In the grand scheme of things, having a bunch of kids right in a row and being a full-time primary caregiver is pretty routine.
Sure, when we had Ava (our first), EVERYTHING was a new experience, from changing your first diaper to giving your first bath, letting them walk on their own, despite your insecurities about them banging their head through the drywall.
As you continue to have kids, sometimes it feels a little like putting your bike away for the winter and hopping back on it in spring. I’m not trying to take anything away from enjoying and appreciating those ‘firsts’ with subsequent children, but occasionally it feels like ‘old hat’.
Over the last two or three years, routine and ritual have kept me alive. I make minor deviations throughout the week, but they mostly fall into the category of ‘alternate playground’ or ‘who gets out of the tub first tonight’.
In pursuit of sanity, I keep things organized and have a process by which I handle things on my own all day with three kids under five years old. My wife sees us and we’re together in the morning and late at night, but she works long days.
I get ready, kids get ready, she gets ready while I walk the dog. I make breakfast, pack their lunches and she takes them to school. It’s a format.
The day continues and I make them dinner, my wife comes home, I walk the dog, we do bath time, stories and bedtime and we eat dinner and watch TV.
Does this sound familiar to you?
I guess the point that I’m trying to make is that sometimes we become complacent, we do what’s ‘tried and true’, not always by choice, but sometimes out of necessity, so we don’t lose our minds.
It is nice, however, as adults (and more importantly PARENTS) to sometimes ‘mix it up’ and find your spontaneity.
I thought it might be fun to come up with a little list of examples for myself (and others if you find inspiration in it) of ways that I can be more spontaneous.
R– Run a bath for your spouse, lace up the water with a lavender bath ball and fire a couple rose petals on top. Light a candle or two and accidentally leave your sound dock on with the light whispers of Barry White. By the way, this might also work on dudes, I haven’t taken a bath in 25 years, but I could be into it.
I – Invest in the occasional babysitter. It took my wife and me a long time to have enough trust in someone to leave our kids alone, but even if you just go and see a movie together for two hours, it can go a long way.
S – Stop to smell the roses. Instead of walking by them every day, stop and hack some down with your pocketknife (don’t let the neighbor see you) or just buy a few, maybe even some unexpected wildflowers – these can always put a smile on someone’s face.
T – Take the road less traveled. I tend to constantly drive the same way to wherever we’re going. Last week I really surprised my wife by turning off the NAV and taking a hard left down a road I didn’t know. There’s something invigorating about dropping your agenda and cruising a back-country lane, seeing the beauty of rolling fields and farmland.
O – Offer up the idea to let your spouse choose something that THEY would like to do. I know it takes some patience to go to the mall and give your opinion while she tries on different blouses or not to cringe as the pedicurist starts rubbing your feet, but maybe next week she’ll go to the gun range or Medieval Times with you…. lol.
R – Rent a driver and town car for the night. Get dressed up, grab a fancy dinner and walk through a museum. Maybe this is something that takes a wee-bit of planning, but it could be a special surprise for an important birthday or anniversary.
A – Ask her to dance. My wife and I took dancing lessons together for a few weeks before we got married and while the idea was incredibly painful for me in the beginning, I look back on this as an amazing experience we shared together, learning to move in sync to Stevie Wonder, laughing (and sometimes crying) after I occasionally stepped on her toes.
N – Never lose your sense of adventure and don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. There are a ton of great ideas on how to be spontaneous on Pinterest.
T – Take a hike. No, I don’t mean that in a bad way. Check out your local state or regional parks. I never even knew that I had a lake and miles of wooded trails ten minutes from our house. It may sound like one of those commercials for erectile dysfunction, but a nice walk through the woods holding hands can be seriously refreshing.
E – Entertain the idea of taking the kids to your parent’s house for the night and combining some of these things, like the bath, the dancing, the flowers… and a combination of Dr. Oetker’s Ristorante pizzas that you can find in the frozen section of your grocery store. Don’t let the word ‘frozen’ fool you – these are gourmet pies with incredible ingredients and a thin, crispy crust.
Sometimes spontaneity comes in different shapes and sizes, whether it’s a hot air balloon ride, carriage-ride through Central Park or a beautifully crafted circle of pizza with exquisitely paired ingredients that you enjoy while having that perfect night in with your favorite TV show.
Enter the Savor Your Summer sweepstakes on the Ristorante Facebook page for prizes to make your own perfect, spontaneous night. And if you want to bring some of these incredible pies home to surprise your spouse, use the store locator so you’re not driving around the neighborhood aimlessly.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Dr. Oetker USA LLC. I received compensation for this post; however, all opinions stated are my own.