Saturday, May 2, 2009

Requests From Our Readers: Week 4

This week we are talking about how to find time together as a couple. Check out what our reader said:

"How do you find time with your husband (or make the most of the few moments you can find here and there) without having to find a babysitter and leave for an entire evening."

What an EXCELLENT question, and one we've all pondered about before. So help us out:

How do you find time with your spouse without getting a sitter?
What things do you like to do together?
How do you keep your marriage strong even while taking care of children?
How do you make the most of the moments you do have?
How do you handle babysitters when you do want to go out?

Next Week: Keeing children happy in the car during LONG road trips.


Tink said...

We hang out every night and watch a movie or our favorite tv shows after the kids are in bed. We love just doing nothing as long as we're together. We have a free sitter-my sister- but don't get to use her often now that she's married, but we still try to go "out" once a month. Sometimes we just hang out while he's changing after work and don't let the kids in while we have mom and dad conversations about our day. I think our marriage is strong because we are so alike. We've started having a headache at the same time even while he's at work, etc. We're just really connected like that. We say the same things at the same time a lot too. I think you just really need to focus on each other and not the kids. I've learned that you always put your spouse before your kids, as much as you love them too.

Megan said...

We also get the most couple time after the kiddo goes to bed. We generally spend it watching TV or movies and talking. We try to do a date night at least once a month and generally my little sister watches Lucas.

Jared and Delia said...

I am so glad this topic came up. We haven't been on a date since Christmas time. Well... a real date. We spend time at night when we can, but my husband has stints when he is at school/work literally ALL day. To reconnect we make Sunday nights our time to talk, plan for the week, play board games, etc. Daily we make sure that we call at meal times, breakfast (yes, sometimes he is gone before we wake up), lunch and dinner if he can't make it home...although he normally does.

I have gleaned great ideas from you guys. I like how Tink and her husband talk away from the kids about their day when he gets home.

We don't have family close for sitters but we are thinking of hiring a young woman to sit with the kids after they are in bed. I hear they go for about $2-3 for the first kid and an additional $1 after that/ per hour. Do you think that is a fair rate? I have no idea. I just asked one other mom.

Anonymous said...

My husband works in Rock Springs, WY 2 weeks on and then is home for 1 week. Our time together when he's gone is when I'm driving to work (I commute an hr) and then again at night when I let the kids call and talk too.
When he's at home, we just make sure that we spend time together after the kids are in bed and if we can find someone to sit with the kids, we'll go out! ;)

On The Go Family said...

My husband works full-time and is in MBA school two nights a week. He also spends 2-3 nights studying, along with most of the day Saturday. He doesn't study at all on Sundays, but he's the EQ president, so much of the day is taken up with those responsibilities, which he has to let slack during the week.

Our first year of the program was pretty brutal because we spent NO time together. This year, we started taking a yoga class together on Monday and Wednesday nights. It's tricky ... he has to get home early so we can make it and I have to have dinner on the table by 5. We also had to move FHE to Sunday nights since we're out on Monday. But this little "date" means so much to us and really helps our marriage.

We do a kid swap with another couple in our neighborhood so we can go out one weekend night a month. We also do a kid swap with some friends from church so we can go to the temple once a quarter. We live 2 hours away, so it becomes an all-day affair.

Tannie Datwyler said...

I can't add a lot more that is different, but.....

So first question - how to find time without getting a sitter? My husband and I get to spend about 3 hours together each night after our kids are asleep. It is AWESOME! We put our kids to bed early and that helps a lot. My husband is a VERY busy student working on his PHD, but he spends his evenings with us. In order to get more time for his research he sometimes goes into his other job late at night (after I am in bed) - that's a sacrifice for him, but I'm grateful for it. He is home most nights, so that is where we find our time. I think that he will take longer to finish his PHD than he originally planned, but for him being with us is more important. That extra year might be difficult for me to think about, but when I realize that the extra year comes because he spends so much time with us, it makes me feel better. Spending every evening together doesn't work for everyone of course!! :) Everyone has different jobs and circumstances - that is just what works for us.

Second question - what do we like to do together. We read A LOT!!!! He reads books to me most of the time while I try to work on a project (or more often just play a game on the computer - I can't stand to be idle while listening to someone read). We sometimes watch movies, but mostly we just read. If you like books and your spouse does, I highly recommend this. It is my favorite thing.

How do we keep our marriage strong? I know it seems obvious, but we communicate. Being REALLY open can be hard for both of us. I sometimes have to push really hard to get my husband to tell me what is stressing him out. He likes to keep it locked up. He sometimes has to be super patient and wait until I am ready to talk (and not push). We are opposite in some ways. So, after 6 years of marriage we have just figured out how to best get the other to communicate. My favorite time to talk to him is when we are in the car on a long trip. My family lives 1 1/2 hours away, and we usually spend the majority of the ride home takling (it is usually late and night and our kids are sleeping in the car). This is one of my favorites. Taking walks and talking is another wonderful time to keep us communicating.

How do we make the most of the moments? We laugh a lot, and try to enjoy our kids. I agree that it is more important to make sure you marriage is strong and sometimes your kids have to be put aside for a minute, but I find that I love and appreciate my husband more while watching him take care of and play with and laugh with our children.

As for baby sitters - we've been super fortunate. As "on the go family" stated - we do baby sitting swaps. This is the BEST way to go - if you can. We trade with a friend of mine for date nights once a month. We also trade with a different couple in our ward for temple night once a month. This isn't always possible depending on where you live and how many children you have, so other good ideas are to get a sitter for the older kids and take the baby with you. I don't feel comfortable leaving my baby with a young woman to sit, but I have no qualms about a young woman watching my toddler or older kids. That is totally up to you though. We haven't had to take our baby on dates though, because like I said, we do baby sitting swaps. You can also put the kids to bed early and then go out on a late date(I liked that idea from Delia), but I have NO IDEA how much to pay a sitter, since I haven't had to do that yet.

I think that is it... long enough answer for you Laura?

Jared and Delia said...

Tannie...I loved reading your answer. I have attempted swapping with another couple but it seems that our schedule doesn't jive with other parents' schedules, so we end up babysitting their kid but can never get the other end of it going. I think going out after the kids are in bed helps me focus less on getting home to them and more on the date and my husband as well. Although... I struggle with date nights still. By the time we get everything planned, a sitter lined up, and the kids in bed, we are almost too tired to get out! I guess it will get easier when we grow out of the baby phase. Maybe...

I have been reading this ancient (well from the 70's or 80's) booklet put out by the LDS church on parenting. It talks about how children from ages 4 to 11 are learning about how to fill their gender roles. One of the key ways our children understand and respect these roles and properly appreciate intimacy is to see their parents treat each other with respect and tenderness. I will be honest. We don't have a perfect marriage but we are striving toward this...that our conduct toward each other can be emulated and will help our children build a strong foundation of who they are and what marriage should be. I find that my children are a good daily reminder to me of how I should be treating others in general, and especially my husband. I have noticed that the more I openly show affection and flirt with my husband in front of the kids, the nicer EVERYONE and the kids. Interesting huh? I think that with all the stresses of parenthood it is easy to get snippy or even just get complacent and not make a concerted effort to actually FLIRT with your spouse. It is worth every effort though. That I can attest.

JeriLynn said...

I pay my babysitter $2 per hour per child. Her mom runs a daycare, and this is what she feels is a fair price for a 13-year-old.