“Must Be Nice!” I’ve heard this comment snidely spouted from friends, family, and acquaintances numerous times. You see, my husband and I have date night almost weekly. You’re probably thinking the same thing: Must be nice!
This new phenomenon keeps me sane and glues together the pieces for us. It’s a choice we make and a priority we stick with most of the time. It may not sound feasible for you. Honestly, we didn’t think it was a reality for us either.
I have 4 kids, all young and active…all boys that are ALL BOY! Add to this crazy mix, we have one son with Autism and one son with Sensory Integration Disorder, so date nights are much needed. I personally need to spend time with God and time with my husband to stay sane and keep peace within myself.
We live a very vibrant, fun life, but it is a very hard life. My husband and I work tirelessly to keep our house fun and sane. There isn’t much down time for us when you consider our family dynamics, so when someone stabs me with: “Must be nice!”, it hurts to my core.
I know they are just words, but it is nearly impossible for anyone to know what our daily struggles are unless they are shared. Nearly every morning, my husband and I are jolted from our precious sleep by our son kicking his bedroom wall. The clock almost always reads 5 a.m. One of us rushes to get him before he wakes the other 3.
Unfortunately, he does not wake up in a good mood. Usually something is not just how he envisioned it, and he is screaming and yelling until he nearly throws up and sometimes kicking and banging. As we wipe the crust from our eyes, we race him downstairs to muffle the commotion. Then the routine begins, and if it isn’t just so, we pay the price. Bagel with cream cheese, tv, and Ipad. We ran out of bagels once. After almost 2 hours of screaming, I ran out to get him his bagel. We haven’t run out of bagels since.
His language is emerging, so he has wants and desires that we cannot always understand. Lately, he says that he wants a waffle, but once it’s cooked, it’s back to his usual bagel. Then we have to argue with him to finish his food in the kitchen and not on the couch…then comes: “Change my poo poo.”
He is 3 ½, and I dread potty training. It feels like a mountain I just don’t want to climb right now. Anyways, the task of getting him undressed and wrestling him while changing his diaper is daunting to say the least at 5:30 in the morning. First, he must collect all of his trucks, cars, characters, and books to hold while we change him. If one falls while we are changing him, he slips ever so quickly into meltdown mode, often kicking us as a result, and, yes, poop ends up on the carpet and his clothes often.
Once he’s clean, the plethora of internal questions begin to arise: should I keep him in his pajamas which consist of a onesie, footie pajamas with the feet cut off, and a shirt over it all to avoid poop being smeared all over the house, or do I put him in his school clothes which he will probably just take off if I don’t watch him. Questions like this arise all day long, and one foul move could cause chaos like a neuro-typical mom has never known.
After a bit, everyone else gets up. The usual busyness ensues: breakfast, lunches, and dressing everyone. This all must be rushed, because once the baby, who is 15 months old, is out of his high chair, I am on guard intercepting pushes and shoves constantly. My early riser is constantly following the baby around, either laying on him or pushing him down. It is not malicious. He wants to connect and play with him…but also use him as a sensory, squeeze pillow.
This breaks my heart to share, but for months, he was shoving the baby’s face in the carpet. He was not trying to hurt him in any way and didn’t understand the severity of his actions. It was horrifying, as you couldn’t even hear the baby screaming. Again, he was not trying to hurt him; he was trying to wrestle and just didn’t comprehend that he can’t play that way with the baby. Needless to say, those 2 are never left alone…not even for a Mommy bathroom break.
This is all before 8 a.m. and often before I can even make myself a STRONG cup of coffee. I haven’t even touched on my other son’s sensory needs and all the therapies we are involved in. I could go on, but honestly, I don’t feel the need. This is my life. I am happy and joyful and, yes, thankful to God for everything He has given me, but I would like to be met with some joy or encouragement when I decide to take some time out to refresh my mind and soul.
So next time can you please be happy for me that I am able to grow as a wife and enjoy quality, alone time with my husband? I would love to hear excitement from a friend when I tell them that I finally am getting a much needed, much earned break instead of being met with judgment.
**As a side note, you can make your husband and marriage a priority too. We made excuses forever as to why we couldn’t have dates. Often times we are exhausted and don’t even want to move, but we make each other a priority. This has made a huge impact in our lives and in our children’s lives. Sometimes we even just sit in our car, listen to the radio, and talk about life without interruption.
When we go out, we are only gone for 2 hours. We leave after the baby and our son with Autism are asleep. This means that we eat dinner later, but we are making it work with our situation. We are being flexible and not making excuses for not making our marriage a priority. Some people tell me that they don’t have the money. These are the same women who just ate lunch out with their girlfriends or have beautifully manicured nails…that could be date night money. If funds are truly tight, there are other options though. You can have a couch date. We do this too. No phones and no tv, or maybe tv is your thing. Turn on Netflix and cuddle away. Every once in awhile, you need to create “you time” whether it’s with or without your spouse. **