Mommy Monday: Making time for my husband

Notes for new readers: Mommy Monday is a regular feature on this blog, and Fish is my husband. This week I am responding to a request from amy, sara, and jenn to explain how I “find time for Fish on top of being a scientist and a mommy”

The short answer is “I don’t do it very well.” It’s probably the biggest thing I’m letting slide right now (other than sleep).

But Fish swears that I do make time for him (he’s really very sweet). So what do we do?

We’ve always gone grocery shopping together, making a list and looking at recipes beforehand, cutting out coupons, and then just going for impulse purchases anyway when we get to the store. Now we bring Minnow along put her in her pack and she watches us shop.

That’s not the sort of quality time you meant, huh?

Well, we are trying to have a ‘date night’ once a week on Saturday nights. The theory is that one night a week we put aside our stress and we ignore the messy house and unpaid bills and we just enjoy some time together. A few weeks ago, on our anniversary, we actually hired a babysitter and went out to dinner, but usually we stay home. And, often, we are so tired by the time Minnow goes to sleep that we just curl up on the couch and watch a TV movie. When the movie ends at about 10 pm, Fish wants more “date” and I want to go to bed because I am exhausted. Some quality time.

On a more positive note, I think one of the nicest times of each day is the time between when I get home from work and Minnow goes to bed. During that time we all sit on the living room floor and play until Minnow’s bathtime. Then Fish and I both help with the bath and getting a very squirmy Minnow into her jammies.While we’re doing the playing and bathing, Fish and I talk about our days. It ends up being a great time to catch up and de-stress.

Umm, that’s about it. I know that Fish deserves more attention from me, but most of the time, I just don’t seem to have the energy for him. It’s hard enough not to snap at him (which I do too much of anyway), much less actually make an effort to spend pleasant non-chore, non-baby time together.

I guess I hope that when Minnow eventually sleeps through the night, I’ll have more energy for being a wife. But I’m afraid that the extra energy will get sucked into work instead. Amy, Sarah, and Jenn, you asked a good question, and I wish I could say I have a good answer. But I don’t.


  1. #1 Carrie
    September 24, 2007

    The first year hard. Very, very hard. Especially the no-sleep thing. True partners will realize that this is a blip in your lives, and that you MUST be a mom first right now. And that you are constantly not getting enough sleep. After Minnow’s 1st birthday, things with Fish will get better. Until you lose your sense and decide to have another :-).

    Loved the nursing picture. It brought back good memories.

    Your package will be in the mail tomorrow, Science Woman! Thanks for the great afternoon in the outdoors for my family yesterday!

  2. #2 Writer Chica
    September 24, 2007

    Actually, the grocery shopping seems like good quality time to me, especially if you both enjoy it. When Hijo was younger and took afternoon naps, Saturday afternoons were nice quality time for Marido and I. I miss those.

    Keep hiring a sitter if you can and get out of the house to talk. I find that even 30 minutes at the coffee shop, ice cream place, or walk around the block is great for us.

  3. #3 guppygeek
    September 24, 2007

    I’ve been doing this for 15 years. Some things don’t get better even once the offspring sleeps through the night, goes to all day school, etc–never enough time or energy. But once you accept that being behind is normal and ok, it all seems better. Our togetherness solution is to have afternoon trysts now and then when kids both have after school activities (sometimes soccer practice and hebrew school come at the same time). At least the bed time fatigue factor is not there, but those afternoons are pretty rare, even for an academic couple!

  4. #4 ScienceMama
    September 24, 2007

    I’m right there with you, ScienceWoman. Husband and I have pretty much the same kind of Saturday night, but for us it consists of watching NetFlix once Bean goes down for the night. We also have “Family Date Night” on Fridays where we try to go to an actual restaurant in our neighborhood and have a meal that we don’t have to cook. It’s not exactly romantic, but it’s some good family time.

  5. #5 jenn
    September 25, 2007

    Thanks sciencewoman! I’ll second the grocery shopping as quality time… postdoc husband and I have always made grocery shopping and meal planning a together thing (especially since we have no car and need both of us to carry home the goods…) I’d really miss it if we stopped doing it together.
    The end of the day time catching up and playing with Minnow sounds like heaven

  6. #6 e.
    September 25, 2007

    I agree with writer chica and jenn. Quality time doesn’t need to be a romantic date out of the house. My husband and I never really went out on dates, we just always enjoyed doing things together, even the simple everyday things. Now that we have a baby it is more difficult sometimes, because we are both nervous and sleep deprived, but I still find that looking together at our son while he is about to fall asleep and looking very cute is the most romantic thing…

  7. #7 makita
    September 25, 2007

    Our second child has special needs, and I have not yet dared to hire a babysitter for him. To give you an idea about how often we go out, when my mother-in-law was in town, I told my oldest son that my husband and I were going out to dinner, and he was going to stay home with his step-grandmother. “Why?” he asked. I explained that we otherwise never get to go out. He exclaimed “But you went out on your honeymoon!” We had been married for almost 4 years at the time. Stupid of me, how could I have imagined that I deserved more time alone with my husband than that!

    We do a little better this semester. Hubby has a better job, and he comes home early on Fridays. So, for the past 3 weeks, we’ve had lunch together on Friday. But since there is nothing else going on in our lives except work and kids, those topics dominate the conversation. I’m determined to find time to see a movie on a Friday afternoon, to expand our repertoire.

  8. #8 ScienceWoman
    September 25, 2007

    Glad to know I’m not the only one who has a hard time with this. I expect that somewhere down the road, when Minnow is older, I’m not constantly teaching new courses, etc. things might get better. And we have asked the baby-sitter to come back next Friday night so that we can celebrate fish’s birthday.

  9. #9 ecogeofemme
    September 25, 2007

    Perhaps a good new year’s resolution could involve a regular date night. Minnow would be around one by then.

  10. #10 JYB
    September 26, 2007

    We have a 14 month old. We’re both public school teachers and our quality time is the same. When I get home (I drop off our daughter at daycare, mommy picks her up) we have our quality time. Usually go for a walk or play on the carpet. Then it’s bath time. I usually try to help out, but sometimes it’s just more efficient for me to cook dinner while mommy is giving a bath. We grocery shop together.

    We went to a movie once in the summer when we both had days off (we have summer jobs, babies are expensive) and daughter dearest was at daycare. Unfortunately we only had two days off this summer. The other day we went to the Children’s Discovery Museum to play with the water fountains with the youngin.

    In the TMI category: We both want another child but we’re actively dreading the actual baby making process. Neither of us are in any emotional or physical state of readiness after a day chasing around kids.

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