Juggling the demands of work and parenting is no easy feat. After a hectic day spent at the office, doing the school run, life admin, self-care, and everything in between, many parents find their relationship falling lower and lower down the list of priorities.
Working on your marriage or partnership takes more than buying roses and chocolates on Valentine’s Day. So how can parents find the time and energy to maintain the balance between couple time and family time? From reducing screen time to scheduling date nights, here are some tips for squeezing in some extra time for each other in a busy family schedule.
Schedule a date night
Setting aside a defined period makes it easier to commit rather than trying to squeeze in a dinner date when you’re free (spoiler alert: it almost never works). So decide on one night a week where you can leave the children with a parent or babysitter.
Once you have your date night scheduled, how your time is spent is completely up to you. It doesn’t have to be a fancy romantic dinner or a weekend in a swanky hotel – the point is simply to enjoy a few hours alone and reconnect with your significant other.
Reduce your screen time
Although smartphones are a truly modern marvel that allows us to connect to anyone, anywhere, face-to-face interactions still reign supreme.
Smartphones have had a significant impact on romantic relationships. For example, ‘phubbing’ – which stands for phone snubbing – is the growing phenomenon where one or both partners ignore each other in favour of their phones.
So, make a conscious effort to avoid looking at your phone, and put it away in your bag or pocket. Removing any distracting notifications or flashing lights will help you connect better with your significant other.
Send sweet messages
Conversely, your smartphone can be a great tool when some good old-fashioned face time isn’t possible. Whether it be a romantic message, or a funny joke you’d like to share – let your partner know you’re in their thoughts.
Similarly, asking about their day and finding out about their day-to-day life can help deepen emotional and romantic connections. There are a multitude of instant messaging and social media apps you can use, so keeping in touch has never been easier or faster.
Include the whole family
Family date nights are a great way of spending quality time with the whole family. Whether it’s a fun weekend outing or a games night at home, the key is to set aside time for each other, without any distractions.
Another option may be to alternate your ‘dates’ every other week – so one Friday may be a dinner out as a couple, and the next Friday may be a movie night in with the family. By including your children, this lets them see that your role as a partner and a parent are both equally important.