We all know it's really important to take child free time out for yourself and as a couple when you have children. It's super easy to get sucked into a routine of this not happening very much and is much easier said than done... something I can really relate to at the moment. As much as I'd like to think parenthood wouldn't change us it has had a massive upheaval on our lives, routines and most of all sleep! We've well and truly leaped into a lazy ritual of Netflix and chill (and I'm not talking about the euphemism here thats I've just been told this means!) and we are in need of more 'us' and 'recharge' time. Ok so we haven't got any trips to a yoga retreat in Thailand planned but there are things we can do to help support each other on our journey through it all...
I was recently approached by Bubble, a new babysitting app where you can find a babysitter your friends already know, use and trust. It's a ‘socially smart’ mobile app that not only allows parents to find, book and pay their sitters in a few taps – it also shows both parents and sitters how they’re connected through mutual friends. The perfect app to ensure a bit more of this child free time happens! I especially like that you can book a sitter that you know someone else has used and recommended. It's often a worry to book someone completely random and spend your precious time out worrying about that, the last thing you need!
Bubble are running a campaign called 'Date Like a Parent' and wanted me to write something to support it. They want parents to realise that it's not just about a pre-planned traditional 'date night' but that it can be anything from a spur of the moment afternoon off or a cheeky trip to the pub or bingo. Its really got me thinking about mine and Liam's relationship and how it has changed since becoming parents and what time away from the kids (be it half an hour or a day) these days means to us. A recent coffee date after dropping the kids off at nursery made us realise how nice it was to just sit and catch up, especially as most of the time we catch up in the evening when we are pretty knackered (and grumpy :) ). I really recommend trying it out if you can, we plan to now do it once a week. Child free time to us is so important as it gives us a break from the routine (and we really are routine people) and also helps us to put things into perspective a bit more. It gives you that all important head space. It's nice to sit in peace and have a spare moment to think only about yourselves for a change and feel less responsibility for a bit. So much of parenthood is about looking after your kids 24/7 and you often get neglected along the way. But it's also nice to sit and talk about the future and make exciting plans to look forward to. So the plan is to have more of this child free time to recharge this year, plus its good for the kids to have time away from us on the odd occasion - then we can all appreciate each other more! We will be testing out the Bubble app properly so watch this space to see how we get on.
Recently we've got the bedtime routine down to a fine art, especially when we are both there for it - getting both the kids into bed by 6.45pm is a new way we have found to have more time together in the evening. That extra down time makes all the difference! Plus popping a film on for Finn when Violet naps at weekends means we have an hour or so to ourselves, ok so maybe we don't actually do anything together in that hour but at least we get some quiet time, without chaos! Reading the paper is a massive luxury. I find it's the small things that make the difference these days - being treated to a lie in, popping into town on the tube to look around the shops for a few hours, an hour to relax and read a magazine and being cooked dinner. Everything we used to take for granted.
Exciting things to look forward to include a romantic dinner out this Saturday at a restaurant we've been dying to try for ages, am going to actually wash my hair and make an effort not to spend the night yawning! A two week holiday with the kids with a massage (one of the things Im sadly most excited about!) and some child free afternoons also planned in and a friends 40th where we will be away for the night (no doubt returning with an #adultheadache).
Finding time with your other half is a true challenge when you become a parent but those rare moments it is just the two of you reminds you how much your lives have changed - for the good of course ;) Money spent on a babysitter is always money well spent I say! So go on - get some child free time booked in, just do it!I would love to hear from you and any tips on how you manage your child free time together. Feel free to comment below.