. With a different mindset, you can have mini-dates too:
1. Keep the date simple. Both of us are so sleep deprived that we barely stay awake during a movie unless there’s lots of action and loud explosions. Instead, we grab coffee and breakfast together in the morning before he heads into work. Or instead of my husband taking the bus to the train station, I drive him. Then we stop for coffee. (See a theme here?)
2. Think quality over quantity. While a weekly date isn’t possible with our work schedules, we aim for a mini-date once a month. We also have a monthly in-home movie night where we watch bad disaster movies. If we talk during it, we won’t miss anything crucial or feel guilty. Usually we just make fun of the bad acting and lack of continuity.
3. Redefine “date.” Instead of dinner at a fancy restaurant while the sitter entertains your kids at home, incorporate mini-dates into everyday activities. My husband and I are huge coffee drinkers so hanging out at the coffee shop becomes our couple time. Every morning, I take a brisk 30-minute walk at my park. I invited my husband to come along with me on his day off. Not only did we have an uninterrupted adult conversation, we also got some exercise! Yes, going to Target together without kids counts as a date.
4. Put away the smartphones. This is the hardest for me. As someone who works in social media, I feel compelled to check my phone every 30 seconds. (I might or might not be exaggerating.) Since these are mini-dates, I turn off my ringer for the 30 minutes or so during our couple time. Don’t cheat and put it on vibrate (that’s a different post!). Or leave the phone in your car or put it at the bottom of your purse. It’s only 30 minutes. We can do it. Breathe. Talk to your partner instead.
5. Don’t talk about the kids. Ok, I take back what I said about #4. It’s challenging not to talk about the kids. After all, we’re parents. I’m constantly thinking about my kids’ appointments, school assignments, even fun things they said. No matter what, the conversation is going to steer toward our kids. We can’t help it. This takes practice too. I usually talk about the book I’m reading or we analyze the latest episode of Bones or The Big Bang Theory.
While sneaking in short moments of couple time doesn’t replace a date night out and away from the kids, they help us stay connected. Any date where there’s hot coffee can’t be a bad one, right?
What do you do to sneak in alone time with your husband (or wife)?