Reset, Refresh, Renew

In Relationships on July 14, 2011 at 12:01 AM

As parents, there never really is a “day off”.  If you’re not at work, then you’re on your second, maybe even third job as a parent.  There are no paid sick leaves and a paid vacation only means that you’ve saved up enough money to deemed the vacation as paid for.  As rewarding as this job is, it is also one that will wear you down and have you rapping DMX lyrics about losing your mind.  Yeah, parenting can be tough in the midst of all the other things going on in your life and in the world.  So, in an effort to combat this, we came up with a nice routine that gives us a few hours each week to simply reset and take a little time out for ourselves.

We are both part of organizations that require after-work meetings one day a month.  Kenya has a board meeting the first Tuesday of the month while Dennis meets the first Wednesday.  With this schedule, we naturally decided to assign “reset” days accordingly.  On Tuesday, Dennis will get the girls and make sure they make it from school/camp to bed.  Homework, after school activities, dinner, etc…. are all taken care of by him alone on this day.  On Wednesday, Kenya does the same without hesitation about Dennis pitching in.  This time designated for each other not only develops a consistent routine but it also helps to set aside time to get personal matters done.  Whether it be a day to work late, a night to catch up with a friend or two, getting hair done or cut, or simply running errands that didn’t get completed over the weekend, the designated day leaves time open to get things done without the feeling of burdening your spouse with an unexpected request.  This is not to say that days can never be switched or friends can’t be met on a day like Thursday but if you know you have a day, you just try to manage doing everything on that day. For those that say they can never work out, make this your day even if it is once a week to finally indulge that gym membership or that free walking trail.  Additionally, respect is still in order as this is not a means to go and hang out all night like you’re 17 and mom just gave you the keys to the car.  This is merely a moment to reset and refresh.  We still check in with each other to let each other know where we’ll be if we haven’t said so before or to let each other know when we’ll be home.  So, while there’s really no “curfew”, we typically get home prior to 11p in time to settle and kiss each other good night.

Thursdays are supposed to be set for “date night” and “supposed” is used because, admittedly, we have not been as good about keeping this under as strict of a routine.  It may be because we’re so used to sporadically going out that we don’t take the time to actually plan when we’ll spend time together.  We just do it.  We’re working on it.  And, for us, a date night is just as well spent sitting together on the sofa and watching a TV show together or sitting at the bar and shooting pool.  Whatever it may be, a date can be done without calling a sitter and leaving the house.  We began reading a book together and so we designated Thursdays to have discussions about what we read (yes, sort of like a book club).  Well, again, we’re working on it (smile).

Nevertheless, we suggest following through with it and setting aside time to snuggle up close with your spouse and just talk.   Whether you talk about a book or your day, over drinks or over popcorn, just set aside time to hang out.  We’ve known each other since 1990 and there are still things we are learning about each other (and ourselves) as we have both grown and evolved into very different people from 20+ years ago.  In order that we continue to grow together, communication is key.  Many couples may find themselves like passing ships in the night.  We’ve done it ourselves.  And, this is why it’s important to recognize the need to throw down your anchors and take some time to talk and laugh.

We’re all busy.  Even if you don’t have children, your life can get busy.  So when you do add children into the mix, your time isn’t necessarily yours any more.  We suggest you take some time for yourself and each other.  If once a week doesn’t work, try every other week or heck, even once a month is better than nothing.  The point is set aside time for yourself even if it means just going to a park or the mall for a short walk.  Then take time with each other.  Put the kids to bed and just sit on some chairs or the stoop and say “hi”.  Whatever time you can steal away from your parenting duties just do so.  Try to make it a consistent routine and look forward to those days for just some “me time” and even some “we time”.

Reset.  That’s What’s Up!



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