Category: Marriage

10 Date Night Ideas for Couples Without a Babysitter

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Date nights with your spouse are an essential investment in your relationship. After all, you were each other’s everything before you became parents. It is important to spend time nurturing your romantic relationship too. Once the kids grow up and leave, it will be just you and the hubby together again. Plus, it makes it easier to cope with those annoying habits like absurdly loud chewing and never changing out the empty tooth paste tube. *eye twitch*

COVID has created some complications for date night opportunities, but even before this pandemic it was hard for my husband and I to spend a Friday night out on the town together. We do not have access to regular babysitters and the extra cost to pay for childcare limited what we could spend on dinner, or a movie. My kids did not love being left with a babysitter and would cry, which always led to me feeling guilty and wanting to rush back home. When my husband started working from home it was easier to treat ourselves to a grown-up lunch while the kids were in school. Except, now school is happening at home.

So where do parents with two rambunctious children and zero babysitting options go for a date night?

Here are 10 date night ideas for couples without a babysitter:

  1. If you have a back yard, us it! Light a fire, grab a blanket and a couple of favorite beverages and head to the back yard to gaze up at the stars. Super easy and spontaneous.

2. Have a subscription box delivered to open together after the kids go to bed. Take turns presenting each other with a new snack box, or silly gifts to exchange.

3. Host a Zoom night double date with good friends and include a wine tasting. Each couple can recommend a bottle for the other couple to taste and sample along with some snacks. Treat the kid to their own special movie night in the living room with snacks and separate places to get cozy to buy yourself some quiet time with friends.

4. Host a game night with another couple on Zoom. You can split your screen for online games or go old school with fun Pictionary or charades.

5. Set up a candlelight picnic outside under the stars after the kids go to bed. Order out some grown-up appetizers from that new place you have wanted to try, but you know the kids will not like.

6. Stream a movie on the lawn. Set up a comfy spot with an air mattress and cozy blankets, or a double seated swing chair to snuggle in while watching. Bring out the snacks and beverages to enjoy.

7. Order a DIY craft kit from a local maker and make something at home. A lot of local crafters are offering a make and take kit to do at home. Pick one that you both like and give it a try! It does not have to be perfect, just fun.

8. Pick up a favorite dessert that you don’t want to share with the kids. Once they go to bed, bring it out and do not feel guilty!  

9. Go through old photos and movies together and laugh at some of the crazy shenanigans you have taken part in over the years. Pop open some champagne and re-watch your wedding video or honeymoon videos.

10. Make it an early morning date. Wake up an hour or two before the kids and enjoy some quiet coffee and a savory brunch without picky eaters. You don’t even need to get fancy, just toss some fresh bagels out and call it breakfast. The point is you’re alone and it’s quiet.

Even when bedtime is a struggle (as it is in my house) these ideas are all easy enough to put together without a lot of planning. And they can break you out of the channel surfing rut most of us find ourselves in after the kids go to bed.

Roxanne Ferber is a twin mom and freelance writer in search of picky eater free meals and exciting adult conversation. Visit The Whatever Mom on Facebook Instagram Pinterest and Twitter.

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Come Spend the Day with me at Mom University! *Exclusive Discount*

Mom University is a one day event just for moms.
This is a compensated post, but all opinions are authentically my own.

This time last year I was in deep need of a mental and physical break. I had just left a horrible job and was under stress at home while trying to get work lined up. My husband and I were fighting so much, and one of my kiddos was having a rough time at school. I felt like I couldn’t keep up with all the demands coming at me all at once. I was stressed to the max.

I needed a break so badly, that I drove an hour all by myself through the snow and rain to get to an event called, Mom University. It is a one-day event from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. with food I don’t have to make and coffee and conversation with other moms in the same boat as me. I arrived alone, but I wasn’t alone for long. Other moms invited me to sit at their table and the organizers Jen, Alicia and Laura made me feel welcome. After settling in with my cup of hot, fresh coffee and rooting through my swag bag of goodies, I dove into the breakout session topics. I was excited to spend time with experts in the areas I was struggling with the most, nutrition, finances, self-care and kid behaviors. And, the chair massage and blow out bar were an amazing extra in my day. I laughed so much, and I even cried a little when some of us shared our mom stories. It was a powerful day.

Mom Swag! So much more in the bag, but I couldn’t hold it all up for a selfie.

I came to the event feeling like a hot ball of stress. But when I left, I felt more relaxed, uplifted and ready to face the chaos at home. I had tools to use to take care of myself and my family and the best part, I knew I wasn’t the only mom struggling.

I am excited to return to the gorgeous Locust Grove Estate in Poughkeepsie on March 29th, 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. for another exciting line up of experts to learn from and this time, meet up with mom friends. And I am even more excited to share with my readers and local moms an *exclusive discount* so you can experience Mom University for yourselves! You can buy your tickets —> here <—- and use the code WHATEVERMOM at checkout (before 3/1/20) to take $10.00 off your ticket which entitles you to a full 7 hours of time to connect and recharge. (A full hour alone at the spa costs more and there’s no one feeding you).

Julie Ciardi 2019 Key Note Speaker

As moms, there is no manual for how to make all the things work. It’s kind of a learn as you go job. That’s why we need a village of other moms to talk to and learn from. Mom University is like a career development day for all moms where we can learn to master the challenging parts of motherhood. I’ve been a SAHM, a WAHM and a work outside the home mom and this day applies to every single mom out there. Every mom needs connection. Every mom needs solidarity. Every mom needs time to grow. It’s hard to do all those things with a toddler tugging at your back pockets, or a boss breathing down our neck.

The 2020 event has over 16 workshops lead by professionals and guest speakers to help ignite your passions and help you find balance. This event is created by moms, for moms. You might recognize Jen and Alicia from The Mommy Dash; both moms struggling to make it all work too. It is their vision and passion to bring this day to all of us. (I don’t think they ever sleep).  I am so thankful they still have the energy to take care of all of us with a catered breakfast and lunch, snacks and coffee, mini massages and a mommy marketplace, oh and a DJ dropping the sound track to our lives.

Jen, Laura and Alicia all sporting their fabulous Mom U Sweatshirts from the Mommy Marketplace.

Being a mom myself, I know how hard it is to take an hour for myself, let alone an entire day, but I assure you the house will still be standing when you get back home. The kids will eat garbage while you are gone, and your husband will tell you it was all easy. But you will be ready to let it all roll off your freshly massaged shoulders. And nothing can replace feeling recharged and connected. So don’t wait, go grab your special discount and shoot me an email at [email protected] and tell me to look for you there!

Writer Bio for The Whatever Mom
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Why I Like to Spend Time Alone

I took a walk all by myself today, literally over the river and through woods. It was glorious!

I rarely get time to myself, but this week my husband is on vacation. It means I am on vacation too.   I know, I know “but he works!” Well, so do I. I work from home as a freelance writer while making sandwiches and packing two kids for a day at the beach. He works only one job at a time, albeit stressful he isn’t managing meltdowns while trying to look professional to a client. We both deserve a break. But while he is working 70 hours a week, I am covering all the childcare needs while simultaneously running a business. I’m not kidding when I say, if I go down no one knows how to the food gets in the house or when the toilets get cleaned. It’s all courtesy of moi!

I walked 1.28 miles one way without pushing a stroller or with any kids hanging on me!

Today, I chose to visit one of my favorite walking trails because it is quiet and has such beautiful views of the Hudson River. I’ve only ever walked this trail with my kids, so it felt strange not pushing a stroller or pulling a heavy wagon full of screaming kids. I made pretty good time walking nearly three miles. I had my favorite music pushing me on and no one to talk too. The silence was golden.  

No answering questions about sea creatures.

No organizing lunches.

No packing up a swim bag.

No blowing up pool toys.

No slathering sunscreen and carrying an armful of towels to the pool.

It was a glorious start to my vacation!

This is the first break for myself I’ve had all summer. My kids and I have been tethered since their last day of school. It’s OK, I love them. But as a work from home/stay at home mom the daily tasks of motherhood can become the weekly grind. It’s almost cliché to call my job as a mom exhausting. Everyone knows how tired we are because we can’t stop telling everyone we are tired.

View from 212 feet in the air walking over a converted train bridge.

Taking a walk while you’re that kind of exhausted sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s exactly what I needed! To roam freely, unattached to a to-do list, or locked into mealtime demands. Listening to my own thoughts without interruptions helps me declutter things that are bugging me. Do I really need to hold on to that friend if she clearly let me go? How about cleaning out some of this guilt about letting my kids eat so many hot dogs? Being alone allows me to regroup a little and feel lighter. It’s like therapy.

Are you someone that likes to be alone in your head? Or do you enjoy escaping from the mom demands with friends? Leave me a comment below, or feel free to join the conversation on Facebook! ????

Roxanne Ferber is a freelance writer and owner of The Whatever Mom blog. Nearly nine years on the coffee wagon and she still doesn’t have enough energy to keep up with her twins. But she is a survivor and she’s gonna make it; even if she has to white knuckle it through each day until her kids graduate. Follow her on FacebookTwitter or Insta.

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A Cynic’s View of Valentine’s Day – Celebrating Love and Grief

Valentine’s day seems to bring out two kinds of people. The ones who love everything about the holiday and the ones who hate everything about it. I used to be one of the folks that hated it. I thought it was some dumb made up holiday created to dupe people from their dollars with useless trinkets and overpriced flowers. Gift giving is easy but loving someone every day is the hard part. A total cynic, even after I found love with the man that is now my husband.

We were dating only a few weeks before Valentine’s day, so I gave my new love a card and a funny pair of joke boxers out of obligation. I was clearly in the no frills, less is more camp. Only after arriving at his apartment for a home cooked meal, a surprise dozen roses, some chocolates, gold jewelry and a sappy card did I realize he was in the other camp. And that made for some very awkward dinner conversation.

A lot has changed since our first Hallmark holiday. For our second Valentine’s day, we celebrated the birth of my nephew. Our third Valentine’s day we celebrated my niece’s victory over childhood cancer and on our fifth Valentine’s Day we attended my father’s funeral. Valentine’s day has not always been all roses and chocolates for us. We’ve watched friends marry and divorce on Valentine’s day, and we’ve watched atrocities of mass shootings unfold on Valentine’s day. This Hallmark occasion has become a mixed bag of emotions for me. I’m always torn between throwing love around like confetti or sobbing in a closet. In between all the gifts and romance, funerals and cancer diagnosis’ we’ve learned that we need this one day on the calendar to remind us to slow down and check-in with those around us. I am always thankful for that extra reminder.

Today marks our 19th Valentine’s Day and again it is a day of celegrieving
(Note to self: coin the term “celegrieving”). We lost four amazing people in the last month. Grieving on Valentine’s day isn’t new to us, but it does put a crimp in our celebratory mood. Yet in a way it doesn’t. (There’s that mixed bag of emotions. You just don’t know which one I’m going to pull out). We don’t need flowers, or grand gestures to celebrate our family and friends. We are grateful for the memories we have with our Uncle Mike, our friends Michael, Jennifer and Erica. They are among the reasons we rejoice. We celebrate them and the wonderful gifts they’ve given us. Each of them taught us something, showed us kindness in every day gestures and made us laugh. Oh, how I will miss hearing their laughter. And their smiles when we talked. The run-ins at Walmart. And our shared stories with funny inside jokes. This holiday wasn’t invented with grievers in mind, and it isn’t my fault that my grief comes with a side of glittery wrapped dark chocolates. I guess grieving on the high holy day of chocolate has this one small benefit.

Despite my sadness this morning I decorated our kitchen with red and white crepe paper and scattered chocolate kisses all over the breakfast table. I surprised my girls with some special gifts, and I wrote love notes in everyone’s card. No, my husband’s presents and impressive dinners over the years have not converted me to the commercialism of Valentine’s day. But living in a world where it is easy to become so busy that we lose track of time and each other has changed our view of what this day means for us. All the materialism celebrated on this day will fade, but the lasting memories we forge together will get us through the low points, like when we can’t make sense of death. Even if this holiday is just another day on the calendar, I can still gift my family with joy over the cynical harshness of life. And what I’ve learned from the last 19 Valentine holidays is that every second we are alive is worth celebrating. Also, if you buy your brand-new boyfriend a pair of goofy boxers for your first Valentine’s day, when you get married, you can coast along on those low standards for another two decades.

Roxanne is the head writer, creative force and marketing guru at The Whatever Mom. She started this crazy blog before her babies grew into smarty pants little people leaving messes all over her house. Eight years on the coffee wagon and still folding nine million pairs of socks. But she is a survivor and she’s gonna make it. Even if it means white knuckling through every morning until her kids’ graduation.     Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

 

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Friday Favorites – Uncommon Anniversary Gift Ideas

This post is brought to you by one of my new favorite shopping sites, Uncommon Goods. I am super impressed by their collection of fun and funky finds, as well as their mission to keep sustainability in the forefront of their business.  #Ad

In just a few weeks my husband and I will mark our 13th wedding anniversary. Actually, we have been together for 17 years all together, which completely blows my mind how close that puts us to the 20-year mark. Almost two decades of a life and memories made together. We have survived the threat of the Y2K, the loss of our dads and currently navigating our ever chaotic life with twins. How do you find just the right anniversary gifts for the man that has been there for all of the best and worst moments of your life during the last 20-years?

According to tradition we should exchange gifts made of lace, or a more modern twist, textiles. We are not fancy people so lace wouldn’t be suitable, and the last textiles we purchased were new dish towels for the kitchen. So we aren’t really a glamorous couple either. But we do enjoy giving personalized gifts that tell a story, or make lasting memories.

After a little browsing I’ve been able to narrow it down to three choices.

Our most memorable dates include traveling for concerts and watching our favorite bands. I can tell you that my husband will absolutely flip for an LP personalized with our top 5 relationship songs. If I had to name them:

1. It’s the End of The World, by R.E.M.

2. All Star, by Smash Mouth (don’t judge us by that one alone)

3. Sweet Emotion, by Aerosmith

4. Have a Little Faith In Me, by John Hiatt (our wedding dance)

5. Who Needs Sleep, by Barenaked Ladies.

The Marital Bliss card game looks like a great way to capture the fun of the game nights we used to host in our pre-kid days. The best part is one round takes place over seven days, which is perfect for two busy parents who don’t even have time to finish a conversation. The game includes everyday things you should be doing for your spouse (hint: bring ALL of the groceries in) and makes it into a game.

Keeping with our gaming theme, I am absolutely smitten with this Hearts Four Across game! You can have it personalized with names, or wedding dates. This is a sure to be a hit in our house and make our family game night a little more special.

Decisions, decisions… it’s a hard choice picking the right gift! But no matter what I am excited that these items are made right here in the U.S.A by small manufacturers and individual artists. And, I can choose which charity to donate $1.00 from my order to with the company’s Better to Give program. I love these non-traditional and not very common gift ideas that truly capture our own style. A marriage as unique as ours deserves a unique gift to celebrate.

Find more one of kind gift ideas for the man in your life.

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

 

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My Marriage And My Expectation for Perfection

This week I thought I’d sit down and write about marriage. But every time I start to type something I feel like such a fraud. Mainly because I have zero clue what it takes to make a marriage successful. My husband and I have been together for a total of 17 years, yet I have zero wisdom to offer.  I have no authority or accreditation to qualify me to talk about relationships of any kind. I laugh typing this because just this morning I wanted to scream at my husband for his total lack of consideration for my day.

After dinner last night I asked my husband to please take out the trash and finish the dishes for me while I got the kids through their bed time and story time routine. I need to be in my office to write and I am hoping to get to bed before 11 p.m. (Never happened). I went about my routine, got the girls into bed and ran off to type up my thoughts. My husband forgot I even mentioned any of those things and sat down in front of the TV to relax. I assumed he took care of everything I asked him to. I went to bed an hour or so after he did, so I didn’t think to check on what I asked him to do.

This morning his alarm woke me up around 5:30 a.m. as it does most mornings. I could hear him resetting his clock. We had a huge blizzard yesterday and everything closed down. He wasn’t needed very early so he took a little extra time to sleep. Well, once I’m awake. I am awake. So, I decided to get up and get some coffee and maybe listen to a podcast for the first time. Maybe I’ll even get on the treadmill. (Never happened).

The first thing I notice is a sink full of dishes. I had to take deep breaths and swallow hard the bitterness. I made my coffee and rolled up my pajama sleeves to do the dishes. As I was dumping the remnants collected at the bottom of the sink into the garbage, I see that it is still overflowing. I may have snarled a little. As I close the lid and turn around I see several cups on the kitchen table left from dinner and a trail of food bits left over by one of our Tasmanian devils. *Sigh* well at least the dishes are done and so is the coffee.

I pour my cup and fire up a Ted Talk on YouTube (I know not a pod cast, but still info). Not even five minutes later I hear, “AAAAAAHHHHHGGG MOOOOOMMMMMMM!!!” and deep sobbing. I rush to my daughter’s room and see she had a potty accident which is very unusual so I’m guessing she has a urinary tract infection.  We can just add a trip to the emergent care to today’s list of things to do. I cleaned her up and got her to the couch to rest since it is so early. I cleaned up her room and started the laundry. Hubby gets up to get ready for work. He simply has to pick up his keys and lunch box and head out the door and his morning is under way. “Don’t forget the garbage,” I yell after him.

I really have to congratulate myself for not losing it right there in the kitchen. I really wanted to yell and give him the big lecture about how his neglect set back my morning. But I didn’t. After he left and silence fell over the house again I realized I don’t have to dig us out of the almost 3 feet of snow today. My husband, full of his annoying faults, went outside three times yesterday during winter storm Stella to snow blow our driveway. He even played with the kids in the giant snow banks. This morning he moved my car to the middle of the driveway before leaving so that I could load the kids in easier. He knew I’d need to get out to the doctor today.

When he arrived home, after battling whatever annoying things happened to him at work, and braving crazy people on the road, he transferred our pet fish into the clean tank because I was too nervous to do it myself. Then he finished the dishes and read the girls a book so I could run into my office to check email (and edit this post).  I realize now at 10:00 p.m. he isn’t responsible for making my day perfect. No one is. There are no perfect days, only perfect moments.  After 17 years I know enough about him to know he shows his affection through random little things I don’t always notice, like setting the car up for easy maneuvering, or setting the timer on the coffee pot.

So here is the small wisdom I learned today. When the stress of the day begins to pile up, it’s easy to dump it on our spouse. When we are tired and overwhelmed we want someone else to take responsibility, or sometimes take the blame. My husband isn’t as plugged into the household grind as I am. But I do have to give him credit for his supporting role and background efforts. They may not be as loud, or as messy, or as “perfect” as mine, but he is there and he is trying.

Maybe you have had similar moments with your spouse? Anyone have any married with children insight to share?

The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia 

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