When Kids Put Romance On The Rocks, Get Out!
by Roli Khare Rastogi, Esquire
The job, the house, the grocery shopping, the laundry, the kids’ outings… have you ever been more tired in your life? Amid the hustle and bustle and reprioritization of changes our children bring into our lives, is it any wonder there seems to be NO time or energy left over for romance?
When was the last time you had a slow, intimate conversation, over a nice dinner with your spouse or significant other? Recently, when I asked myself that question I realized during the past sixteen months (read: one year, four months) I’d been out with my husband once
Spending quality time with your spouse or significant other is what stabilizes your marriage. It’s a time when you can check in on priorities, conflicts, and what’s next for both of you. Together. And separately. In a healthy way.
Unfortunately, spending too much time being mom and dad and less time being husband and wife, or partners, can lead to a lack of connection, but also a failure to communicate.
Lack of communication leads to petty misunderstandings, which compounded over time, is a recipe for marriage disaster.
According to Gary S. Blanchard of Helping Kids Through Divorce, lack of communication ranks #1 among the top 5 reasons couples divorce.
I’ve seen it too. By the time a client is sitting across from me articulating her reasons for divorce, the opportunity to salvage the marriage is long gone. I often think my job as a lawyer is part legal advisor, part marriage therapist and counselor. I stress to my clients the importance of building solid relationships—both with their spouse and with a close group of friends who can help them see the big picture.
Our daughter has singularly been the most exciting and the most unpredictable event in our lives.
I spend a lot of time with my toddler. I take her with me everywhere —grocery shopping, mom meetups, international travels, legal outings and even dance class. Heck, I just traveled six weeks to remote villages in India with her. I know that may seem extreme, but I truly believe my daughter develops a new world perspective and learns from her surroundings. Even so, as every mom can relate, there are many times I wish I had more time to myself. The shower is my refuge (nodding of heads, yes?).
Even more than time for solitude, though, I wish I carved out more one-on-one time with my husband. Just the two of us.
It’s so important to connect with your significant other because raising a child is not easy. We need the bond of our love-mate to help us weather the everyday storms of parenting.
With our daughter, family outings have become chaotic. Most attempts at enjoying a sit-down dinner in a restaurant end with a screaming baby and/or flying objects in the air, followed by our swift exit. That means potluck lunches (leftovers we bring home) are our new norm.
And yet, if we’re going to keep the romance and flow of communication alive, we can’t resort to being homebodies.
To re-kindle, spark or keep that romantic fire burning, we have to get out!
Old-timers have told you enough times. Couples date night is a must. Take their advice! Consider these ideas:
- Make a point to have date night once a week. Movie night, ice-cream dates, gym runs and boardwalk talks count.
- On date night, make sure to talk about topics that you’ve always shared and enjoyed; anything other than the kids.
- Don’t feel guilty for going out. Healthy Parents = Healthy Kids.
- No sitter? No problem. Try a mommy-share. With a group of friends, rotate kids at each other’s homes so one set of parents can have a date night.
- Check out kids drop-off nights at play gyms. You’ve seen the signs at Gymboree, The Little Gym and the like. Once a month opportunities to drop off your older child at night while parents have a moment to themselves is a great solution for romance-starved couples.
- Hire a trustworthy babysitter. Websites such as Care.com, Nanny.net, and by word of mouth recommendations from friends are good ways to find reputable babysitters.
Balancing the responsibilities of family, work and personal life can sometimes be challenging.
On the other hand, I believe the reason we engage in family life is because there’s a degree of real satisfaction that comes from all three aspects of our lives. The key is to give individual attention to all three aspects.
Your significant other deserves your undivided attention at some point in the week. Moreover, more face-time means less miscommunication. And from a legal standpoint, that is a good enough reason to keep making date nights happen. So go on, treat yourself and your better half to a well-deserved night out.
In other words, get out NOW!
Roli Khare Rastogi is legal counsel for a start-up company and a Voting Rights Fellow for the South Asian Americans Leading Tomorrow (SAALT). She previously served as a Staff Attorney for NYC’s Human Resources Administration, Office of Legal Affairs. She is Vice-President of Membership for the South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY), Overall Project Coordinator for Association for Indian Development (AID-NYC) and sits on the Advisory Board of the Asian Outreach Program of The Child Center of New York. She volunteers extensively for Manavi’s Domestic Violence Family Law clinic.