Mommy Time Out
If you hang around here much you know we just got back from a Big People Vacation. No children’s menus or trips to the arcade allowed. Now I love my kids and missed them terribly while we were away but today’s Public Service Announcement advocates the importance of couple time in marriage – especially when your kids are small.
I can’t tell you the number of moms I know who refuse to leave their children even for a single night. If you are one of those, I’m not criticizing! Your reasons are noble and no doubt, you are fantastic mothers. But – I have also seen many marriages crumble because the husband-wife relationship was neglected in favor of the focusing entirely on the kids from infancy through the teenage years. I’ve had moms tell me, “My husband just needs to understand! They’ll be grown before we know it!” My experience has shown this: They never need you any less, just in different ways. The wake-up call comes when the kids are gone and the man and wife realize they hardly know one another anymore.
Now before you write me ugly letters, I hope you are hearing my heart on this. My children are the center of practically every activity my husband and I are involved in but they perceive one critical thing: Luke and I are united in their raising and discipline. They know our family is blessed because of them but that we do not play favorites or duke it out to make sure they are kept happy. In a world that teaches kids “It’s all about me”, the most loving thing we can do for our children is to let them know from very early on that the universe does not revolve around them. Jacob and Rachel serve as just one of many Biblical examples.
With that said, please know I am not setting myself before you as the model of wife and motherhood. I blow it every single day! But, I do hope you truly consider feeding your soul and your child’s independence by a husband-wife getaway if at all possible. If not, don’t phooey away the notion of date nights. They are VITAL and will nourish your marriage and/or spiritual health in ways you can’t perceive until you’ve made this practice commonplace.
I’m a better wife and mother when I’ve taken a break…you will be, too.
And of course you know I’ve always got to ask you girls what you think….
* Do you have regular times away with your husband?
* Have a hard time with leaving the kids behind?
* Learned this lesson the hardway?
* Don’t understand what all the fuss is about?
Let’s hear it! Just be gentle, okay?
Amen to all you said Lisa!! I learned the harder way…I wish I would have focused more on my hubs earlier when the kids were younger. Its a hard habit to break. We have worked hard on it and will eat up every chance we can to be alone or away together!
Its a must. You should. It is key to keeping your family healthy.
My hubby and I have a date “day” each Saturday. We try not to miss this. It’s very important to us and our children know that it’s important for them as well. Nurturing our marriage provides our children with security. They know their mom and dad love to spend time together and need to do so on a regular basis.
My hubby and I don’t get to get away very often. It’s not because we wouldn’t love to get away maybe once a year for a couple of days. But our finances usually just don’t allow that luxury. So we have our date “days” and we look forward to that time together.
Great word! We have a regular date night the same night of each week and it is awesome! My kids just know Daddy is taking mommy on a “hot date”. We try to get away a few times a year even if just for a weekend, as well, although this is harder since my husband travels so much. We really like to be HOME as much as we can. I 100% agree with you! The children should see that the marriage is first and one way to do that is letting them see you take time out to be alone together. It does keep me sane, as well, which is an added perk for the kids! HA!
My relationship with my husband is before my relationship with my kids. If I am neglecting time with my husband, or building our relationship…I am failing my kids. My kids know my husband comes first.
Do my kids suffer because of it? Heck no they get to have a sleep over at Grandma’s and get ice cream and tons of cookies. The kids want to know why we don’t go out more often =)
How can I be a good Mom if I am not showing them how to be a good wife (or in my case showing how a wife should be).
I couldn’t agree with you more, Lisa. Couples who DON’T do this may discover they regret it someday, when their children are grown. This keeps a marriage alive and vibrant. And it doesn’t hurt your children in anyway at all…if anything, it shows them that Mom and Dad love each other and need some alone times together.
Hi Lisa, this is great! My husband and I just had a weekend away at Disney for our 11th anniversary. We had a ball!! It had been 7 years since we went away alone together and it was WAY past due! We will do this at least once a year and commit to more frequent date nights. It is important for a healthy marriage and in turn the way we are to our kids.
We actually discussed how we wanted to set this example for our kids, that mom & dad time is very important. My parents divorced and Mark’s parents never did this – so we want to really set that example so when our kids get married they will have that foundation.
My comment is going to be a little different because my circumstance is different. I think that what you do is so wonderful. I know that it is a very healthy thing to do. I am different because I waited 13 years to have a child! I know! I am one of the old mom’s. Tommy and me had 13 wonderful years together without kids. When we finally did have children we never left them. So now we have had 18 wonderful years with them. Of course they are older now and want to go out on the weekends (without mom and dad). So now we are kind of alone again. And we are loving it!!! Are we different or what??
Going away with my man is probably the best things we’ve done for our marriage. We’ve committed to doing it at least once a year. I wish it could be more often! With no family in town and babysitters so expensive, even date nights are rare. We try to swap with friends. But the times we can get away for two nights at least are often the high points of our year!
I do not, unfortunately, have regular times away with my husband. In fact, we hardly have any times when we’re even in the house together. He works a lot, trying to make ends meet, as do I.
We’ve gone “away” once in the past year, when we stayed at a hotel instead of at his parent’s house one night. His parents kept the kids for us, then made us feel guilty for not staying with them. It was not enjoyable at all. Plus, we were there for a wedding and all my family was in town so I wanted to hang with them. It was a disaster as far as “couple” time goes.
We are chaperoning a trip of students to Italy this summer, and I think that will act as our “together” time. Granted, there will be 15 middle schoolers there, but at least they won’t technically belong to us. We can always just lose them over the side of the water taxi in Venice! Just kidding!
I do wish we had more time to spend together.
Sorry this was so long.
I would say that yes my “husband” and I get away and have time together. Do I still qualify if God is my Husband?! (Is. 54:7). :)
I couldn’t resist. I totally agree with you and all married couples need to take this advice. I know a couple who don’t spend time together and work and the kids are coming before the marriage and it is suffering BIG time. I can’t go into it but please pray for this young couple. The enemy has waged a full scale war on this marriage.
I agree completely. I have done it both ways! For years we lived far away from family and I didn’t have any friends I felt comfortable enough asking to keep my kids…and the finances were such that we could not get a baby sitter AND go out.
Our relationship suffered much. Then we both worked and he was so busy in the ministry that I threw my life into my kids. That was also a mistake.
We realized what we were doing just in time. We began meeting for lunches. That was special because the kids were not there. We could eat out and it was not so expensive and have adult conversation.
When all our children left for college – we lOVED it. We finally had time together alone. We love our children and love being with them, but we really do enjoy our empty nest.
So, the other side of working on the relationship without children, is that when they move on, you have a great relationship already in the mix.
oops… sorry for sending my comment three times! please don’t publish all of them. thanks!
Great post, Lisa. I couldn’t agree more.
To answer your questions:
1. We don’t have regular times away — at least, not in the sense of a “once every week” type of thing. Our lives are too crazy right now to do much routine scheduling. But we try to make it a habit as often as possible.
2. I rarely have a hard time leaving the kids behind. :-) Such is my personality. I miss them — but I’m too excited about the adventure in front of me.
3. I can also say — we’ve learned this the hard way. And it was even before we had kids. We just didn’t take time to be together regularly. Busy jobs and a creeping separateness divided us until we were only roommates. …
4. … So I know what the fuss is about. We are only together today because God’s grace intervened with some severe mercy.
Our marriage is the foundation of our family. If it crumbles, everything on it crumbles.
Great encouragement Lisa!
I love time alone with my hubby, I can’t get enough!
We are both so busy that our time together, even for a quick lunch is just precious to me.
Thanks for the word!
Oh yes. Totally. Amen! You are right on – time away ALONE with hubby is essential! Answers to your questions:
1. Not regular, but we make sure we go on a date every few weeks or more if needed. We’ve taken a few trips away, and that’s even better!
2. I always have a hard time leading up to the trip. (A date night? No problem.) Our last trip away with just the two of us was a year ago… to Hawaii! Do you know I was dreading it? Dreading it! I couldn’t even make myself look forward to it, but the second I was on that plane, I was pumped. In fact, I wasn’t ready to come back when it was time to return home. (Shh… don’t tell the kids.)
3. I haven’t learned the lesson the hard way, but I see a marked difference in myself and my parenting once I’ve had a break and once hubby and I are realigned with one another. It always makes us wish we’d done it sooner or more often.
4. Oh, I understand the fuss. You betcha!
Thank you for this post! It is definitely a Word my heart was needing to hear. We are striving to find time away for the first time ever. But finding a babysitter to keep the kidlets (age 5 and almost 3) is virtuallly impossible. We are too far from family, friends say “we’d love to sometime” but when pushed for specifics falter, yada yada yada. This post just reinforces that I need to keep pushing to find someone to keep them while we get away. Thank you!
I feel everyone that gets away is lucky my husband won’t even think about it he is the type that “says they are only little for awhile” and if we so get away like to dinner he is always looking at the time.So I feel like whats the use anyway he is to busy looking at the time.We have not gone anywhere alone in 6 years,and even if we could I lost my mom at an early age my sisters live out of town and its true peole say they will they help out but it’s awhole lot of yada yada.Therefore you women that hve family and great friends that will help you are bless.marina
I can’t agree more with you, time alone with our husbands is very important. We try our best, and have succeded the last several years, to get away by ourselves for a few days around our aniversary. We always look forward to this time and have fun getting to plan our time away! We also try and have date nights but it is usually nothing consistent mainly because we don’t live by family and it costs so much to have sitters. One thing we do enjoy is getting our girls down for bed every night by a certain time so that way we have a few hours to ourself so we have that time by ourselves!
I am the mom to 4 children age 6 and under. My husband and I have been married for 7 1/2 years. We have been in ministry all these years. As you may be aware, a minister’s salary does not provide for many extras, so we have never been able to have a “weekly” date night. That being said, we are very close and have a great relationship. I remember that 100 years ago, not many couples had the money to also get away, so that makes me think, “So what was their key to strengthening their marriages?” I have come to realize that it’s not if you can “get away for a couple of nights” or have a “weekly date night”, it is an ongoing day in and day out every moment of the day process of loving my husband and focusing on him/ and he with me. So even with 4 kids running around the house like wild banshees, we can still have a private moment in the middle of the kitchen, we can still have a personal conversation as we feed little kids’ mouths, we can still look in each other’s eyes and be connected.
The Bible also gives direction on strengthening marriages; going out is great and fun (I wish we could!), but it is not a prerequisite for having a fulfilled beautiful marriage.
I totally agree! This was a very encouraging post. My husband and I do not have a “regular” time each week for date night, unfortunately, but we do understand the importance of it and get alone time every few weeks. Good word.
Our problem isn’t the desire to get away…it’s the resources! A babysitter for four kids is a small fortune (not to mention the cost of an actual date these days) and although I don’t mind leaving them, I am particular about who I leave them with. Fortunately, my mom and dad are close, so I do have a place I can trust to leave them, but we can’t use them too much ’cause their social life is WAY more active than ours and they are busy A LOT!
So…my strategy has been to initiate a “Movie Night” in which there is a “Kid’s Movie” in one room with “No Parents Allowed” and the parents have to watch a movie, have a picnic, or “whatever” :) in their own room! This works better than having a “No Kids Allowed” time. When they think WE aren’t allowed in THEIR room, they have no desire to come and seek us out. If THEY aren’t allowed in OUR room, they spend the entire time trying to get in and see what they’re missing!
I agree with you whole heartedly! My husband and I try to take a couple of weekend trips a year and every once in a while we try to take a bigger trip by ourselves. It is always so wonderful to reconnect and rediscover why we fell in love in the first place! And I think it makes the kids appreciate the parents more and vice-versa. Our nest is emptying now, but we will still try to get away – it is just such a refreshing thing to do. Preach it sister!
I totally agree with you. We were blessed to live by my parents the first 4 yrs of my oldest child’s life. They insisted on keeping him so we could go out every Friday night. We have such a strong and loving relationship because we put God, marriage, kids in priority.
Children appreciate a happy family and a happy family comes from a happy marriage :)
Very well said Lisa!
My hubby and I are going away with friends in January to Mexico. This will be the first time I will be leaving my teenagers by themselves and I am very nervous about it but I know as well that we have an incredible support system that love my kids and will look in on them and feed them.
This will be the very first trip we will be going on in a very long time for pleasure alone and my kids are happy for us.
I have been married to my pastor husband for nearing 40 years now. I have two delightful, well-adjusted adults children who were always the apples of our eye. However, we did go off together many times when they were small, very short times, but those times were an awesome memory-building time for our parents with their only grandchildren. Our kids loved it and it was wonderful for our relationship as a couple. I never regretted it!
hey friend – how is it going??? i wrote about kids and mommying today as well. love getaways and fun dates – some of my favorite moments. make me enjoy time with the kids event hat much better!!
love your heart and I am totally gettin’ ya!!!
Hello dear dolla girl, I wrote on this today have alook. how are you doing? love always me
Me and my hubby just spent 2 nights in a cabin for our 3rd anniversary a couple of weeks ago. I agree that it’s hard for us to get away like that because of $$ but we have promised each other that we will save & make it a priority to get away each year on our anniversary…. even if all we can afford is one night! We don’t do many date nights outside the house but when our little one is in bed we often will pop a bag of popcorn to share and watch a movie or a favorite TV show together. To be honest it’s never been ‘hard’ to leave my son. I only leave him with a few people though (family)! Don’t get me wrong I miss him dearly! But when your a SAHM it’s nice to let someone else change the diapers and wipe that little nose for a while!
Yes, we have date nights…love them so much!
We were married for 7 years before children, so we rather prefer to have time together.
I have NEVER had a hard time leaving the kids behind, ever. I love them so much, I need to escape with Daddy sometimes!
Due to finances, we have parred back our date night a bit, but still make time to talk with each other every night after the kids are in bed…sometimes we just watch a movie together and hold hands :)