When you’re a parent there’s not a lot of downtime. Of course, we hear suggestions of date nights or are told to just get outside and breathe fresh air once in a while, which in itself can be a challenge for parents of singletons, so can you imagine the challenge for parents of multiples?
I’m one of those parents and the concept of ‘getting out there’ is not lost on me. I love getting fresh air, working out, and know that even just reading a book or watching a movie would do me some good. As they say, taking time for yourself and to be with your partner helps the overall bonding process. And, let’s not forget our other important relationships with family and friends. I encourage maintaining those important relationships as well as being social after having kids. For example, I always remind my husband to call his friends and anyone else if I think too much time has passed since we’ve heard from them (when I can remember, that is…) The bottom line is to take the time to just pick up the phone once-in-a-while. It’s healthy, boosts confidence, improves your mood and is beneficial for your overall well-being. While it’s not as easy as it once was, it’s not out of reach either. It just takes some careful planning and effort.
Now I’m not just talking about us Moms getting out of the house – Dads need some time out too. Of course, you can create a “parents night out” and each do your own thing. Get a sitter (or two.) But seriously, let’s admit it; it’s easy to forget about Dad’s needs. Whether he works at an office or is a stay-at-home Dad, he needs some TLC. As us Moms know, whether you’re at home or at the office, it still works; a labor of love, but work nonetheless. And, it’s healthy to step away once in a while, just to hit that ‘reset’ button.
I feel very confident making suggestions for those Dads to get out there. After all, being the only girl in an all boy band for over a decade and wrestling with my older boy cousins when I was a kid and now being a mom of boys, I think I have a thing or two up my sleeve when it comes to having some fun. So buckle up and get ready for Dads Night Out!
1. Dinner anyone?
Have dinner together –yup! It’s’ that simple. Ya gotta eat, right? In this way, if you’ve lost touch, you can catch up and talk. Just remember to leave the rest at home. Don’t focus only on the kids or your spouse, unless it’s something pressing you must discuss. Remember, this is your time. To make things more exciting, try going to beer or wine pairing dinners, beer/wine tastings, or Scotch tastings. Sign up on mailing lists for updates. Don’t drink? That’s ok; you can be the designated driver.
2. Catch some flicks
Ditch the remote! It’s time to grab your pals for some hard-hitting, car chasing, latest and greatest movies in an actual theater. When was the last time you saw a movie when it actually hit the box office? Yup! Thought so…go on, get out there…don’t forget some cash for popcorn!
3. Take a class
Class: I’m not talking about your persona, how about signing up for a class? There are some breweries who will teach you how they make beer. Maybe take up a cooking class, swimming, or carpentry class…whatever it is, make sure it’s a topic you all enjoy.
4. Get Out and Play
Whether you and your guys love zip-lining, playing pool, bowling, b-ball, mini golf, hitting a ball with a bat, or kicking one, now is the time to check if anyone is missing those “good ole days!” Check your community center, park district, and local gyms. You never know who’s looking for some teammates or, just take your BFFs to a field and play. Not the ‘sporty’ crew? You all can check out the local gaming shops or get together for gaming at someone else’s house; hopefully, you know someone with a great ‘Man-cave.’ In this way you get to hang with your crew and be active too, it’s a win/win!
5. Rock out!
Musically inclined? Get together and jam! Why not start a band? Or, get the old band back together again. Remember how you felt when you were playing way back when? If you’re really serious, get some studio time for practice or if you don’t mind being a true garage band, be my guest!
Not sure about these ideas? Look online, check Groupon, TripAdvisor, Social Media and your community website. Whatever you do, do it once, do it annually, weekly, whatever is best for you and your situation. Just make it a habit to live a little. Your kids will thank you. After all, they don’t want to be the reason why you feel like your life has stopped.
Now, just a note: it’s time to say “YES!” Stop turning down those important invitations or saying a noncommittal “maybe” and then flaking out, or worse, saying yes, then canceling at the last minute (unless there was an emergency, of course). This behavior would damage even the best friendships.
Even if you’re not up to doing the activities I mentioned, at least attend important functions. Go to that class or family reunion, support your friend who’s in that play or game, etc. and be there for them. As long as you’re having fun and showing your love to those who got you to this point.
Keep in mind, you not only need to be a good Dad but you should also be a great friend, brother, and son. So pick up that phone and start dialing…
Lorraine Conforti is a proud mom of twin boys and pet-parent of two cats and a dog. Being both conservative and artistic, she describes herself as “a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll.” She enjoys the arts, music, writing, and had performed in a Blues/Rock band with her Husband for several years. She is also passionate about health and fitness and has held certifications in nutrition and Personal Training, and has earned a BS Degree in Healthcare Management.