Mommy Blogger April B. – Building a Strong Family Foundation
I'm going to come clean about something I take a lot of flak for. I feel like, because my position on this is somewhat different from that of most, people are quick to insert their unwanted views or try and win me over to their way of thinking. But I probably feel more strongly about this one stance, than anything else. I don't feel the need to defend my position. But I do feel the need to explain it.
My husband and I don't do date night. Ever. We never have. We don't use babysitters. We just don't.
After our first child was born, we sort of made a pact. A pact to invest fully in our family. We both work full-time and we both always intended to continue working full-time, so we knew every second beyond that needed to be family time.
It's not that we don't like each other or want to spend time together. We do like each other. A lot. We love each other. But most of all, we love our family. Our family--the unit. Our family, together. Our family having fun, sharing experiences, making memories and just being together.
It's not that we wouldn't enjoy eating a peaceful meal with no one complaining, no one spilling, and no one needing to go to the bathroom 12 times. It's not that we wouldn't enjoy sitting through a movie minus another 12 trips to the bathroom and hushedly whisper-yelling "QUIET!" 73 times.
We would enjoy that, for sure.
But for as pesky as a dinner out with kids can be, we also realize how special each and every one of those annoying moments are. How, someday, I'm going to be sad that I no longer have a pudgy little hand to hold as I weave one of the littles through a crowded restaurant.
I really am going to miss that.
Someday, I'm going to miss gazing past the my three kiddos, their heads resting in stairstep order against the backs of the movie theater chairs... their little bodies slightly folding up with the seat because they're not big enough to fully hold it down yet.... the anticipation on their faces as the show begins.
I already miss that.
And to the naysayers, who will swear date nights make for happier couples, I can only say this: I do not know, or care, what works in your marriage. However, we are perfectly happy, thankyouverymuch. You should do what works for you. This works for us. We built a strong marriage foundation before we had children. Now we've taken it and are building a strong family foundation. The five of us. Together.
I also don't believe a date will make me a better parent. I don't believe a night on the town will make me a happier wife. It's just not what works for me, personally. In fact, nothing makes me happier than watching my kids and thinking, "Wow. We made them." And let me be very clear about this: Nothing--absolutely nothing--is sexier than a man who will get on the floor and wrestle with his kids or engage in family Nerf gun combat. You know what makes me love my husband even more? It's not dinner for two at the Olive Garden. It's watching him thoroughly enjoy our kids.
Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not trying to convince you my way is best. I'm not trying to make anyone feel guilty about once-a-week date nights. Everyone is different. Every family is different. So, every choice must be different.
This is our choice.
This life makes us so, so happy. It works for us. If a different approach works for you, great. I'm happy for you!
So to all my friends, here's the deal:
I like you. You are important in my life. But, aside from work day lunches, you have to take a back seat... for now.
So, if you invite us to a wedding, but not our children, I'm sorry we won't be able to attend.
If you invite us to a party, but not our children, I'm sorry we won't be able to attend.
If you ask us out to dinner, adults only, I'm sorry we won't be able to attend.
If you invite me to the occasional girls-only event and my husband is cool about hanging with the kids for a few hours, then I *might* come. But if the invitation requires a babysitter, I'm out.
Please don't be offended. And please don't make me feel like my children are a burden on our friendship simply becaue we're a package deal. Some of you have made me feel that way on more than one occasion and it stinks. You can include us all, if you will. And honestly, there really isn't anything I enjoy doing that I can't do with my kids in tow.
Someday, when our children are grown and off living their own lives, we'll be able to frolic willy nilly through life eating quiet dinners... using the restroom with no interruption... watching movies without worrying we're disturbing others.
Although, I have to admit, that life sounds kind of boring. Which is why we'll need YOU to entertain us.
But for now, I hope you understand that--right now--we are making a choice. We chose to have these children. And we're going to choose them, every single day, until the time comes when they're ready to spread their wings. And when that time does come, what I hope they have learned from this is not that they have to make the same choice we did--but that we gave them the foundation and the confidence to make their own choices.