This weekend saw us staying in our bell tent just up the road from the beautiful beach at Bantham to celebrate our wedding anniversary whilst my parents very kindly had the kids for 2 nights. We had an amazing time; we were blessed with beautiful weather (which we were especially grateful for after waking up to thunderstorms on friday morning), went for rambling walks, swam in the sea, had a delicious meal at the Sloop Inn and possibly most importantly and cherished, had two completely undisturbed nights of sleep and conversations that weren’t punctuated with the demands or interjections of small children.
It reminded me of my ongoing ponderings about the importance of holding on to your relationship as husband and wife, partners, lovers, above the connection you share through having children together. That is not to say that you shouldn’t rejoice in your children and try and be united in your approach to parenting. Not at all. But as a wise person said, once the children have grown up and left home, you still have to spend the rest of your life with your other half so it’s worth investing in that relationship right now, so that your house isn’t filled with awkward empty silences in 18 years time.
This is something that Dan and I have talked about often; our lives have changed beyond recognition from when we were first married six years ago and we are both aware that our interests aren’t quite as aligned as they once were. When we first met, we played a lot of music together and spent a lot of time outside, walking and swimming. These days, Dan still pursues his love of music but I’ve found it incredibly hard to join in, not only is it challenging to find babysitters regularly for gigs or to play gigs with the sprogs in tow but I’m so busy at home that I find it hard to find time to practice. In addition, as a result of having children I have discovered that I am passionate about physiologically normal birth and rights in birth, breastfeeding and home education. Although Dan is on board with all of these things, he doesn’t find them quite as all consuming or interesting as me (can’t imagine why?!) We do however, encourage each other in mad off grid ideas and apocalyptic back up plans (!) so we’re on the same page in that respect at least.
So we consciously endeavour to regularly spend time together as a couple, to connect and converse and stay involved and interested in each others lives. Even if it just means eating dinner separately to the children and watching a film together, we’ve found it really helpful in maintaining our relationship outside of parenthood. A weekend away is a luxurious extension of this commitment but we had such a lovely time and had so much to talk about (the worrier in me almost made conversation topic lists so that I didn’t talk of nothing but the kids all weekend!) that I wanted to share my thoughts to try and encourage other parents out there that might have got stuck in the rut of being parents and are having trouble nurturing the partnership that their family grew from.
So romance your spouse! Talk to them…and not about the children or finances or your upcoming plans. Have fun together. Enjoy being yourself with them, shrug off your identity as Mum or Dad for a few hours and embrace the person that he or she fell in love with.