We ALL HAVE them-those friends who are blissfully wedded sans kids and when my husband and I recently went out with said couple who have been married for ten years and have decided to forgo having kids- well dare I say- it was quite an illuminating experience. Let me set the scene for you.
This couple walks in, and the woman begins to regale me with the events of her week; she just spent the day getting a massage, a facial and a manicure- which she does on a weekly basis, she’s also taking a pottery class at nights and just enjoyed a lovely lecture series. She’s emanating this serene aura that simultaneously makes me want to be her and want to slap her. Then the husband begins to tell us about a two-week vacation they’re planning to Italy (a place my husband and I would give our right arms to visit on a romantic retreat sans kids) and that they have all this extra space in their Manhattan apartment that they’re converting into an art studio for his wife.
At this point I’m vacillating between salivating and coveting their luxurious child-free existence, the fact that they have oodles of free time to explore their artistic sides, to pamper themselves and to travel with no consequences other than having to decide what type of white wine will go best with their dinner. Then they cavalierly ask what new plays, movies, restaurants my husband and I have been to. AndÂ of course all I can think of is the corner pizzeria where they have a color TV that plays SpongeBob on a constant loop, so my son doesn’tÂ complain how bored he is after he finishes his pizza. Oh and then I tell them the last movie we saw was The Smurfs and how excited we were to see Neil Patrick Harris. The woman laughs and then says in a bit of a patronizing tone (or maybe I am just projecting my feelings into her sentiments), “Oh that must have been so cute,”.
At this point I really need my husband to restrain me from either strangling her or overdosing on vodka to drown out how the reality of how utterly hum-drum and boring our marriage has become and how our once exciting social life has deteriorated to being punctuated by a smurfs and pizzeria outing.
But of course marriage with kids is a completely polar opposite experience than marriage without kids. My husband and I chose to bring these two little souls into the world– although I don’t think we were prepared for just how much their existences would hijack the intimacy of our marriage. I also don’t think my husband and I do enough to ensure that while we may not be able to jet off to Italy on a moments notice or drink as much wine as we’d like with dinner-we can institute certain practices in 2013 to recapture a bit of our pre-kids, just the two of us magic that this childless couple was so clearly intoxicated and rife with.
So here are my top five tips to keep kids from hijacking your marriage in 2013
#1 Tag team: Take turns handing off childcare to one another, And in your free time pursue a passion- take a class, get a massage, allow yourself a block of time to feel and be child-free with no reservations.
#2 Schedule sex. Yes you read that right. Pen it in at least once a week, during a block of time you know your kids WONT be able to interrupt, if for no other reason, it’s a great way to burn calories.
#3 Instead of watching television, one night a week, commit to spending that time with your spouse technology free. As mushy as this sounds- my husband has begun to use this time to read me Robert Frost poems.
#4 Make a bucket list of things you and your husband want to do (kid-free) before the end of 2013 and commit to getting a least quarter of them done.
#5 Stop going out with childless couples….unless you want to be tortured!