Short Bursts of Quality Time Equals a Quality Marriage

Moving back to Leeds from Windsor has meant going from approximately no to a low number of date nights (with a newborn and two older kids in tow) to regular date nights every month and even double date nights with friends, now that our youngest is a toddler and our eldest is a teen and we have grandparents nearby who love babysitting our babbas!

And what a difference it makes to spend quality time together as a couple without one or all of your offspring shouting, ‘Mummy’ or ‘Daddy’, interrupting our every word.

These bi-monthly jaunts spanning a few precious hours of feasting -and usually, feasting fast (because that’s the pace we’ve become accustomed to thanks to rushing dinners at home with an impatient toddler) and finally having a two-way conversion are utter bliss.

These nights truly make up for the rest of the time as busy working parents where we are, for the most part, two tag-teaming ships which pass in the night (but regroup in the morning).

I work flexibly and write a few nights a week, shooting campaigns, albeit intentionally spread out, on weekends with meetings dotted throughout the week with my Mum on childcare duty) and my husband, Peter, picks up the childcare baton at the end of his busy work day in the evenings, and that’s how we make parenting work right now.

So the odd dinner out means a lot. Because time is pressed. Squeezed in every way from school runs, to after school clubs, homework and beyond.

Just forgetting the sheer responsibility and load, physically and mentally for a few hours does us good which lasts. It’s a reset. A reminder of who we were before kids. And why we love one another.

Thankfully and soppily, we’re more in love than ever (which is pretty impressive because we found The One in one another young, during our Uni years) and luckily we still fancy each other, can read each other’s thoughts with a look, and most importantly we find one another funny. No one makes me wee-in-my-pants-laugh like Peter does. His dry sense of humour is everything.

San Carlo’s Flying Pizza is a favourite. 

There’s not always laughter here however, and certainly not in the middle of the night when Florence wakes up for the 100th time but that’s the thing about putting the work in before you need to, it carries you through the tougher bits of raising kids.

It makes your bond and love for one another stronger and more resilient during those times you’re totally fed up and frustrated when the overwhelm hits and the bickering begins.

It reminds me of practising yoga-something I try to do daily, even if it’s just for 5 minutes because those short bursts add up and ultimately transform my day/life.

They help me to respond more and react less and keep me calm when the s*** hits the fan. Proverbially or otherwise.

I know it’s not easy to fit in date nights but even a few minutes of quality time together catching up undisturbed, or even watching a TV show (with your phone away) counts. Quality over quantity time, every time, and quality time really does equal a quality marriage, however many kids you have!

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