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Family Time: Dating Your Family

This post is by regular contributor Catherine Oehlman aka SquiggleMum.

1. Dating Your Partner

Do you remember the days of dating your spouse?  Getting dressed up… dinner reservations… talking for hours on the phone… looking forward to doing nothing-in-particular, as long as it was together?  For many of us dating is a distant memory, but spending time with your partner after you have kids is still really important.

Dating your spouse isn’t necessarily about recreating those early days in your relationship. Having children changes everything, and your expectations about dating need to change too.

My husband and I are approaching our 12th wedding anniversary (!!) and our kids are aged 5 and 3. One thing we have learned to do is book in a date-night once a week.  Most of the time, our “date” involves giving the kids toasted sandwiches for dinner, putting them to bed early, then enjoying take-away and a DVD together!  It’s not glamorous, but we’ve found that what we do isn’t nearly as important as it used to be.  Simply prioritising time together is enough.

2. Dating Your Kids

In our family, we have also loosely extended the term dating to include one-on-one time spent with the kids.  While togetherness is vital in families, research suggests that regular time alone with a parent (fathers in particular) significantly benefits children.

Miss 5 adores her Daddy-daughter dates.  Together they have enjoyed movies and ice cream and special times.  Mr 3 also loves his time with Dad, though it is less structured.  Whether it’s a trip to the hardware store, checking out boats, or just a run to the dump – they love their boytime!

Being a SAHM makes it easier for me to spend one-on-one time with each of the kids. Sometimes we just hang out and talk, while playing something of their choosing.  Other times I try to make it special by going somewhere out of the ordinary.

3. Dating Yourself!

Every mum needs a little me time.  Consider it dating yourself!  Parenting can be all-consuming, and most of us find we are better mothers when we remember to prioritise our own needs too.  I like to head to the shops when they’re open late on a Thursday night.  Some other mums I know use exercise to destress, some buy shoes, some just share a block of chocolate with a friend.  Do whatever it is that recharges your batteries, and makes you feel refreshed.

Maintaining healthy relationships requires both quality and a quantity of time.  Relationships are hard work, but they are worth every ounce of effort you invest.

Do you and your partner regularly schedule date nights?  Have you ever considered dating your kids?  And when was the last time you took some time out for yourself?!

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Comments

  1. Excellent advice- bravo!

  2. Amanda Eastment says:

    We love going on dates with our kids. We either do them one on one or the two girlies with a parent or a family date to a special place. All are enjoyed thoroughly! Loved this post Cath. It’s a great reminder to get back into date nights. Not sure we can do them atm though……news is we have number 3 on the way in July!

  3. I find I have to schedule it in to make sure it happens. No more leaving things upto chance. It just won’t happen with me.
    Love this reminder.

  4. Excellent. I had this growing up and I loved it. My Dad used to take us each out and do something special about once a month.

  5. What a thought provoking post! Since having our twins 18 months ago we haven’t managed a date time at all….you have made me realise that we don’t need to go out but we do need to put some effort into ‘us’. Thanks so much for sharing a lovely post.

  6. We go on dates with our kids – although spreading it out between 4 kids sometimes means the one-on-one time isn’t as frequent as they would like! We range from the simple (eg a trip to the shops with me) or a bit more planned (eg movie date). I think it’s so important to try and include all 3 date suggestions into the family schedule – tricky, but so valuable.

    • Deb I’ve heard other mums agree that the more kids you have, the harder it is to get that one-on-one time with each of them. I suspect it is extra special for each of them when you do though!

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