Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The importance of Date Night

Lately, since the birth of Hugo and everything going on with my mother's family, it's been a little hectic. In order to cheer myself up, I've been organising a night out with the girls (next week, I can't wait!) and dinner/shopping trips with my sister. Then I realised yesterday that with all that, I wasn't planning anything with only Barry and I. I therefore immediately enlisted the babysitting services of my sister so I could take Barry out on a date tonight.

I truly believe that being in a relationship can be hard work. Barry and I have always acknowledged this, right from the beginning almost six years ago now! We don't believe that you can just sit in a relationship without taking action and expect it to build great and strong. After all, it is the same with friendships, if you don't work hard on friendships, you may end up losing friends. However, as life does, it can get in the way and make you forget this.  The birth of a child is always going to be a difficult test on a couple... You are sleep deprived, you may not have showered that week or even if you have, you are now covered in all sorts of bodily fluids and food. At times you have absolutely no idea what you are doing and you are running on instincts alone. You may have a different idea on parenting than your partner. One of you may have been at work all day to come home to screaming kids and/or a fed up wife/husband/partner... Or you may be the one who has been at home all day slowly losing your mind and feel like you're not coping too great with this whole parenting thing. Naturally, there are loads of really good days in between. But it is the bad days that can really put a strain on your relationship. Whichever one of the above two examples mentioned you are, either way, it can be difficult to remember making an effort to put your relationship as a couple first.
I have been feeling guilty lately that I am not being a great girlfriend to Barry lately. I've been tired, overwhelmed, grieving therefore sad... and so I have locked him out as a self-preservation bid to keep it "together" as much as possible. However, I have been greatly looking forward to going out with friends and family. This replenishes me. And so I was reminded that Barry and I used to always go out on dates pre-babies. Whether just for a drink after work simply because the sun was out. Or out to dinner because we did not feel like cooking. This carried on until pretty much the week Siena was born.
The first few months after Siena was born were hard. It was a whole new world and took a lot of trial and error before finding out what worked for us. Once we were a little more settled into this whole parenting thing, we decided to go on a date at least once a month. We did not always strictly adhere to this new rule, as we felt bad always asking friends to babysit and could not afford a babysitter that often. But we made sure we made the effort as much as we could. We also enjoyed loads of days out as a family, but in order to be good parents together, we need to ensure we are a strong couple.
Pre-Hugo, we were starting to go out more often, even if only to the local cinema to catch a good film. However, as is to be expected, life has been manic since the arrival of Hugo and having to get used to being a family of four.  Barry and I have been out a little, sometimes together, sometimes with our respective friends, but not yet on a proper date.
Barry and I have been together almost six years now. He knows how much I love food and how I am unable to eat small portions. He makes fun about my taste in music and the fact that I'm foreign. He understands that family comes first no matter what, and respects that. He is always happy to look after the kids if I need a night out with my friends or a shopping trip with my sister. He knows I'm grumpy with hungry. And tired. And stressed. He knows I need to be me, and not just a mum. I sometimes forget how well he knows me, but he always reminds me of this through little things.
I am therefore looking forward to tonight to catch up, have a drink, and remind him (and myself!) that I love him, that we are doing just fine, and have two beautiful bambini to prove this. I have no idea where we are going to go, or what I am going to wear. But what I am really looking forward to is just spending time with my man.
What about you? Do you hold regular date nights? What do you do to ensure your couple remains strong (whether you have kids or not!). I'd love to hear from you :)
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