If you're a mom of young children, I'm guessing Father's Day preps for your husband or partner probably include something along the lines of framing some finger painting or wrapping up a gift (purchased by you) and securing the ever-endearing crayon-scribbled card to the box. Cute? Of course. Sentimental? Definitely. But perhaps there is another way you can express how much your family appreciates everything he does. How about the gift of time alone with you?
Now, Dr. Laura I am not. But on this motherhood journey so far, I have come realize one thing -- along with taking care of the kids, you can't forget to take care of your relationship. And here's something funny -- I never would have guessed that pop star Christina Aguilera and I would ever be on the same wavelength about anything. But it seems we are of the same planet when it comes to "date night." This week, the singer defended herself against tabloid critics who've branded her a bad mother for spending evenings out with her husband instead of staying in with her new baby.
This week, she told People.com, "Once in a while, if I want to go out and have a mommy-daddy night with my husband, I am more than allowed to do that."
Um, yeah. Who are these people questioning whether a couple has the right to enjoy some alone time? I think it is essential. Furthermore, when I look back at the first year of motherhood and how completely exhausting and overwhelming it was, I realize how it was so important to have time away from the babies. It is really easy to lose sight of each other when you are just trying to get through the transition of new parenthood as a couple. Thank goodness we had family close enough to give us a break. So, good for Christina! And by the way, I don't think it gets easier as infants grow into toddlers. You may get more sleep. But your time chasing the cuties around all day takes a real toll by dusk. Suddenly bedtime at 9:30 starts looking pretty darn attractive.
The point is that it is really important to find time to reconnect. Dare I refer to Sex and The City? Everyone by now has probably seen it. It struck me as I sat in the theater watching the conflict play out between working mom Miranda and her unfaithful husband Steve, that every marriage is at risk of falling apart. Afterall, why do we have so many divorces? You really have to work at it.
The same day I went to see Sex (courtesy of my sister, by the way, who for my birthday gave me the thoughtful gift of babysitting!!!), I saw the story in the Sunday Styles section of the NYT about two couples who wanted to spark new romance into their marriages by getting busy every day for 365 days straight. What resonated with me wasn't their endurance. It was that they had grown so distant, they felt they actually needed to formalize sex as a project.