I call this one “Caught Communicating.”
Martin and I kicked out the kids so we could sit on the couch — he with a hot caramel apple spice, me with rum and Coke (!) — and talk about our day, and plan ahead, uninterrupted for at least 15 minutes. An old habit of ours that we resuscitated earlier this year as all the shit swirling around us started making dents in our relationship.
This chat time is mandatory every night after dinner. If we wait till after the kids are asleep, we’re too exhausted. And we want them to be aware that we’re making this time for each other.
It was a stark realization when it dawned on us that even though we see each other every day, from the time our feet hit the floor in the mornings to whenever we went to sleep (usually not together), we were off in different directions to deal with the kids, work, school, chores, errands, or whatever else demanded our attention. Verbal interaction was really just “baton passing” and not intentional conversation. The first few times we did this, it was hard to focus because there’s always so much to do. But I’m getting better at turning off the mental checklists and checking in with him.
So we tell the kids that they can’t bother us for a whole Peppa Pig episode, that Mom and Dad need this time to be alone so we can carry a conversation in peace. There’s gotta be a fire, or a missing limb or child, if we are to be interrupted. So I ignored Lola tonight when I spied her low-crawling to the dining room table with the cell phone, and then crawling back out. Turns out, she snapped this pic to prove to Jaz that we weren’t, in fact, in here “making out.”