Prioritising your relationship: escape the kids together!

If you were to write down a list of what is important in your life, where would your marriage/relationship fall? I’m going to go ahead and assume it would be pretty high. If you’re like me, it would be up there with your children and your health as one of the top three. But are you really prioritising your relationship?

But when you have small children, don’t you find you get so caught up in being busy and doing things, that you forget how to prioritise these important things? Kids are easy to prioritise: they’re noisy little buggers so you have no option but to prioritise them.

But your marriage and your health? Those things take some work. We’ve spoken about health a fair bit before (check out our health stories here), but I haven’t been qualified to speak on relationships too much. I’ve been busy prioritising other things.

If you follow us on Instagram, you would have noticed over the weekend that I spent a glorious 24-ish hours without my children. (And if you don’t follow us on Instagram, you should!) It’s not that I haven’t done this before, but this is the first time since Little Red was born 27 months ago that she has slept over at someone else’s house and Husby and I have just hung out together.

I’m not going to get into the whys and wherefores about it taking so bloody long for us to get ourselves together, but suffice to say, Little Red can be handful. And three kids all together are a handful. And I love my mother too much to inflict that upon her. Well, I did up until Saturday.

So I dropped the tinies at my wonderful mum’s house, and came home to get pretty. We were like excited teens: we drank cheap bubbles, played Chemical Brothers and Scissor Sisters very loud, and giggled and chatted excitedly.

prioritising your relationship

 

Then we hit some great cocktail bars in West End, Brisbane (if you’re looking for some great places, try The End for its ambience and cocktail list, or Bosc for its outstanding knowledge of all things gin-related).

And – the first sign things were getting loco – we ate burritos and accompanied them with shots of tequila and some unknown chilli shot that a flamboyant bartender told me I “will totally love, love”. And I did.

prioritising your relationship

Oh my.

Husby and I talked shit, we reminisced, we relaxed and we laughed. What fun! No pressure to be home by a certain time, no need to worry about children waking during the night – just the two of us.

It’s been such a long time since it’s been just the two of us.

Lame-o parents that we are, we were in a taxi by 11:30pm heading for the comfort of our home and elasticised pants.

But it was wonderful. And waking up the next morning and not rushing anywhere was wonderful. And watching Insiders in peace was wonderful. And going out for breakfast and eating eggs benedict and reading the paper in comfortable silence was wonderful.

prioritising your relationship

I looked at Husby in a way I haven’t in a long time. Like he was a fun, fascinating and interesting man – not just the guy who hasn’t mowed the lawn or taken the bins out.

And it made me think: what the fuck was I thinking, all that time, neglecting my marriage like that?

Sure, my kids can be a handful. Sure, Little Red isn’t a great sleeper. Sure, I’m very important and my children REALLY NEED ME.

But my marriage is something I plan on investing in for the rest of my life – and it will be here long after my children have grown up and left home. Why would I not take my investment in that seriously?

Kids are resilient. Kids can learn to enjoy grandma’s house, and even if they don’t have a great time the first or second time, they’ll get used to it. And kids benefit from living in a house with parents who genuinely connect and like each other.

By ditching the tinies, I’m actually doing them a long-term favour.

And now they know my mother has jelly beans and ice cream, they’re already begging to go back. But we might have to wait until she’s recovered.

Do you spend time without your kids? What are your favourite date night ideas?

Want more ideas for taking time out? Try:

7 tips for finding me time

Overwhelmed mother syndrome: how to do it all without losing your mind

How to relax with kids at home 

Written By

Carolyn is the editorial director of Champagne Cartel and a freelance writer. In her spare time she is a long-distance runner, peanut butter enthusiast, and single mum to three incredible humans.

16 Comments

  • Oh I heart this so much. This weekend my parents are coming from Melbs and hubster & I are heading for a night at a city hotel. But reading this I’m realizing that I’m still planning on getting some shopping done and visiting the art gallery. I may still do those things but I should just be aiming to have fun! There should be too much food, alcohol and sex! Why am I thinking about shopping and art?

  • An AWESOME read … Hubby and I managed 2 night away in 2012 and 3 nights away in 2013 (consecutively even, both weddings, how I love me a good wedding excuse). We had about 6 hours together on Saturday for a work xmas party without the 3 kids but I don’t count that as he was drinking beer with his buddies and I was staying sober with the ‘wives’ so we could drive them home again … and collect the kids.
    I am however eagerly looking forward to a night and day away again. I sometimes find it a bit hard asking the Grandparents to have them so we can have a couples night … I don’t think it was the ‘done’ thing in their generation.

  • Oh man, we need this. We have put this off for toooooo long my friend. We always say that when the kids grow up and rack off, we want to feel like we still know each other and want to hang around each other and feel the love and that can only still remain if investment has been made through all the kid wrangling years. It’s so easy to let it slide. It takes effort so kudos to you guys for doing it. Movie dates are great but it’s not the same as hours and hours and hours of uninterruptible. I’m inspired.

  • NECESSARY! There is no guilt involved for the little getaways my husbie and I squeeze in where we can. They redefine us as a united front and remind us that we are FUUUUUN. x

  • This is a great read and a great reminder Carolyn. If we want our marriages to survive after the kids leave home (assuming they ever leave) we really do need to invest in them. After some initial mother guilt thoughts, next year I am heading to Greece with my husband for a conference (and a sneaky holiday in Santorini) for 2 whole weeks! It will be good for us, and good for our kids in the long run (maybe not so good for the grandparents who will be looking after them!)

  • This time is so important! One day when the kids leave home you don’t want to look at each other and say, who are you? What do we have in common? Why are we together again? Happy parents, happy kids. Enjoy, guilt free x

  • Good on you guys! Looks like a great night. A much deserved and well earned one.

    We live for our date nights which we try to do monthly – with two sets of grandparents near by and a couple of long term babysitters who we trust, we are fortunate to have options. We generally go out by ourselves one month and double date the next. The by our selves date is fun but also great to talk long term strategy (holidays, are we stuffing up the kids etc) and the double date nights are fun, light and full of laughs and banter with great friends. I love them and recommend them and hope you get another soon! xxx

  • Oh what a fabulous night! Husband and I have our first child free night planned for the 20th. We are going to a friend’s Christmas party and I am so looking forward to hanging out with him. I love my daughter to pieces, but I love my husband heaps too and we both deserve a break to remember who we were before the small arrived and enjoy that. S xx

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