When’s break-time in a 24/7 gig?

18Jun2013

The CRUNCH:
When’s break-time in a 24/7 gig?

CRUNCH deets:
They leave a trail of toys/laundry/crumbs/grass everywhere they go. They talk NON-STOP about shows/characters/plotlines you couldn’t care less about, sing songs that stay stuck in your head, and ask so. many. questions. You barely have a chance to start eating before someone needs another glass of milk/more bread/dessert. And, seriously, between the baby’s diapers and the preschooler’s bladder, just how much longer will you have to spend the better part of a day inside a bathroom?

The Fix:
Date night, with a twist.

Fix deets:
You love your children. Especially when they’re not bugging you. That’s why you sneak into their rooms at night, to catch a glimpse of them when they’re calm and not demanding. Because, ya know, it’s such a rare sight. And seeing them slumber, you resolve to be more patient/understanding/loving tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day. A day full of possibilities! Your optimism lasts about as long as your morning hug, right up until she asks for her favourite t-shirt (the one that’s in the wash because she wore it yesterday). One wardrobe tantrum later and it’s time to disagree about food, rush her to daycare/playgroup/swimming, set her up with a craft/book/show so you can get dinner/laundry/dishes done, and listen to more whining/complaints/demands. And at the end of it all you’re supposed to cuddle to read her a story? No wonder you need a break! Not only is one day of this draining, you’re living it day-in-day-out with no end in sight. Um… bummer.

If this was a paying gig you’d have booked a vacation months ago. You can’t do that, just like you can’t call in sick when you’re the one with the fever, but one thing you can do is schedule in regular me-time. This means booking your spouse/mom/sitter on a weekly basis for a solid chunk of time during which you get to do… anything. Anything that doesn’t involve your kids, partner, laundry, dishes, or cleaning of any kind. In other words, it’s all about you. No matter how rough a day gets, daydreaming about an upcoming child-free escapade is a perfect distraction from anybody’s meltdown. We find the best time to escape is right around dinner – we’re just as zonked as them by the end of the day, so being able to skip out on a meal/playtime/bath/stories for one night a week is, well, bliss. And coming home to a quiet home lets us linger in that blissed-out-zone a little longer, especially if the dishes are done.

Once you’ve got the swing of solo date-nights, it’s time to up your game to enjoy your fam a little more. This means dating-for-two: you and your munchkin. More than one munchkin? More than one date. Having one-on-one time with each child is awesome, but only when you do something out of the norm. Grocery shopping with your three-year-old doesn’t count, even if the baby’s not there. We know. You’ve got a million things to do and it’s a perfect opportunity. But date nights are about quality chill time, bonding, and definitely not productivity. And in shooting for quality, you don’t have to choose a movie you’d rather not see just because she wants to – she’ll be just as happy playing in the park (especially if you stop at the ice cream truck). When you give her your undivided attention doing something special you both enjoy, that’s when the magic happens. Gone are the ruts you both get stuck in and those power struggles? Buh bye.

And, of course, date nights with your partner are, well, critical. The key to making them happen? Booking your sitter at the end of each date before she’s got one foot out the door. Once it’s on the calendar it’s a done deal. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a plan – we’re pretty sure you’ll figure it out. When you’re outta the house, resist that urge to talk about the kids. You had PLENTY of pre-kiddo conversations, so even if it means talking work, renovations, or baseball… well, that’s what it means. And if you’re stuck for ideas, your partner will be a lot more likely to try your pick of the week if you’re equally obliging. This summer’s TFC games just might turn into a weekly yoga class come September. You never know unless you ask! And, uh, compromise.

Remember this:
If she’s driving you bananas, the feeling’s probably mutual. Carving out some me-time will help all of you appreciate each other more, so you’ll actually want to hang out together. And spending quality time with each of your loved ones will take you from exhausted and grumpy to exhilarated and grateful even without a caff break. So… what are you waiting for?

Email us if you have sitter issues or your schedule’s too jammed to snag a date – we can help!

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