Life is busy. Most people I know have a calendar full of appointments and just finding a day/time to get together often requires us to both look at our calendars and pick a day somewhere in the future where we both have some time.
My life was busy before I had children, busy after I had my first daughter, and then really heated up when I had Emma. As many of us know, the early days of diagnosis and treatment are a bit of a whirlwind of activity mostly spent making appointments, going to appointments and talking with the insurance companies! As Emma turned three in the fall and her many appointments were more streamlined because of her school schedule, it seemed like we were finally starting to take back control of our schedule. And, I have to admit, it felt wonderful - for the few weeks it lasted before we headed into the busy holiday season!
This Christmas season my husband and I decided that we did't want to go back to our over-scheduled life. We had enough of running around. Enough of weekends fully scheduled for months into the future. We decided to focus on freeing up some time to make impromptu decisions on what to do on any given day. We both accepted some and declined some invitations to holiday parties and spent more time as a family of four - playing, watching home videos, making crafts, reading books. It was the most relaxing, fulfilling holiday season that I can remember. And it brought us into the New Year with a sense that we had managed to take better control of our time and we were able to see how much the girls blossomed with large blocks of unscheduled time.
We are making an effort to manage our time better this year and to make spending time as a couple a higher priority. The truth is that the girls love some time away from Mom and Dad as much as we enjoy a bit of time alone together. We are fortunate that one of the babysitters we love is available this Winter/Spring semester of college and is really excited to spend a few hours a week with the girls while Chris and I have a date night - something we've neglected for far too long.
Our first night out happened this week and it was a wild success! Chris and I were able to spend a few hours reconnecting without worrying about the girls or the evening bedtime routine. Emma, who is a bit finicky about letting others watch her and can manage to scream and cry for hours if we leave her, was happy to have her babysitter back and laughed and played most of the time we were gone. The lone exception was when she was put down for bed, but even then she only cried a few minutes! We are all set to enjoy our Monday night date nights this semester while we have a babysitter available. As my husband said, Monday nights in January never looked so good!
This is how our family is working to find more time together. I'd love to hear how others are managing to find time in their lives because I'm sure our plan will require frequent changes as the year progresses.