Thursday, September 24, 2009

His, hers and ours

In the before-time, the ZenHusband and I used to do lots of fun things together: Backpacking, hiking, camping, SCUBA, music festivals, movies, video games, sporting events, museums ...

But, since the kids came along, we don't have a lot of "us" time. We do a lot of things together as a whole family - and that's great. But, we don't really do many "fun" things together just as a couple any more.

Instead, we trade off - he has time to go do some of "his" things and I have some free time to do some of "my" things.

His favorite hobbies are homebrewing, fishing, hiking, alternative music, video games, disc golf ... throw in a little football and hockey (watching) and the occasional war movie or History Channel documentary and the ZenHusband is a pretty happy camper.

Me? I'm usually happiest when I'm reading, writing, playing with techy stuff, or taking photographs.

I used to think that it was great that we each had our own interests. And, I guess I still do. But, I kind of miss doing non-parent things together, too.

Sometimes it starts to seem like whenever we are together, all we do or talk about is how to juggle work and kids' schedules, or what's for dinner, or did you feed the cat, or can you fix the kitchen drawer, or the car needs washing, or can you pick up milk on the way home ...

Every now and then, I feel like if we didn't have all of that "family business" minutia, we might just sit and stare at each other and wonder what to talk about; I start to wonder if we have anything in common anymore besides our kids.

And then ...

... then we somehow manage to find a few hours - or even a whole day or two - of "us" time ...

And, suddenly, we remember that, while we are separate people with different interests, we are also a loving couple with more than 10 years of shared history and a lot more in common than just those fabulous, adorable rugrats who call us parents.

Last weekend, we had a rare two whole days to ourselves. We went out of town to do something "fun". But, more importantly, we had a lot of time to just hang out and talk. Did we talk about the kids? Yeah, a little. But we also talked about books and beer and music and movies and culture and current events.

And we talked about the fact that we want to make sure that we don't forget that, no matter how all-encompassing parenting can (and should) be in our lives, we still need to make time to do the "fun" things that we enjoy doing together - just for us - too.

We don't quite know how we are going to do it, but we agree it's important to us to try.

What about you?

Do you and your significant other have shared interests or hobbies? Do you do "fun" things together (without your kids)? Or do you each do your own "grown up" things? Is "couple time" a priority for you? How do you find the time and what kinds of things do you do?

I'm really curious about how other couples approach these things. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Tomorrow, DaddyGeekBoy will be here at Venus vs Mars with his thoughts on the subject of marriage and shared interests. Don't miss it!



Chief said...

We struggle with this as well. My husband travels a bit so he gets plenty of time without the kids so when we do have time as a family, he can't imagine not taking the kids too. Once in a while I will tell him it's time for a date night and we will leave, but we usually end up at Costco, or Chick Filet or something.

We do spend time at home alone together just chatting. Our kids are old enough that we can go in the bedroom and visit after work. The kids try to leave us alone.

As our marriage has gotten into 16 years I do notice that our interests have changed. We used to be interested in the same things, but now, as I have grown up, I have realized that we don't have to be attached at the hip all the time, just make time to listen to each other about what interests us.

SciFi Dad said...

The only real shared interest we have now is movies and some tv. Other than that our tastes diverge (example, her: crafts, me: video games).

When we were DINKS we went to the movies more often than we do now (we're renters more), and I used to be into craft painting before we got married, but otherwise our "together time" hasn't changed much.

ZenMom said...

Chief: I think just a little bit of alone-time (no, not *that* kind of alone-time) can be a really good "re-charge" of our relationship batteries. :)

SFD: Do you do your different things together - like, simultaneously? I've found that we have had some pleasant kid-free house just each doing our own thing, but together. Like, he will play a video game while I lay with him on the couch reading a book. I sometimes wonder if maybe that would seem weird to other people. Also, if it weren't for Netflix, we would never see anything except kids movies. :)

Roxy said...

Every week (Thursday) Roxy and I have date night. The only way out is if there is something that even the CEO of our companies wouldn't skip for. Otherwise - no kids, and a date. We try to make it something that each one of us wants to do - regardless of the other's opinion. In this way, we each get to learn more about each other's likes, dislikes, interests, etc. Even after 14 years together, 2 kids and 4 houses...there is a lot to learn!

6p0120a5954d5b970b said...

It's not easy, but you've got to find time. Money's often tight, but the price you pay to a baby sitter is so worth it when you look at how much good it does for your relationship. Ask your parents, friends, anyone to get you some alone time together. Parenting is tough, but you have to remind each other that you're together as a team.

ZenMom said...

Roxy: I think a regular date night is a great idea.

6p etc.: Lack of a regular sitter is a HUGE impediment to us. I have a fabulous day-time daycare provider. But for evenings - I have been working hard to find one (or more) sitters to let us try to have "date nights" every now and then. But it's been really hard!

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

We have movie night once a week! We also have tv shows we watch together...we love to travel together though, that's key! Admittedly, we would be the yelling couple on Amazing Race because we both think we are smarter at getting us from point A to point B!

I do try out stuff he likes, like camping and mountain biking and snowboarding but he won't sit and read with me... Pppfffftttt right?

Oh I also sneak in lunch with him at least once a week and we go walking/jogging a few nights a week on average....

But...I think it is so important to have your own hobbies also, they define us as individuals, and by human nature we want to know who we are! I don't always want to be defined or known as someones spouse...when necessary sure, but if you have sometime and hobbies that are all your own...I know, at least for me, that it helps me re-group, miss him, and remember why I'm in this thing for the long haul!

Steph said...

Zen- We do the being in the same room, but doing different things a good bit. He's usually watching football and I'm reading.
It gives us time together, but doing our own thing.

The other thing we do when he's not traveling is like Shelle is try to grab lunch together without DD.
We haven't had a date night in a while and I think we need one.

Great post!!

Chief said...

Sci Fi- this sounds fairly typical of our situation. At first it bothered us that we liked different thing and Zen moms answer below

Zen- We absolutely do this. I am at my computer and he is watching sports. Occasionally I read him a funny comment or blog and once in a while he will rewind something and have me watch it. It works out well for us.

Rozy- We try to have a date night too, our kids are old enough to watch themselves as long as it doesn't get dark. Like I said before though, it usually means we go grocery shopping or something.

Shelle-We love to travel too, we just take our kids. And there are shows that we both put our hobbies on hold for so that we can watch them together.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

What? You think I'm going to spoil tomorrow's post by answering your question here?

ZenMom said...

Shelle and Steph: I just love when the ZenHusband and I can sneak in a lkid-free lunch-date every now and then! :D

Chief: When are you going to come write for us here?! I just a-dore your brain, dah-ling!

DGB: Tease! SO looking forward to it!

Anjeny said...

The latest thing we're doing now that my hub is working close to home is every Tuesday I meet up with him at his work (BYUH), we attend a Devotional held at the university and then go out to lunch. We're working on the bike riding, just haven't really gotten the right time, evenings are my worst/busiest time of the day.

I usually have my own "grown up" time for myself, card swap group and bookclub. Hubby usually go fishing with friends, go on a little hike by himself but mostly he prefers doing things with the family. But he does have a "grown up" time for himself right after the kids are asleep before he goes to bed, while I'm watching my favorite show late at night.

Missty said...

I think this is HUGE! Being married for 26 years, we have friends who have no interests the same anymore. Kids are almost grown and they have nothing.

Not us- We do everything and anything together. He is my best friend so why would I not do it with him?

Fun stuff from going to the beach for a bike ride, the movies, out to dinner. To boring stuff like running to Lowes together. At home we do things in the same room just different - computer/tv. Garage/phone games or tv.

Right now for stuff the same at home - we are loving the Wii Rock star games. I can really rock out on the drums! lol (Oh and that game system is ours, in our bedroom... for US to play.) The boys have what they want.

When our kids were just starting to be able to be left alone, we would always say we were running to Lowes. lol And then go get an icecream, or to the mall, etc. lol

When the kids were little - it was worth a babysitter.

Great post.

Jeve (aka John and Steve) said...

I'll let ya know once we have kids, but Steve and I are definitely not having as much fun as you did before children.

Chief said...

Zen - working on my debut, Im a bit green but we will give it a go!

Southern Sage said...

Well I don't know that we do much together, I reckon we do play softball together. But thats not really together its just at the same place at the same time. Other than that it's kids stuff and thats it. She does her thing and I do mine, even have 2 separate offices in the house. I guess we don't have common interests, we both read a lot but it'd be tough to read together. We used to travel a couple places a year but since the economy crushing of 07 thats pretty much a done deal.

Hubman said...

Veronica and I try to regularly get out for date night, just the two of us [thought I'd clarify that!].

In fact, we're doing that tomorrow night!

At the same time, we both enjoy our alone time to do the things we like, independent of each other.

Just Jules said...

OK FINALLY! I am finally able to take a few minutes to comment - but only a few because I am in the process of cleaning up for the babysitter. I am allowing myself this award for finishing the basement - yes just like a kid... anyway.

As far as dating. We have a date tonight. My husband is a high school teacher. Dates are hard. It is like dating a small town celebrity - everywhere you go people know and notice you both for good and bad (you either love or hate your math teacher, or your kid's teacher) Not easy to "get away" no intimacy in public etc. Straight laced all american couple (we live in small town Midwest where this stuff matters still.

But, tonight we are driving out of town, to a different district to a bar in a swamp to have an amazing burger and me a beer or (*gasp 3!!!!) We will laugh and relax. It will be wonderful and we will be connected again.

How often do we do this? Not nearly enough. We haven't gone since Spring or early Summer. We have very common interests it is what drew us together - we love outdoors and adventure. However like Chief when we have any free time hubby tries to include the kids because he never sees them.

We used to make it a priority - us. We were better for it.