Get them up. Get them dressed and ready. Fuel them up for the day. Drop them off at school. Make sure their homework is done. Feed them a healthy dinner. Drive them to their activities. Do the laundry. Clean the messes. Read them books. Send them to bed. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Sometimes it all runs together, doesn’t it? As a single mom, a lot of the time, I am in survival mode. I find myself so focused on making sure they are safe, healthy, loved. But, that is not all my kids need from me. They need my attention, they need my listening ear, they need me to spend time, quality time, with them. And not just with them both at the same time. (Although that is important!) They need my attention individually as well. This can get pretty tricky when you have more than one child. This is why we have started Mommy Dates.
About once a month, my parents or my sister will take one of my kids and do something special with him while I get to have time with the other. These are the “Mommy Dates.” It actually is a win-win-win for myself, my kids, and their extended family. I get some time to connect and listen to what is going on in their lives. Let me tell you, you can have a MUCH better conversation when you are not constantly breaking up fights amongst the kids!
I have to admit, making time for Mommy Dates a lot easier for me than for parents who have more than two children. And I am pretty certain that I have it a lot easier than the majority of single moms, because I live so close to my extended family and they are always ready and willing to spend time with my boys.
Last year, when Elliott didn’t have school on Wednesdays, we pretty much had the entire day to ourselves and I only had to schedule time for a Mommy Date with Spencer. This year, with Elliott being in kindergarten, and both the boys in more activities, it has been a little trickier to schedule these Mommy Dates. God bless my parents for all their help in getting my kids to their activities and coordinating with me so I can continue the tradition of the Mommy Date.
You may be wondering, What does a Mommy Date consist of?
Well, for us, it varies. I usually give the boys a few options and let them choose, but sometimes they come up with and idea on their own. Elliott usually wants to go out to eat and get in a little play time. His favorite place used to be Chick-fil-A, but as he is getting to be big stuff these days, he often chooses going to Tasty Taco to mix it up a bit. Especially if the date falls on a Tuesday. (My kids love their routines, and one of ours is tacos for dinner on Tuesday nights. An alteration of this routine may have caused one or two meltdowns.) Few few other ideas that we love are hiking, biking or strawberry picking!
Spencer enjoys going out to eat for our date, too, but he is also happy to sit and play a board game. Especially if it is a board game that is long and no one ever wants to play. And especially if his little brother isn’t around to “ruin it.” We also read novels together, and if the novel has been made into a movie, we will have a date to watch it together. Some other ideas for older kids include mini golf, roller skating or a trip to the Farmers Market!
Although these Mommy Dates vary in length and activity, their purpose is to take time to connect, to form those bonds with your child that you just can’t do in the hustle and bustle of running around all the time.
Another super great added benefit for me is that I get the opportunity to teach my boys how they should act on a date when the time comes for them (you know, when they are 30) to start taking girls out on dates. I haven’t gotten into a lot of the specifics on what I want them to do/how I want them to act on a date, but I hope by example, and with the one-on-one time this affords me, they will be some of the most wonderful dates for the girls they choose to court when they are older.