It’s such a cliché for married people to be too busy for romance…let alone sex!) that I am embarrassed to even mention it. But, it’s so true… We have a high maintenance Tween daughter, three elderly parents, three adult sons, one daughter-in-law, one grandchild. We are the quintessential sandwich generation. In fact, we’re more like a club sandwich! Most nights, after a day of errands, doctor appointments, squeezing in what some would call “real” work, and fighting the nightly homework battles, we’re lucky if we have enough energy to make something healthy for dinner, let alone hire a babysitter and dress up for date night.
But every relationship needs attention to flourish– and my husband and I have found that there are benefits to finding ways to inject each day with a bit of romance. Here are a few ways that we add a bit of enchantment to our lives:
Texting. My husband and I don’t often have phone conversations during the day. He’s at the office, I’m running around– but now that he’s finally joined the 21st century and gotten a smartphone– we text several times a day. Often, it’s just a quick request: Can u pick up broccoli? Or: When will u be home? But sometimes, we throw in a quick compliment or a loving sign-off: URTB (You Are The Best) or LOL (Lots of Love). These texts are the modern equivalent of leaving a note in his lunchbox– but since he makes his own lunch and leaves for the day before I’m even awake, that’s never going to happen. Texts are a great way to stay connected.
Date Night. Yes, they are difficult to arrange. When did teenage girls become so busy they have a thousand other things to do besides babysit? And it’s expensive – $10 an hour adds a minimum of $30 to our dinner bill. But every few weeks or so, we plan ahead, book the girl next door, and go out to dinner. Our daughter loves it because she gets the undivided attention of a bona fide teenage girl– one who paints her nails, straightens her hair, and helps her clean her room. We love it because we get to linger over a cocktail, eat a delicious meal, and have uncensored, grown-up conversations.
Watch Orange is the New Black together. Ok, this show might not be everyone’s cup of tea. Some might find it a bit too…explicit. But we find it always makes us laugh, and often provokes some interesting conversations about what drives people to do what they do. We rarely watch TV together, so our daughter noticed that after she’d gone to bed, we’d be laughing uproariously, and started telling everyone, “My mom and dad love that new show, Orange is the Black.” Never tell your kids anything you don’t want the whole neighborhood, school, and maybe even your minister, to know.
Take walks together. This one is tough for us now but we’ll get back to it! Before our daughter came to live with us full-time, our older boys were self-sufficient, and we could go out for a walk whenever we wanted. We’d use that time to discuss problems we were having or things we wanted to accomplish, like get the outside of the house painted, or refinish the kitchen chairs (two down, 4 to go!). Our daughter is with us now and not yet ready to be left alone, so we’ve given up our walks. We tried one time, and stayed in the neighborhood, walking in circles. She called 3 times: When are you coming home? I heard a noise! I’m hungry. Clearly she isn’t ready to stay alone. Maybe we should hire that babysitter so we can go for a walk!
Wear sexy lingerie. Ok, if I’m being totally honest, I live in the cold Northeast, and this time of year I wear a flannel nightgown to bed. Thanks to my husband’s conservation efforts, by bedtime our memory-foam mattress has soaked up the cold like a sponge does water, and it takes several minutes under the covers to soften and warm up the mattress. So I need that layer of flannel to keep me warm. But sometimes I put on a black silk negligee, and well, the heat goes up without us having to touch the thermostat! Valentine’s Day is coming – I should probably book that babysitter now!
Liz Smith has worked across the globe for many of the world’s major apparel brands, including Victoria’s Secret, Chico’s, Justice, and Hanes. She has earned thousands of airline points and worn out several suitcases visiting factories in more than 20 countries to ensure that production is of the highest standard. Liz has managed all aspects of garment production, from design through fabric development to sewing and merchandising– so she knows what it takes to make high-quality apparel. Liz is thrilled to share her knowledge about clothes to help discerning customers choose the finest products. Learn more about Liz by reading her personal blog.