CareerMom and I recently celebrated our 8th anniversary. No big milestone, but these days…8 years…kinda deserves something right? So, I booked us a night away from the house and the kids. We went to nearby Stone Mountain. They have a pretty nice Marriott and I got us a nice room for an evening and a massage treatment the next morning.
Since CareerMom is always fearful of asking her parents to watch the boys for us, I did it instead and it worked out beautifully. They came over and we gave them all the instructions for feeding and putting the boys to sleep and what to do when our youngest wakes up his usual two times. There were no tears (from either us or the boys), there was no sniffling…we just left.
One of the first things you notice about not having kids with you in the car is that both adults get to ride in the front of the car rather than the way it is usually; me driving and her sitting in the back keeping the baby from screaming. And we actually got to have adult-like conversation. It was really nice.
I won’t bore you with a play-by-play of the entire weekend, but I will tell you that it was nice to re-discover my wife. As parents, we get into this “parent mode” mentality that, while fun for the kids, is very much geared for the kids. And even once the kids have gone to bed, that mentality sticks because being a parent is a 24×7 job and you can’t just turn it on and off. I suspect this is why many marriages struggle once children are in the mix. There’s just nothing sexy about bathing children or changing poopy diapers and you’re usually just so “done” by the time they’re in bed, that you’re lucky if you have time for a shower before you feel like crawling under the covers and calling it quits for the day. So, forget relationship building on most days.
But when you’re away, I mean really away and not just “at the grocery store” away, you find that you can actually let it all go and be yourself again. On more than one occasion, I found myself looking at my wife while she was talking and thinking, “Ah, there you are. I’ve missed you. I’ve missed that playful side of you that I was attracted to in the beginning.”
I don’t know that I’ve changed like that, but I suppose I have too. Certainly, I’m much more stressed now that we have kids and I’m equally sure that it’s reflected in my behavior. And while I mentally made a note to be more mindful of my behavior at home when the kids aren’t around, I know that within a couple of weeks, after getting up multiple times in the middle of the night (and eventually staying up after the 4:30 feeding as I did this morning) and after the constant entertainment that is required to keep everyone from crying, I’ll fall back into my old habits. I’ll try not to, but I know I will. It’s just too hard not too.
It’s a shame though that one has to spend $400 on a night away just to remember who he is.