Monday, September 21, 2009

Dating Mr. Blandings

Mr. Blandings and I don't get out much, and it's killing me.

You got hung up on that first part, didn't you? It was "Mr. Blandings and I don't get out much," that you heard, right? Well, go ahead and scrape your jaw off the floor: I tell you, it's true! Sadly, an outing alone is something of an anomaly in the matrix at this point. There was a time when the thought of going out for dinner and a movie alone, without my precious little ones, was completely unappetizing to me. I didn't want to miss a moment. Couldn't surrender an ounce of control. It must have been new mommy haze because I'll be honest--at this point, I am totally, completely, 150% o.k. with someone else plunking my little angels into their beds and flipping off the lights.

I can miss a reading of "Goodnight Moon" and be o.k. Someone else really can help find the mouse.

My older kids can get to bed an hour and a half late and be o.k. Consistency isn't that important to me.

I'm over the "What? Me? Leave my angels in the hands of another? Surely you jest!"

Now I'm stuck, utterly, in a new reality. The "'s killing me" reality. We could also call this We Aren't Rich Enough To Go Out Because Paying a Babysitter To Watch Five Kids is More Expensive Than Dining at a Four-Star Eatery.

Pity us. We are a flirty young couple stuck living the lives of old married folks!

Our nearest family is far enough away that the plane ticket for a night out is well ... prohibitive. :-) Yes, Benny lives a mile away but frankly, combining our two broods for one evening is anything but relaxing for the husband called upon to give horseback rides, kick soccer balls, and endure WeeSing tunes belted out at full volume over a hastily thrown-together meal at a table overrun with wiggly bodies and gleeful clapping.

And heaven forbid said man actually had to work that day.

So, Mr. Blandings and I don't get out much. Instead, we set up date nights here at the house. I feed the kids early, we send them off to bed slightly before bedtime, and together, Mr. Blandings and I whip up our favorite Thai dishes. Then we settle in to play a game, watch a movie, or read.

It's sweet stuff. Romantic. But still, kind of routine.

I find that at this point in our marriage, I am hungering for more togetherness. If I could turn back time, I can't tell you how many extra in-law sponsored date nights I'd indulge in. If I had relatives near ... well, I might be taking advantage of them, that's all I'm saying. I'm not sure what this new stage in my heart is, but all of a sudden, my husband--who I've always cherished, loved, and considered my best friend--is suddenly always, ever on my mind.

We're been married 13 and a half years, and yet, seeing Mr. Blandings across a crowded soccer field still sends my heart tittering. Hearing his voice as he says his pet name for me is simply enough to make me feel like a giggling, frivolous schoolgirl.

I am, simply, in love.

Oh, yes, I adore my children. They are precious beyond precious, loved beyond loved.

But my husband? Now, there's the stuff that dreams are made of. :-)

So you know what? I really, really want to date my husband. I really, really want to look into his eyes across a table in a dimly-lit restaurant and talk about something other than diapers and school schedules. I want to hear his heart. I want to debate current events. I want to hear him tell me how much he loves me.

I want to be young and crazy and completely romantic.

Any ideas how to do that with five kids under the roof?


Tara said...

How old is Jo? Our eldest is almost thirteen and we will often leave her in charge after the littles are down for naps and sneak off for coffee. Or, sometimes, we get up before the darlings and take a walk or grab a quick breakfast. Sometimes we just sit in the living room while the chaos ensues around us and text (or sext:) each other like crazy. Creativity is key!

KH said...

MG, I have 4 young children. An idea we've done in the past with good friends who also have a bunch of young children... instead of having all the kids over combined into one fun, but exhausting evening for the babysitting couple... instead... your friend puts her kids to bed for the night (or her hubby does) at her own home... then she comes over to your home and either puts your kids to bed or you have them already tucked in depending on your bedtimes...then head out. Your friend gets a quiet evening at your home to write, read, relax while you go out with your hubby. Then switch. You go over to her home some night and stay with her children (with just having to put them to bed or just plop on the couch) while they go out. This way the babysitter doesn't have an exhausting evening... could even doze on the couch and get a few extra winks if needed... and you and hubby go out for free! This works well because our kids are young enough to still have early bedtimes... anyway, just an idea for you since you asked! :)

obladi oblada said...

Hmm...I like the above idea. Whatever it is, do it need a night out!!

Or swap nights with another friend. You watch her kids one night, while she and her husband go out...and then she will watch yours on another night while her husband stays with her kids, and you and your husband go out. Just a thought.

The Beaver Bunch said...

I LOVE KH's idea. I was going to put something on here about splurging and paying a sitter and then making a picnic, or blah, blah, blah something like that.

But KH has the right idea! I will certainly be trying that one.

Benny said...

I agree with the swapping idea rather than combining. What you need to do is get yourself a wonderful, loving, trustworthy best friend who loves your kids - oh wait, you already have one of those!

So call said best friend and see what evening she and her hubby are both available so that you two Blandings Daters can get out on the town while your BFF hangs out at your place for an evening. Trust me. Your friend would be happy to do it. Don't ask me now I know. I just do.



Jodi said...

We have 6, so I understand completely. Our oldest is 15, but the yonger 5 are all under 9 and some are pretty "busy". He is quite capable, but having help is good. What we have started doing is hiring a 17 yr. old young lady that we know really well that has tons of younger sib training and have her come to watch with our son. (in case you're wondering, she brings her sister so son/babysitter are not alone)
We tend to do this on the weekend for lunch through early dinner or snack and then get home right before bedtime. We have a blast doing this as we aren't as tired as we would be for dinner and the kids are better too.
Just a thought...

The Hayes Zoo said...

I have no ideas as THIS is where we are too and any and all creativity is being sucked out of me at an alarming rate. :)

We have a joint coffee addiction so we get up early and the goal is to drink the coffee before the little people get up. IF they get up before I'm ready for them - I send them back to read.

Or, in deperation we let them watch a movie while we go on the back porch and visit.

It's lame, but it's all we've got.:)

coupon guy said...

you guys should go out to something sometime before the blandings become "bland" :P