Why I Believe in Date Night

2011-11-25 17.43.38

By Sheba Siddiqui @shebasid & online at: www.shebasiddiqui.com

Family Writer & Columnist

Family Writer & Columnist

I grew up with parents who weren’t close, loving or affectionate with each other. In fact, I’m not even sure they liked each other. And I saw it everyday. I would watch The Cosby Show and Family Ties and wonder why my family was so different.

This is why I am a big believer in date night. I feel that having a connection with your spouse outside of the children is very important to maintain a strong relationship. I also want my children to see how much mommy and daddy love each other. And we really do. This wasn’t an arranged marriage and with many in my generation either getting divorced or learning to live in misery, I refuse to take my marriage for granted.

 

This doesn’t mean that I think date night solves everything, but my husband Saud and I both agree that we have to try our hardest to stay united, especially in this phase of life where diaper changes, tantrums and toddler needs come first, to always stay connected with each other.

I let my nanny go in December. For those of you who have read my previous Masalamommas post on why having a nanny is the best thing in the world, this may seem confusing.  I have a two-year-old, a four-year-old and I am eight and a half months pregnant. Why let the nanny go now? Well, a few reasons; one being that with both of my boys in school, there would be nothing for the nanny to do. Plus as I’m home for now, I’m looking forward to bonding with my baby sans-nanny. 2011-11-25 17.43.38

 

The one weekly event that our nanny really helped us with was date night. We used to live for date night. Once a week, usually Thursday nights, Saud and I would go out and hit the town, whether that meant dinner and a movie, a double date, a swanky restaurant or even sitting in a Starbucks, enjoying the quiet of each others company.

 

With our nanny gone, we have both acknowledged how much we miss each other. We don’t have anyone else who can watch our kids so that means date nights are on hold for now. We rarely have two minutes of conversation without being interrupted and by the time the boys are in bed, I am exhausted and have no energy left for the Mister and vice versa.

It’s made me appreciate how precious those date nights were for us. It gave us a chance to reconnect, share our thoughts with each other and as cheesy as it sounds, fall back in love every Thursday night. For any of you who’ve had multiple little ones running around, you know how easy it is to take the stress of life out on your spouse. Well, date night would do just the opposite.

Now I know not everyone is a fan of date night. Some people think its absurd to leave your children and go out without them. Others I’ve spoken to tell me that as much as they would love the idea of a date with their husbands, their kids would never allow it.

On the other hand, I think that as much as your kids may not understand it now, there will come a time when they learn to appreciate and admire the effort you put into your marriage. I also think seeing two parents who are connected and in love can help to build a confident and balanced individual.

happy endingI know that one day, if we can keep this connection and this relationship going strong, my children will understand why mommy and daddy put so much effort into always making their relationship a top priority. And hopefully they will continue the tradition well into their own marriages.

In the meantime, with no one to watch our kids, we are learning to get creative. Date nights no longer consist of checking out the city’s latest hotspot. Instead we are learning that when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. So we sneak off to meet up for a quick bite to eat before I pick the kids up at lunchtime, or we wait for Friday night and wrap ourselves in blankets in front of the fireplace and watch a movie together.

The simple fact that we can sit down in a restaurant and not have to worry about noise levels, making a mess or kids menus while enjoying each others company, is sometimes enough. It may not be the same as getting dressed up and painting the town red and yes, at any moment, our kids sometimes wake up and come running out of their rooms as soon as we’ve cozied up together on the couch, but we do what we can. Most importantly, we try to find the humour in it all as we recognize it’s only a matter of time before the kids are grown and gone. We just need to make sure we still like each other and have something in common when we are suffering from empty nest syndrome in 20 years.

 How do you juggle your marriage after kids? Share your thoughts with us!

 


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There are 3 comments

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  1. Anu Sandhu Bhamra

    I agree with all the parts about having date night with your partner, especially when you have kids. But the opening line, “I grew up with parents who weren’t close, loving or affectionate with each other.” made me uncomfy. I am assuming the author’s parents were of Indian heritage and grew up in India. Marriage, at least in our parents’ generation (I am seemingly of the same age group as the author) was understood as a different concept as opposed to in the west.
    Again, it is not entirely a cultural thing – there are many layers of patriarchal order, economic reality and other factors woven in. A house was run like a business institution and parents’ role was not limited to just raising kids and putting dinner on table, so to say if there was no physical embrace means there was no love is a little far fetched. Unless of course there was bitterness between this particular couple for entirely different reasons. I’d love it if the author deconstructed having a date night entirely from her own perspective rather than justification from the parents’ relationship. I’d love to read on that 😀

  2. WordyDoodles

    This is so great. My parents were just the same way, and I’ve made the same promise to myself and my spouse that we would be really openly affectionate. It was so hard living in a house that was so chilly. I want my kids to grow up in a happy, warm home.

  3. Rajdeep Paulus

    Great post! I love Date Night! And funny thing is, I think my parents discovered date night after we all graduated from college and tied the knot. I love hearing that they’ve made plans for a trip to Vegas or Hawaii or the Italian eatery a two minute drive from their house. Sure they might not think of it quite like us who grew up in Canada or the States, but they’re having fun and spending time with each other.

    As for the diaper days, Hubs and I did plenty of couch dates with a movie and microwave popcorn when the munckins were asleep. I think that counts too. 🙂 -raj


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