When I asked a first-time mum what the biggest change was after having her baby, she immediately stated her marriage. Add this to the MANY conversations had with mothers about the last time they had a date night and it's clear, having children can significantly reduce one on one time together. Time to connect physically and emotionally. And in a different environment than sharing the wiping of faces, floors, tables and toys, I mean!
The reasons date nights haven't happened are real.
All valid, agreed, but necessary of review? I think so.
Ask a mum what she wants for her child, and the answer will sit somewhere on the spectrum from 'happy' to 'healthy'. Guess what? Raising children in a home which makes connection, positive relationships and effective communication key, is one of the most effective strategies to promote wellbeing. That is, happy healthy kids! This is reason one.
"The best security blanket a child can have
are parents who respect each other"
If you're still on the fence about 'dating' your partner, read on for further benefits:
2. Children have more exposure to being separate from mum, which in turn, fosters their ability to practice being 'them'. Just like they'll have to at school or when they fly the nest. Who am I and how do I respond when my mum's not there to soothe or intervene as usual? It's important for children to explore these questions.
3. It takes a village to raise a child. Let's remember the benefit in your child being exposed to other ways of doing and being. You're great, but your way is not the only one way of being and doing. It's ok for children to have exposure to other peoples routines, patterns or behaviours.
4. Your child learns to trust themselves and others.
5. If there is ever an emergency which takes you away from your child, you'll fee much better in this already high-stress time, knowing your child isn't experiencing separation from you for the first time, right?
6. Some children will THRIVE in different situations and possibly LOVE visiting babysitters, family or friends. These are the children who love people, adventure and change.
7. For those children you're more worried about, the children who appear shy and attached to you and you only, this is all the more reason to gently, gently let them rehearse these skills. Just like catching a ball. Without a ball being thrown to a child, they can't learn to catch, can they? Without opportunities to practice resiliency and connection with others, how will your child develop these skills?
8. As children venture through the world, they'll soon become exposed to social gatherings such as sports, games and work, in which these don't revolve around them. Children must be valued, feel important and seen for sure, but this should not tip the scale to them believing everyone's routines are dependent on their wants. Children benefit from observing the needs and interests of those around them, including mum. This teaches them compassion and care for others.
And what about the benefits to you? There are plenty, but here's three to get you started:
1. You had children with this person, or in the event you're on your own, your family and friends are important to you for a reason. Let's hope it's because you love them and want to share your life with them. Remembering and fostering relationships is worthy of time and effort.
2. While you spend the next 20 years raising children, you and your partner will grow. Don't return to each other in two decades as strangers. Grow separately, yet also together. Making plans, creating dreams and experiencing the ups and downs of life together.
3. Having something to look forward to (even if just for an hour walk together) increases your happy hormones such as dopamine & oxytocin, and reduces the opportunity for resentment, frustration and depression to set in.
If you're currently single, the above applies to you too! Book a high tea with a friend, a yoga class, or a dinner out, and ENJOY!
"Stop spending 100% of your time on 10% of who you are"
Until next time, stay wonderful and enjoy.