How hard can it be?
During one of our premarital counseling sessions, our minister advised us to make time to spend together as a couple at least once every other month or so, even after we had kids. We figured, "How hard can it be?"
Four years into our marriage, we found out. But the difficulty doesn't make it any less important. All couples need time together, away from their kids, to nurture their relationship. I'm here to tell you, it's time to hit up the grandparents or aunts and uncles to spend some time with your children. Or trade off with close friends, asking them to watch your kids one weekend in exchange for watching theirs another. Even if you have to save up for a babysitter, it's worth it. However you can arrange it, just do it.
Each month, I¹ll offer new suggestions for what to do during your couple time. Feel free to improvise. (Wink, wink.)
Let it snow
It's true. The weather outside is frightful. But what are you going to do, curl up in front of the fireplace and stay indoors until spring? As cozy as that sounds, why not try embracing the season and indulge yourself in winter activities.
As a family, you can do the usual--build snowmen, have snowball fights, make snow angels, go sledding or tobogganing. But this can also be a good time of year to spend some time away from the kids. So dust off those skis (or snowboards, as the case may be), and make a trip to the nearest mountain.
You may only be able to arrange to go for the day, or you might spoil yourselves with a long weekend. Whatever the length of your trip, the most important thing is getting to spend some time together as adults.
Time to play
By the way, nobody said anything about going alone. The primary purpose of couple time is for you and your spouse to break the confines of your roles as Mom and Dad and interact as adults. That can include spending time with other adults as well. Your kids shouldn¹t be the only ones allowed to play with their friends.
Allison Jorgensen, a stay-at-home mom of two from Colorado, made arrangements for a ski trip with friends from out of state. They planned the trip four months in advance, to take place during Christmas break when the kids were out of school.
"The adults were excited about the four of us skiing together and spending time together as couples," Allison said.
The two couples chose a family-friendly resort a short drive from Allison's home in order to let the three older children (7, 4 and 4) take ski lessons in the morning, then put them in the child care in the afternoon. The two youngest children (3 and under) were left at Allison's home in the care of a babysitter. Unfortunately, this arrangement led to a situation in which the children wanted to ski with their parents by the afternoon, something to keep in mind when making your own plans for child care.
"We¹d been there the year before, and we had all the kids in the child care. It was incredibly expensive," Allison said. "But it was well-worth it for all of us to be able to ski together."
When my husband, Jim, and I lived in the Lake Tahoe area of California, we were fortunate enough to live near his parents. They¹d watch our son while we went snowboarding at one of the nearby resorts. But we rarely stayed more than a couple of hours. We didn¹t want to leave our little guy for too long, and we were worried about taking advantage of Jim¹s parents¹ generosity. I regret that now.
They would have been happy to watch him longer, and he enjoyed spending time with grandma and grandpa. It was a missed opportunity, and I advise you to avoid those. As a parent, you expend a lot of energy maintaining the happiness and well-being of your children. But that should not occur at the expense of your relationship with your spouse.
Take it from me, your children will be fine with another care giver, whether it's for a few hours or a few days. Once they adjust to staying with someone besides mom and dad (which happens earlier for some and later for others), you should take full advantage of it. It's as healthy for your kids to be around other adults as it is for you and your spouse. As soon as you¹ve figured out who's going to watch the kids, then it's time to choose your destination.
Find it online
Many resources are available online to plan a ski trip, be it for a day or a week or more. Doing a search on most of the major search engines should yield hundreds of results. However, in order to speed up the process, I've done some of the legwork for you. Each of the following sites lists information about ski resorts all over the U.S. All you have to do is pick a state or region, then narrow down your search from there.
Here are a couple of fun sites that will let you see what the snow looks like and/or let you know if any new powder is expected:
Now go out there, and have some fun!
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