The Sanity-Saving Tradition My Husband & I Swear By

The Sanity-Saving Tradition My Husband & I Swear By

It is possible to have romance when you’ve got toddlers. You just have to get creative.

By Nicole Fabian-Weber

Having a toddler can be tough. Really tough. Throw a newborn into the mix and, wow -- your entire world is flipped upside down. You might even think you're going insane some days. And by "might," I mean "definitely will." Yes, it's blissful and joyful and filled with more love than you ever could imagine (truly, it is), but it's also exhausting and doesn't leave a heck of a lot of time to connect with your spouse.

Five months ago, my husband and I welcomed a beautiful baby boy into our family. He was 9 pounds of perfection. Sweet as an onion, cute as a button, and even a good sleeper the first few weeks of his life. We were -- and are -- over the moon with our precious bundle. But, when that magical baby bubble turned into, well, real, everyday life, we found ourselves completely overwhelmed, with little, if any, alone time.

Between work and kids, our lives consist of, well, working and parenting. At night, when both children are "asleep," we often plop down on the couch and furiously type away on our laptops beside each other, trying to tie up loose ends for work that we weren't able to get to during the day. After an hour or so of that, we flick on the TV to something mind-numbing and pass out next to each other. Need I even say it? This isn't the height of romance.

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Recently, though, we started a tradition. Something we absolutely, positively can't skip, no matter how tired we are or how many things we have on our to-do list: On Saturday nights, we eat dinner together. Alone. I know, to many this seems like something we should have thought of long ago -- and the truth is, we had. We just never did it because we were either hungry or exhausted or both.

We started doing this a little over a month ago. It stemmed from a conversation my husband and I were having -- smack dab in the middle of children, naturally -- about the general craziness of our life right now. It was a good conversation, a conversation that went beyond the standby topics of work and the kids. We were connecting, and it felt good, and I blurted out, "Let's eat dinner after the kids go to bed tonight. Let's always do that on Saturdays."

My husband made a quick trip to the market to get ingredients for an adult-only meal and after we put both children to bed that night, we cooked, ate, and talked, and it was the most relaxing thing we'd done in months. The house was quiet, there wasn't a giant mess to clean up afterwards as a result of pasta being flung about, and most importantly, we got to have an uninterrupted conversation. We felt ... a little bit like our pre-children selves.


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Since then, we've been militant about having dinner without the kids every Saturday. Even when we're beyond tired and not in the mood and would rather quickly eat rice and celery sticks with our daughter so we can be in bed by 9, we make sure we do it. It's non-negotiable -- and it's always so worth it. It's the one hour or so of the week where it's guaranteed to be all about the two of us. It's important, and I can't believe it took us this long to do it.

Last weekend, after spending a long Saturday at home with two sick kids, my husband and I were feeling particularly unenthused about waiting to eat -- and sleep. The easy thing to do would have been to take turns shoveling food in our mouths while the non-eating person tended to children, messes, and/or getting things for bedtime in order. But I made sure we stuck with our vow. Our dinner that night was frozen pizza and salad from a bag -- but, we talked, and that felt revitalizing. Yes, we passed out on the couch shortly after, but when we were shuffling up to bed, we wearily held hands. And, to be honest, I'm not sure that would have happened if it weren't for a silly little pizza.

How do you and your partner find time to connect?

Nicole Fabian-Weber is the mama of a hilarious and adventurous toddler girl and a super sweet baby boy. She lives outside of NYC and writes for The Stir and numerous other online publications. Right now, she’s probably fantasizing about sleep.

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