How’s your date life? Lacking in excitement? Last on the list after ‘use a night cream consistently’ and ‘do more crafty-type-stuff with the kids’? If you’re not nodding enthusiastically, frankly, I don’t want to hear from you. You will only make me feel inadequate and elderly and my husband may want to swap us. Or, on second thoughts, maybe not – we’re both as knackered as each other.
Things change when small ones land into the middle of a relationship. It’s not that you both no longer want to get out. Oh no – if anything, the desire to flee the nest becomes more acute (my night trips to Aldi are my equivalent to a spa treatment). It’s just that it gets really, really difficult to get away together – i.e., to go on a date of any description. Which is a problem, given the importance of – excuse the functional term – ‘investing’ in a relationship. The truth is, the demands of modern life along with parenting little children leaves one so devoid of any energy reserves that when given the option of going out for dinner with your other half, your immediate thought might just be; ‘Oh please, God, can’t I just put on my PJs, eat biscuits and catch up on Instagram videos?’.
Friend, take it from me. You need to step away from the comfy leisure wear – you definitely need to step away from that packet of chocolate kimberley – and get some make-up on. A regular, healthy date life is essential for everyone involved. Yes, it takes effort. But just like an early-morning spinning class, you’ll be SO glad you did it.
Like everyone else in our particular boat, we’re trying our best. We’ve gained a lovely local babysitter who we can call on from time to time and have generous grandparents willing to step in and, let’s face it, help keep the marriage show on the road. They’re soldiers to the cause. The last time Gaga babysat, the toddler decided to vomit all over the sitting room, for kicks. It was inexplicable – he felt fine before, and fine afterwards – he obviously, randomly needed to regurgitate the entire contents of his tummy circa 10pm. Following some heroic mopping up, Gaga is currently enjoying a break from all child-minding duties. But come December, no doubt we’ll be hoping he’ll have forgotten the curious incident of the sick in the night and gift us a few hours of his time so that we can scavenge some Christmas cheer this side of 2018. Because, exhausting as it can be, getting out, together, is important.
Recently, courtesy of my mother-in-law, we got out for a small hike together. The kind of thing we used to do all the time. A quick run up Mullagh More before breakfast on a Sunday, a jaunt around Lough Avalla on a Saturday afternoon – when our time was our own, boy did we make the most of it. This time we scarpered up and down the back face of Turlough More before stopping into Kinvara for chowder and mussels and fish and chips and a chat and some time together. Total treat. Total requirement. Total top-up. And home for 6.15pm.
Okay, so it wasn’t a glamorous candle-lit dinner followed by drinks and a night on the tiles, but there’s a time and place in a relationship for all dating stages and we’re currently at the ‘as long as we’re out, together, it’s all good’.
Lucky for him I’m no Princess!