But, the breaks are few and far between and there are days I'd give anything for time alone in the car say... on a drive home from work. But, recently, there are days where I can think about leaving them for an over night trip. Something we've not yet done. Yes. I admit, it's been three years and my husband and I have not had a night away from our kids. We've gone on dates and have spent many a nights up with wine, cheese and chocolate while we enjoy adult company, one another, or even a favorite TV show, and, if we lived closer to family and if our house hadn't flooded, I can assure you that we'd have had more of these over night trips, but living states away and with only one income, we settle for what we can get, but as a parents we've struggled to get time to ourselves. Heck, just as we get one comfortable in his bed in his room, we've got to deal with the other one! For most of Theo's life he's woken up around 11 PM wanting to nurse, wanting to play, had a night terrors, or just needs one of us.
Over the past few weeks though, our kids have been spending every night in our bed. Sometimes we don't notice until morning when we are stiff from sleeping four deep in a Queen size bed. Sometimes they wonder downstairs while we are trying to have some adult wind down time and they fall asleep in our arms on the couch.
And most of the time they are just there. Right in front of our face. Or attached to our legs, or yelling, "Daddy, tackle me!" or "Mommy, I want to hold you". Most of the time it's okay, but recently, they've been interrupting every hug, every embrace and every kiss. It's like they are purposefully trying to torture Eric and me and forcing us to remember the days where we could do nothing but lay in bed together, go on vacations or kiss when we wanted.
If Eric comes up behind me while I'm making dinner, I can assure you that there is a kid running towards us at full speed saying "I want a hug too!" We quickly finish our kiss and offer a family hug, those are nice... they aren't just very romantic.
You know you're a parent when you are pouring a glass of wine so you can start a romantic evening with your spouse and you suddenly break out singing a Doc McStuffins song. Or when you go in for a kiss and you suddenly remember that you have a load of laundry still sitting in the wash that you started at 6 AM because someone wet the bed. Or when you realize that it's been a few days or weeks (you can't remember) since you were last intimate with your spouse, so you think, I'll put on make up before he gets home and I'll do my hair and I'll look sexy, only to find that when he actually comes home there's an exploding poop riot in your living room and you are now covered in tears, (mostly yours), feces, and there's screaming because the kid covered in poop doesn't want to get cleaned up. There is just nothing romantic about that.
Or when you decide to send suggestive text messages to your spouse because, hey, it's been a while and every one likes to live dangerously right? But then, in the middle of your sexy texts you find yourself getting something for the children and you realize that you're out of milk, so you ask your spouse to pick some up on his way home from work. NOW, THAT's SEXY.
Or how about when you both decided that tonight is the night and you're just finishing up a show down stairs to make sure that the kids are really asleep, but you yourself actually fall asleep. Or when you are slipping into something more comfortable and brushing your teeth, and your partner is freshening up too (if we only get once a year then we might as well smell good, right) and as you leave the bathroom there is a smiling toddler on your bed.
Well, We'd finally had enough, and one morning when I was woken up to about 15 hard plastic animals in my bed, books thrown on top of me and energy that you wouldn't believe, I pulled out a move that I swore was one of the things I'd never do. But I went against sensible Abbey and instead, I excitedly carried the boys downstairs, changed a diaper, turned on Disney Jr., gave them a box of white powered sugar donuts, juice and grapes, locked the gate at the bottom AND the top of the stairs and went upstairs to be with my husband.
It had to be done, and I knew that when I returned to the children there would be a mess, a nice powdery mess, but it would be worth it. We needed a break. Not just to be intimate, but to have a chance to be alone when we were both awake, refreshed and not exhausted from a full days work. We need to live on the wild side of ignoring the chatter, the hot wheels, and the chaos and give ourselves a moment to think, look at one another, laugh, smile and be us.
We live a busy life, with hockey coaching, Eric's work, my trips to the gym, helping out neighbors, etc, there's not a lot of time for us. But when we get it, man, is it wonderful. This Christmas, we've decided to give ourselves the best gift of all- a night and day away! It's going to be wonderful and I can't wait to have time with just Eric, being silly, and flirtting and being "young" again.
I know that some parents do it better than we do, and some don't get out at all. We've worked really hard to make our time together something special, even when it has to be in our living room. It is hard when you have two adults and two kids fighting for attention and bathroom space in the morning, and it's easy to forget about the other adult in the room, but just remember, a little smile, taking a break from laundry or dishes to return a hug or offer a kiss makes a big difference, and it goes a long way.
And when you do get that date, or that time out of the house, make it worth it. Put your phone away, be interested and invested in one another, don't talk about the kids, do an activity, or something that isn't a movie. Parenting makes us change, and we become different people when we are surrounded by small humans every day, take time to get to know one another again. And when you get home, you'll be refreshed enough to get right back into the daily grind of poop messes, tripping on cars and solving all problems, but your relationship with your spouse will be stronger for it, and yeah, you may have to wait a week for alone time again, but it will be wonderful.