If I’m honest, before we had kids, if I saw a social media post about a couple having a ‘date night’, I would roll my eyes a bit. It was all down to a complete lack of understanding about just how much hard work kids are, and how it’s really easy for things to get pushed to the back burner. Arranging even a few hours alone together takes military-style planning. Even though you’re together all of the time, your entire existence is wrapped up in work and looking after your kids.
We had just about managed to get back to some type of relative normality, with the occasional ‘date night’ or night to ourselves when Alex was able to stay over with his Gran and Grandad, and then we had Ava. That’s OK we thought, once we’re out of the initial newborn phase, we’ll be able to start making time to spend by ourselves again. It’s not like we were galavanting all over the place before we had kids. Date nights for us were often a nice meal out or a trip to the cinema. If we were celebrating something, we loved spa days and the occasional night in a hotel. Nothing too grand, but not being able to just go out for lunch or to see the latest movie release was quite stressful as time went on.
Life in lockdown
Then, lockdown happened!
Almost overnight, we found ourselves both having to work from home with an 8-month-old and a very energetic 3-year-old. The nursery was closed and we had zero access to any form of childcare. Spending any time together at all was impossible, I would look after the kids during the day while Scott worked, then after dinner, I would disappear upstairs to work on my freelance projects, often until 3 am. The weekends were spent catching up on housework and other life admin. It was rough. Our kids think that bedtime is for losers so we don’t even get those precious few hours together in the evenings that many couples enjoy.
No matter what your relationship status, lockdown made things incredibly difficult, couples who lived together found themselves now living and working together 24/7, others couldn’t be with their boyfriend or girlfriends because of the lockdown restrictions. Single people had to find a whole new way of dating, using sites like Match Me Happy and having to conduct their first dates via video. For those feeling isolated, free dating sites and inventive new ways to get to know people were a god send.
Getting back to normal
So what have we learned about ourselves during lockdown? Well, it wasn’t all bad. We got to spend a lot more time with the kids. Though things got a bit stressful, we managed to get through lockdown without shouting and screaming at each other and with a renewed commitment to making time to spend together by ourselves (not doing chores) whenever we get the chance. We’re already looking forward t seeing our first movie together in forever and we’ve both decided to take a day off when the kids are at nursery to just go out, have a nice meal and just enjoy ourselves.
One things for sure, these last few months have made us far less complacent about planning and spending time together as a couple and as a family.