Adventures in Attachment Parenting: Couple Time by Allison Silver
I’m not sure if it’s because Valentine’s Day was last week, but it seems like everywhere I turn I am either being asked about “couple time” or I am being bombarded by what mainstream society thinks “couple time” should look like. Now don’t get me wrong, spending quality time as a couple is extremely important. And it’s quite important to find a balance, but the definition of “quality time” is different for everyone.
After watching some television programming this week it has occurred to me that mainstream media thinks that couples should be back to our normal routines within six weeks of having a baby. In fact, they make you feel like something is terribly wrong with you or your relationship if you aren’t dying to get out of the house by the time your child is six weeks old!
When our child was born the last thing we wanted to do was to be away from her. In fact, even at almost sixteen months, my husband and I have yet to go out to dinner alone! It’s not that we haven’t had the opportunity. It’s just something that we aren’t interested in doing at this time. Before we had a child we spent our time together doing what most couples without children do. We went out. We would go to dinner, see a movie, go to the city to see a performance, travel, attend church functions, we even had a favorite tiki bar that we visited occasionally on Friday nights. All in all we were pretty active.
We both knew that our lives would change once we had a baby. I don’t think we knew how much it would change but we weren’t put off by it. In fact, I think we were at a point in our lives where we were ready for it. I won’t lie, it was quite difficult getting used to this extra person who is quite demanding. We realized pretty quickly that at this stage in our lives, our time together as a couple might take a backseat to the needs of our daughter. And we are both okay with that. We know it won’t be forever.
That’s not to say that we don’t have any “couple time” anymore. In fact, we probably have more “quality time” together than most couples. It’s just that our “couple time” looks different right now. One way that we squeeze in “quality time” is by going for an afternoon walk. Our daughter loves to be outside and go for afternoon walks. We have been taking her for walks since she was four months old. In the beginning, I used to put her in a wrap and take her for a walk. Lately, she enjoys being in the stroller. So every day, when the weather cooperates, we put her in her stroller and go for a forty-five minute walk.
I know some of you are thinking, “How can that be couple time? You aren’t alone.” And you are right, we aren’t alone. We are with our daughter, but she is so content and happy when we go for these walks that it’s almost as if we are alone! We spend this time talking and catching up with each other. Plus it’s great exercise too. Having our daughter with us during our walks puts both of us at ease. We know that she is content and happy and we aren’t spending our time worrying about her. It’s become a daily activity that we all look forward to.
Stealing kisses has become a new activity for us. Over the past week our daughter has gotten very jealous when Daddy hugs or kisses me. At first my hubby was a bit put off by this new behavior, but instead of getting upset by it we have made it into a game. Our new game is to give each other a quick hug or kiss before our “little chaperone” catches us. It’s kinda fun. It’s almost like we are sneaking around.
And lastly, most of the time I go to sleep with our daughter, but once in awhile she will fall asleep in my arms on the couch. When this happens my husband and I take advantage of the time together and watch a favorite television show or movie. Again, this is not what most people would define as “couple time” but it’s an activity that I very much look forward to and enjoy doing with my husband. And isn’t that what couple time should be? This is not to say that we will never go out to dinner ever again. But right now we are quite content with the way we have chosen to spend our “couple time.”