When two people love each other and love their kids, there is obviously nothing better than family time, but there is also a cost to family time. It can be exceptionally tiring and energy consuming. We all - married, single, dating, working outside the home, working from home - need a break sometimes. Not just for ourselves, but for our relationships.
Overcoming the Barriers to Dating
I wish a simple solution existed that made access to dating easier. When families were less spread out geographically, grandparents and extended family members were typically able to take on a greater day-to-day role in the children's lives, and this effectively addressed both barriers. Time away from parents was viewed positively as an investment in developing close bonds with grandparents. And the financial advantages are obvious. Fewer extended families enjoy the close proximity of past generations; however, many parents can do more to reach out to grandparents and extended family, either through inviting them to town or figuring out ways to bring children to see grandparents more frequently. Also, more and more communities are developing (http://www.nncc.org/choose.quality.care/qual.sitter.coop.html) babysitting cooperatives to defray the costs of babysitting and make childcare a more social and perhaps more enjoyable time where neighbors connect and children can socialize with one another.
Consider reaching out to any trusted family or friends who might provide free childcare. Also, look into whether your community has a babysitting coop. If they don't, start one!!! When you hesitate to leave your children, even for one night, remember that it is important for children to know that their parents love each other and value both their family time and their romantic time.
When ending therapy with couples who have children, I encourage them to direct the money they have budgeted to pay me toward a babysitting fund. After all, babysitting is cheaper than therapy and astronomically cheaper than divorce!
Elisabeth Joy LaMotte is author of Overcoming Your Parents' Divorce: 5 Steps to a Happy Relationship.
Visit www.elisabethlamotte.com to learn more or follow on twitter @elisjoy